THE BUILDING OF THE C.P.R.


(A third generation CHINESE-CANADIAN WOMAN in her mid thirties reads the following letter.)

 

June 21, 1985
 
The Editor
Vancouver Sun
 
Dear Editor,
 
As a third generation Chinese-Canadian, I would like to thank you for your objective and balanced account of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad's transcontinental line.
 
Your article was a fitting tribute to my grandfather and the many Chinese men who worked on that project. Many lives were lost during the building of the railroad and I remember my grandfather's eyes misting over as he recalled some of the hardships they had to endure. Yet he never lost sight of why he had come to this country and of the excitement he felt when he first saw the rockies. He would get a sparkle in his eye whenever he talked about the vast majesty of this land.
 
I owe this country much and this country owes much to my grandfather and his fellow workers. The railroad was built to link the country and bring British Columbia into Confederation and it accomplished both tasks. Your article made that clear, but I doubt if my grandfather ever realized how significant his contribution had been. He was a humble labourer with dreams that were simple and immediate. I do, however, remember him once saying: "These things, the coming together of different cultures, they take time like the flowering of a cherry tree, and, like a cherry tree, when the blossom comes it is a thing of beauty."
 
Although he died during my first year at university, I think he knew that his dreams for his family had come true. Thanks to your timely article, I realize just how far we have come and how proud I know my grandfather would be of all of us and the cherry blossom.
 
Yours truly,
 
Lily Chang