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Chinese History Essay

601 words - 3 pages

Building the Railways- chinese workers

1000 strong, brave and HUGE risk-taking Chinese men left their home town China, got on steam boats and travelled nearly half way around the world to British Columbia where they all played virtual roles in Canada’s History. Pon Git Cheng was known to be one of those men that played virtual roles. Men were hired to build the CPR railway through the BC mountains. Chinese men came hoping to earn huge amount of money, so that they can go back home with savings in they’re pockets. They also came knowing that they would get paid alot more than they would in china. In China they were making 7 big cents. To them that was still good money, and was somewhat useful.

There were many workers involved in the process of building the railway, but not just any old workers. In the year 1878, ...view middle of the document...

$1.00 was treated like gold to the men. The Navvies were not paid during harsh three winter months. Workers used their money very wisely, and paid for clothes, tools, food, shelter and taxes, but also saved close to $300 for 5 years of hard working. Cooks earned $20-$30/month. With all their money saved, still they could only afford to live in crowded boarding houses.

When the building of the railway was complete, most of the workers couldn’t afford to go back home. Unfortunately for the Chinese, 5,000 workers couldn’t go back home so they had to stay put, and live in Canada. Most Chinese workers drifted west coast, and some men also headed over to the east, where they worked in Alberta mines, laundries, cafes, and grocery stores in smaller towns along the railway. They migrated as Far East as St John’s Newfoundland, but the people moving west lived in either Vancouver or Victoria. Vancouver became wester Terminus of Canada’s Pacific Railway, and was growing rapidly into a bigger city. Where Chinese migrated, China towns sprang up in places such as Calgary, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Brandon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Montreal, Quebec, St John’s, Toronto & Halifax. They became merchants. Many goods/merchandise were established between Canada and China, such as Rice, tea, dry goods, tobacco, China Ware, paper products, shoes and clothing that came from China. They didn’t come to Canada only knowing that they were building a railways, and earning money, but also came knowing that they’re were going to be some downs and not only up’s. That they’re were going to have to face the fact that there were going to many deaths involved, and never knowing if you were going to be safe and live, or die. Plenty of workers died in dynamite explosions/accidents, scurvy, and other diseases. Some unhealthy living conditions include Tuberculosis, lung disease, and major causes of Chinese deaths in Vancouver. Building the Canada Pacific Railway wasn’t the easiest job.

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