On today’s date in 1962, former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker officially opened the Trans-Canada Highway to traffic, transforming the final 160 kilometres of dusty, gravel pass from Golden to Revelstoke, B.C. into a perfectly paved road.
Stretching nearly 8,000 kilometres from St. John’s, Nfld. to Victoria, B.C., the Trans-Canada Highway is among the longest national highway in the world, traveling through all ten provinces of Canada between its east and west coasts.
In the 1970s, the Franklin Mint issued a serial numbered 44-mm bronze medal commemorating the Trans-Canada Highway. The medal shows a map of Canada featuring the newly completed highway and states “1962 Trans-Canada Highway”. On the reverse and surrounded by Canadian flags, the medal is inscribed in English and French: “The Trans-Canada Highway is the longest road in the world, covering a distance of 5,000 miles from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Construction costs exceeded one billion dollars.”
By the early 1900s, there were calls being made for a road that stretched across Canada. Nearly four decades later, the Trans-Canada Highway Act (1949) provided millions of dollars in cost-shared funding for provincial governments, notes the Government of Canada website. On July 30, 1962, the 7,821-kilometre Trans-Canada Highway was formally opened at Rogers Pass.