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STRATHMORE STANDARD FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Siding #

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brings settlers west Doris Lindman Gleichen fact The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), now known as CP Rail, was the vehicle that opened the west for all the settlers who arrived in Gleichen and the surrounding areas. Its creation was originally a task undertaken by the Conservative Government led by Sir. John A. Macdonald. His original plan was to have a wagon trail made across the nation. However, when British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, they insisted that a railroad be built to join the east and the western parts of Canada. The first obstacle in the construction of a national rail line was economic. The Conservative Government granted the contract for building the railway to Huge Allan?s Cana- dian Pacific Railway Company, in return for some pocket change in their private purses. The Conservatives were tossed out of office in 1873 for taking this bribe and the Liberals were put into o?ce. Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie started construction of the railway in the eastern part of Canada in 1875. When Sir. John A. Macdonald was forgiven for his transgression and returned to power in 1878, construction of the railway began to occur in the west, In 1883, the North West Territories saw the beginning of a series of sidings being constructed. These sidings started in Medicine Hat and continued northward. Siding #12, was one of the larger ones and was selected to hold a round house, a station and a freight shed. The freight shed became an important building in that it served as a gathering place for social events, a library and as a church. It burned in one of the town ?res in 1918. Like many places across Canada, Siding #

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had its problems in getting access to the railway line coming directly to the site. While some locations faced difficulty in getting their line built because of muskeg or rock, Siding #

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had to get its line through First Nation land. Thanks to Father Albert Lacombe, Chief Crowfoot was persuaded to allow the railway to be built. In return for Crowfoot?s assent, both Crowfoot and Father Lacombe were rewarded with lifetime passes to ride anywhere on the CPR line. As the rail line was bring constructed across the prairies, the government and the railway construction

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786-CS3067008 company invited wealthy prospective investors to come view the countryside from the comforts of a railway car. One of the people who made that journey in 1883 was a wealthy Lord from Germany, Count Albert Edward Wilfred Gleichen. He was also a nephew to Queen Victoria of England. Gleichen was struck by the beauty of the countryside around the Blackfoot reserve and decided to invest in the railway. In grateful appreciation, the railway changed Siding #12?s name to Gleichen in 1884. Gleichen became the main stopping point for passengers and settlers wanting to start a new life in this part of the world. People came from miles around to shop in Gleichen. It was once larger than Calgary, and even considered as a place to house the parliament buildings for the province of Alberta in 1905. ?And that?s a Gleichen fact. Count Gleichen, 1863-1937.

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Doris Lindman Submitted

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