The Trans-Canada Highway at Rogers Pass was officially opened today, in 1962, by then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.
After the war, Canada was bursting at the seams from millions of new immigrants from all corners of the globe. In the 1950s, the railway was still king in Canada’s transportation system, but the country was working to build and pave roads between the major cities fueled by the post-war growth of automobiles in Canada’s cities.
By 1949 the Trans-Canada Highway act was passed by Parliament right after Newfoundland’s decision to join Canada. It became important to connect all the provinces together by highway, and build the Canso Causeway to join Cape Breton to the Nova Scotia mainland and speed travel and shipping time to Canada’s new island province.
According to the website, www.transcanadahighway.com, the two sections of greatest difficulty were alongside Lake Superior between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa, a gap of 265 kilometres, and a 147 km section over the Rogers Pass between Revelstoke and Golden in British Columbia.
The Rogers Pass route followed some of the early tracks of the trans-continental railway that were abandoned years ago as too steep for trains, with the addition of a number of snow sheds to protect the highway from the many winter avalanches and rock slides.
A commemorative medal set was issued that year for the opening of the Highway. The set included one silver (76.12 grams) and one bronze (63.5 grams)medal with antique finish. The mintage is unknown, nor the history behind how the set was made available.
Several stamps and First Day Covers were issued to mark this momentous event. Pictured here are some, courtesy of the blog www.postalhistorycorner.blogspot.ca