Sunday, June 1, 2014

Millennium 13 - Rogers Pass

[This post is another in a series  profiling each of the 68 stamps issued by Canada Post Corporation on September 15, 1999 on the occasion of the new Millennium. Links to previously published posts are listed at the bottom of this page.]

From Canada Post Millennium Collection:
Blood, sweat and brains were required to overcome the challenges of building a transcontinental railway. One of the most formidable obstacles facing the builders of the Canadian Pacific Railway was Rogers Pass, named after its discover, an American railway surveyor. This pass in British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains lies at an elevation of 1,353 meters.

Since the area is prone to killer avalanches, kilometres of snow sheds had to be built. Completed in 1886, even those could not guarantee safe passage. An eight-kilometre long tunnel, now bearing the name of former Governor General, the Duke of Connaught, was opened in 1916, facilitating safe and efficient rail traffic through one of the most dangerous sections of Canadian geography. To make the rail route through the pass even safer and more efficient, an entirely new 21-mile line featuring the longest tunnel in North America (9.1 miles) was completed in 1989.

Set in one of the most scenic and picturesque locations in Canada, Rogers Pass today symbolizes the best in nature's beauty and the achievements of human willpower.

The Historical Importance of Rogers Pass

  • Working for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, Major Albert Bowman Rogers first discovered this gap through the impenetrable Selkirk Mountain barrier in 1881, and he returned to confirm the existence of the pass a year later.
  • Construction of the railway line on the steep mountainsides and over the deep gorges of the Selkirk Mountains required engineering solutions that represented innovative breakthroughs during Victorian times.
  • Operation of a railway line through the incredible avalanche danger and 12 metre (40 foot) annual snowfall of Rogers Pass demanded new technologies and new skills from the railroaders.
  • People of many cultures contributed their labour to the search for the pass and construction and operation of the railway. Railway employees and contractors included Aboriginal people, new immigrants from many Asian and European countries, American contractors and people from the new country of Canada.
  • Completion of the railway fulfilled Prime Minister John A. Macdonald's promise of a land connection to British Columbia, made when the colony joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871. It also realized Macdonald's vision of a trans-continental nation, ended British Columbia's isolation from the rest of Canada, and helped to prevent the absorption of the colony into the United States.
Parks Canada, Rogers Pass National Historical Site

 CPR engine at Rogers Pass, 1883

Rogers Pass and the Trans-Canada Highway

Trans-Canada Highway at Rogers Pass (1960s)

In 1952, construction of the 5,000 mile Trans-Canada Highway began. It's official opening on September 3, 1962 was presided over by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker at Rogers Pass.

 Prime Minister Diefenbaker opening the Trans-Canada Highway at Rogers Pass, September 3, 1962

 Official Opening Programme

 August 31, 1962

 Trans-Canada Memorial at Rogers Pass

The Millennium Stamp

1.  Millennium Collection Album

Rogers Pass was one of 68 Millennium stamps first issued in a hardbound book, Canada Post The Millennium Collection : Expressions of a People, on September 15, 1999. The stamps were printed two to a page.

Rogers Pass and Manic stamps were printed on the same page

2. Millennium Collection Souvenir Sheet

Canada Post Corporation re-issued the Millennium stamps in panes of 4 stamps issued over a three month period from December 17, 1999 to March 17, 2000. The souvenir sheet with the Rogers Pass  stamp was released on March 17, 2000.

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Millennium Stamp Collection

1. WikipediaCanada Post Millennium Stamps
(This site describes the stamps and provides links to article dealing with each subject.)

2. Postal History Corner articles:
4. Tom Longboat
5. Inuit Shaman
6. Healing From Within
7. Hudson's Bay Company 
8. Bell Canada Enterprises
9. Neptune Theatre 
10. Stratford Festival 
11. Calgary Stampede 
12. Cirque du Soleil
13. Rogers Pass