Case 6, Item 4
In 1871, Minister of Public Works of Canada Hector Langevin was sent by the Federal Cabinet to visit British Columbia with the mission to acquire knowledge of the new province and propose a site for the terminus for the Candian Pacific Railway. Langevin’s journey took him from central Canada to Chicago, then by the American Pacific Railway to San Francisco, where he embarked on the steamer Prince Alfred travelling to Victoria on Vancouver Island, and then to the mainland. Langevin’s diary documents how he came to recommend Vancouver as the site for the terminus, which had an enormous effect on the development of the city.
This is an important document to the history of British Columbia and to the Canadian Pacific Railway company, and it was almost lost to the Canadian public. It was won it at auction by a Vancouver man, but he almost lost it to an American collector who wanted it for Langevin’s description of Mormon communities in Utah.