From May 14th to November 16th, 2012 the Port Moody Station Museum is proud to host the travelling exhibit Chinese Legacies: Building the Canadian Pacific Railway. The exhibit, created by the Revelstoke Railway Museum and the Revelstoke Museum & Archives, explores the story of the thousands of Chinese labourers who contributed to the building of the CPR between Port Moody and Craigellachie, BC.
As the original terminus for the CPR, Port Moody has a deep historical connection to the Chinese railway workers. To provide additional labour to build the railway from Port Moody to Kamloops Lake, Andrew Onderdonk recruited thousands of men from China. These men, along with other supplies for building the railway, came by ship into Port Moody before traveling onto the construction site. Many of these workers tragically fell ill with Beri Beri disease upon their arrival and were buried on the hillside in Port Moody, later to be exhumed and brought back to China for final burial.
The exhibit recounts the difficulties that faced the some 15,000 Chinese workers between 1880 and 1885 and includes a diorama of a typical Chinese worker’s campsite, artifacts such as opium pipes, coins, incense burners, as well as a slide show of historical photos. It is estimated that between 600 and 2,200 workers lost their lives due to malnutrition, dangerous working conditions, and disease during this time. Discrimination was a daily reality for these workers, who would be paid half the salary of the white workers and were forced to do the most dangerous work in the camps.
To honor the exhibit, the Station Museum is offering educational programming for children and special Family Days. Starting Canada Day weekend, the Museum will host weekly Family Days every Sunday, from 11 to 4, in July and August. On this day, families can participate in guided activities and crafts such as spike driving, lantern making, a scavenger hunt and demonstrations of Chinese culture. Check our Upcoming Events page soon, for more details.
For more information about the exhibit or to book a program, please contact us at 604-939-1648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.