The Canadian Pacific Railway and the Strathconas: A Shared Past and Friendship

November 2007

On 5 November 1885, our Regiment’s founder Donald Smith drove the Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CPR) final spike in Craigellachie, BC. This “driving of the last spike” was John A. Macdonald’s final realization to connect western Canada to the rest of her vast territory to the east. On 21 November 2007, 155 years after this historic event, the CPR and the Strathcona Regiment continued to demonstrate to the Canadian population the proud history of our country’s civil-military relations by presenting a Ferret Scout Car at the South Edmonton Railyard.

During our Regiment’s 100th Anniversary in 2000, the CPR provided transport for our Ceremonial Mounted Troop as it traveled across Canada performing musical rides and retracing the move of the Regiment from Calgary to Halifax, where it boarded a ship for the Boer War in 1900. In recognition of our long standing relationship, the CPR graciously funded the move of the Ferret Scout Car by rail which the Regimental Society had acquired from a private collector in New Mexico. This Ferret saw operation on UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East during the 1950s and 60s, as well as with NATO forces in Germany. The Ferret augmented our Historical Vehicle Troop that displayed our collections to local community events.

At the South Edmonton Railyard, Lieutenant-Colonel Demers presented a print from ‘A’ Sqn to the former head of CPR’s Government Affairs Dennis Apedaille, a former artillery officer, who plays an integral role in keeping the CPR connected with its military past. In attendance as well were two ladies from the CPR logistics team, Sarah Nghiem and Carole Roy, who had organized the entire move of the scout car. This event was a great success as it reaffirmed our Regiment’s ties to the CPR and the media helped connect our Regiment’s ties with the Canadian population as a whole.