C.P.R. Station in the Rockies, 1901
oil on canvas
151.6 x 244.4 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of the Walter Klinkhoff Gallery Inc., Montreal
Construction of a railway across Canada made the dream to link the country from coast to coast a reality. The last spike was driven into the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in November 1885, and the first journey occurred the following June. The CPR provided new opportunities for industry, immigration, and agriculture by opening up western and northern regions that were previously only accessible by inconvenient water routes. Many artists, like John Hammond, were commissioned by the CPR to paint scenes of westward expansion for eastern audiences (including investors) to help stimulate tourism. In this romantic image, the small railway station and platform are dwarfed by the gigantic Rocky Mountains, signifying both the arrival of the railway and the daunting obstacles that were overcome in its construction.