The Last Spike

On November 7th, 1885 at 9:22 am in British Columbia the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was put into the ground by the CPR railroad financier Donald Smith. the last spike was the end of the construction of the railway. There was other work that had to be done in other parts of the railway, so the Canadian Pacific Railway did not open until June 1886. The last spike is a symbol of national unity in Canada. The last spike showed the completion of the promise the Canadian federal government made to British Columbia which was that a railroad would be built to connect the Pacific province to Central Canada.
This railway was a huge influence on British Columbia's decision of joining the Canadian Confederation. Usually last spikes for railway tracks are gold or silver but the last spike for the Canadian Pacific Railway was an iron spike, the same as other spikes that were used in building the railway. A silver spike was made for the Governor General to present to the CPR, but he had to leave to Ottawa before the finishing of the railway. After the official delegation left the last spike was taken from the railway because people thought that souvenir hunters would try to rip it up. A regular spike was put in its spot instead. The real spike was given to the son of the patent office president and it is still with the family but was made into a carving knife.