Carving the Western Path by River, Rail and Road Through Central and Northern BC

Carving the Western Path

By River, Rail, and Road Through Central and Northern BC

By (author): R.G. Harvey
ISBN 9781895811742
Softcover | Publication Date: March 6, 2006
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
192 Pages
$16.95 CAD

About the Book

The history of British Columbia’s transportation systems north of the Canadian National Railway’s mainline may not be well known—but it certainly is colourful. Continuing the story he began in the first volume of Carving the Western Path, R.G. Harvey describes the development of river, road and rail routes that crossed the northern two-thirds of BC.

This was a land of dreams and schemes that seemed to feed on each other. It started with the Collins Overland Telegraph, a communication link that was to connect Europe and America in the 1860s. Though this plan collapsed with the success of the trans-Atlantic cable, the telegraph surveyors established patterns for future roads and settlement. They also sparked the Omineca gold rush.

It was a land full of larger-than-life characters, including:

  • Charles Hays, who dreamed of a major seaport at Prince Rupert but died on the Titanic before he could realize his vision.
  • Charles Bedaux, who in the 1930s carved his 416-mile path into the northern Rockies.
  • Railway promoters Warburton Pike, Sir Edward Phillipps-Wolley, William Mackenzie and Donald Mann, who got gifts of land and money but couldn’t always meet their promises.

Their stories mingle with those of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the Alaska Highway, the White Pass and Yukon Railway and those of the sternwheelers, fur traders, gold miners and other adventurers who were drawn to this last frontier.

About the Author(s)

Robert G. (Bob) Harvey (1922–2014) immigrated to British Columbia from Scotland in 1948 and joined the Department of Public Works as a professional engineer. After several years in Nelson and Nanaimo, he held Regional Maintenance Engineer positions at New Westminster, where he was responsible for all provincial roads in the Skeena, Prince Rupert, Atlin, Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland districts, and later at Prince George. He moved to Victoria in 1967 and in 1976 became Deputy Minister of Highways and Public Works. Following his retirement in 1983, he began a second career as an author, publishing five books on the topic of transportation and politics in BC.