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A Train Trip Across Early CanadaPDF document

Creating a Travel Brochure for a Maverick Conducted Tour of the Canadian Pacific Railway


Students need to understand how difficult the planning and constructing a transcontinental railway in time, manpower and resources was for the country in the late 1800's, and how it became a source of great pride and achievement. How did the building of Canada's national railway affect the development of Canada? Why was the building of the CPR so important for Canada? Why was it such a major undertaking? What problems were faced as it was being built?

Project Explanation

In this project, students will develop an appreciation of how the building of Canada's national railway affected the development of our country. The CPR would be a major factor in changing the way if life in Canada at the time, its citizens, and its identity as it opened up the Canadian West. Students will create a travel brochure explaining different aspects of the building of the CPR from the point of view of one of the Railroad Mavericks.

Alberta Social Studies Curriculum Unit Connections

Grade Four - Alberta: The Land, Histories and Stories
4.2 The Stories, Histories and People of Alberta

Grade Five - Canada: The Land, Histories and Stories
5.2 Histories and Stories of Ways of Life in Canada
5.3 Canada: Shaping an Identify

Grade Seven - Canada: Origins, Histories and Movement of People
7.2 Following Confederation: Canadian Expansions

Materials and Resources Needed


Students will create a historical travel brochure about the building of the CPR. It will be written as if one of the Railroad Mavericks would be conducting a grand tour of the CPR, and the brochure is to get people interested. The students should attempt to incorporate that person's point of view as much as possible into the writing of the information. For example, a Chinese railway worker would look at the construction of the CPR differently than the people in charge. The teacher should collect sample travel brochures to share with students, allowing them to distinguish the important parts of a good brochure.

The brochure may be created by folding a plain piece of photocopy paper into three sections or by using a software program such as Microsoft Publisher, Word or Works. Students can either print out and paste on sections of information, or write the facts they found out about each section they will include in their brochure. They can draw or glue pictures found from magazines, books or from sites such as Images Canada on the Internet. The information may be presented as point form or in proper paragraphs, depending upon the teacher's preference.

Using the Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta site, as well as others listed above, students should research information on chosen sections from the following choices:

  • Facts About the CPR – length, cost, etc.
  • What was the route of the CPR?
  • What problems did it face as it was being built? (E.g. Pacific Scandal of 1872-73)
  • What natural and manmade resources were needed to build the CPR?
  • What kind of manpower was needed? (Why was it a major problem?)
  • How were Chinese railway workers treated?
  • What and when was "The Last Spike?"
  • What did the CPR do for Canada?
  • Information about the Maverick "author"

Once all the information has been researched, students will begin writing the content and planning out the layout of their brochure. The brochure should include a title, sub-titles, a map, information about the Maverick "author," and neat and colourful illustrations or photographs. Students should make sure their brochure contains interesting and accurate information about the CPR, is attractive to look at and neatly laid out, and is properly edited.

Assessment and Evaluation

  • Students and their teacher should develop their own rubric by identifying evaluation criteria for the project that will match their own learner outcomes. This allows students to understand the expectations for their work and to have input into the ongoing evaluation process.
  • Individually or in small groups, students might evaluate the work of two or three other students in order to gain insight into how their peers approached the project.
  • A project journal may be used for information gathering as well as for reflective writing as the process is taking place. Students can pose questions, vent frustrations, synthesize their work, examine their process, and even wonder about what they are missing or what is still needed for their project. This may be completed as a group or individually.

Ideas for Enriching this Project

  • Students can plan out the number of kilometers and time spent traveling on a modern train or a historic train to get across Canada. They could also find out the total costs of either the historical or modern trip.
  • Students can use copyright free photographs from appropriate sites or the Images Canada site to add onto their brochures.


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