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1 oz. Fine Silver Coin - The Canadian Home Front: Transcontinental Railroad - Mintage: 7,500 (2015)

1 oz. Fine Silver Coin - The Canadian Home Front: Transcontinental Railroad - Mintage: 7,500 (2015)

$89.95 CAD
Mintage: 7,500
Canada and US only
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First coin in the new Canadian Home Front four-coin series, order today!

"The most demanding part of my work in wartime was keeping vital materials moving... troop movements would have to take priority."  - I've been Working on the Railroad: Memoirs of a Railwayman, 1911-1962, by W. J. Chafe. St. John's: Henry Cuff Pub., 1987, p. 82-83

The steel and timber arteries of a young nation, Canada's transcontinental railways played a vital role on the homefront during the First World War. As Canadians heeded the call of duty sent out on August 6, 1914, so too did the railways; trains from every corner of Canada transported 600 men at a time to the hastily-built training camp of Valcartier in Quebec. While these "troop trains" would continue throughout the war, Canada's three transcontinental railway systems would also be responsible for moving millions of cargo that maintained Canada's wartime economy — not to mention the transportation of ammunition, natural resources, food and other supplies destined for shipping overseas to Canada's allies.

These railway systems played an important part in Canada's nation-building by opening up Canada's west to increased settlement, while linking cities, ports and industries across this expansive territory. Key to Confederation were the completion of Atlantic Canada's Intercolonial Railway in 1876 and Canada's first transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), in 1885.

Canada's competitive railways were launched into a state of steady expansion that was still underway when war broke out in 1914. As part of an agreement with eastern Canada's Grand Trunk Railway (GTR), the government built the National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) that ran from Winnipeg to Moncton through Northern Ontario; meanwhile, the GTR was eager to compete with CPR in the west and had expanded westward from Winnipeg through its subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP), which reached Prince Rupert in 1914. The Canadian Northern Railway had also become a third option, having grown from a small, Manitoba-based line into a 16,093 kilometre-long transcontinental system.

From the early days of the war, fleets of steam locomotives such as the 4-6-2 "Pacific" and the older D 10-class 4-6-0 "Ten-Wheeler" pulled the troop trains filled with enlisted men, while others like the older 2-8-0 "Consolidation" and the Class S 2-8-2 "Mikado" locomotives kept the country's freight moving along. Women replaced the enlisted men in some of the railway manufacturers such as Montreal's Angus Workshops, and in several work positions in Canadian railways.  Some of the railcar manufacturing industry was temporarily converted to produce ammunition. The railways also encouraged Canadians at home to donate to the Canadian Patriotic Fund to sustain the families of soldiers fighting in Europe or purchase Victory Bonds to financially support the war effort.

By 1915, Canada boasted three transcontinental systems: the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), which was the first of Canada's transcontinental railways and whose completion in 1885 fulfilled a promise made during Confederation; the Canadian Northern Railway, a 16,093-kilometre-long system that was completed in 1915; and a planned collaboration between the government-built National Transcontinental Railway that ran from Winnipeg east to Moncton, and the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR), which had extended its reach west to Prince Rupert by 1914 through its subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP). During the war, this vast network of transportation – not to mention the industry's machinery and skilled workers – was placed at Canada's disposal throughout the war, giving priority to the movement of its troops, goods and labour force.

Ideal for someone you know who loves trains and the Canadian war effort in WWI! Order your single coin or order the four-coin subscription today!

Special features:
•  EFFIGY OF KING GEORGE V: Your coin features the effigy of King George V by Sir E. B. MacKennal.
•  ALSO AVAILABLE AS A FOUR-COIN SUBSCRIPTION! Subscribe today and then relax knowing that you will receive all four coins one per quarter!
•  The first coin in the Canadian Home Front 4-coin series, which highlights the war effort on the Canadian home front across the country. Coins will be launched once every quarter.
•  Each coin in the series features a beautifully engraved map element to provide geographical context to the theme.
•  This fine silver coin proudly commemorates the important role played by Canada's railway systems during the First World War.
•  Exceptionally detailed engraving and beautiful finishes come together in this intricate design that features a 4-6-2 "Pacific" steam locomotive pulling passenger cars filled with Canadian soldiers.
•  A striking collectible for commemorators, and an impressive addition to any Canadian history-themed collection.
•  Your coin is GST/HST exempt.

About the Design:
Your coin features stunning finishes and expertly detailed engraving in a proud celebration of Canada's railways and their involvement in Canada's war effort. Seemingly leading with its smokebox and pilot, a 4-6-2 "Pacific" steam locomotive becomes the central focal point as it moves along its rails and appears to emerge towards the viewer, which adds dimension to this intricate design. Behind the locomotive are a series of passenger cars filled with Canadian soldiers; this "troop train" is transporting Canadian soldiers to the training camp at Valcartier, Quebec, as part of their journey to the battlefields of Europe. In the background, an engraved map of eastern Canada highlights the railway lines that would have been used as part of this journey: those of the Grand Trunk Railway and part of the National Transcontinental Railway, which served as vital links between Canada's large cities (highlighted by dots) and the ports along Canada's East Coast.

Did you know…
•  By 1915, over 55,000 kilometres of mainline railways covered Canada.
•  CPR also lent ships to the allied cause: 52 CPR ships were used to transport over a million troops and passengers as well as four million tons of cargo throughout the Great War, and only 27 of these ships would return.
•  Some of the railway manufacturing was temporarily converted to help produce ammunition.
•  Women worked in some of the railcar manufacturers to replace workers who had enlisted for service abroad.  They also worked as telegraph operators, cars and locomotives cleaners and freight handlers for the railways.
•  In 1915, Canada's railway workers were also recruited for overseas service; designated the Canadian Railway Troops, more than 19,000 of these Canadians repaired and built Europe's railways near the battlefront to maintain the flow of troops and supplies.
•  As casualties mounted, special hospital trains were designed and constructed to care for injured soldiers returning home.
•  To coordinate wartime railway activities, the Canadian Railway War Board was formed in 1917, then changed its name to the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) in 1919; it still exists today.
•  As the war went on, most of Canada's railways teetered on the edge of financial ruin; in 1918, the government began measures to nationalize the railways, which would lead to the post-war amalgamation of all mainlines but the CPR: the Canadian Northern, the Intercolonial in the East, the Grand Trunk Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific would become the Canadian National Railways (CN Rail).

Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a custom beauty box.

Order your coin today!



  • No.144429
  • Mintage7,500
  • Composition99.99% pure silver
  • Finishproof
  • Weight (g) 31.39
  • Diameter (mm) 38
  • Edgeserrated
  • Certificateserialized
  • Face value20 dollars
  • ArtistDavid A. Oram (reverse), Sir E.B. MacKennal (obverse)

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