During the wheat boom in the later half of the 19th century the railroad played an integral part in the formation of Canada as a nation, and gave the Canadian economy it's first push in the international market place. The railroad was the key factor in connecting the western part of the country with the east and central parts. If construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad had not happened at the time it did would the United States have capitalized on the fact that the western Canada was ripe for the picking?
During the 1850's Canada had only about 200 miles of railroad lines while in the United States at the same time there was around 10 000 miles of rail lines already built (Berton, 1972, p.12). This meant that the United States was growing at a rapid pace while Canada was still struggling to get going. From the eyes of the country that had almost 50 times the amount of railroad tracks than Canada, to them it is only a matter of time before they realize the opportunities in Canadian territories.
"The new dominion was not yet a cohesive nation, but rather a bundle of isolated village communities connected by tenuous threads". Three quarters of the population still lived on farms. (Berton, 1972, p.14). Construction of the C.P.R considerably changed the status of Canada in comparison to the United States. If construction had been delayed Canadians would have been left behind the U.S and would never have caught up to the Americans (Berton, 1972, p.17). The C.P.R connected the country and forced Canada to renounce its status as a "non dynamic, dead land place" (Berton, 1972, p.15).
Former Prime Minister John A. Macdonald saw that in the later half of the 19th century, in order to secure control of...