“Now and Then: Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial”

Apr. 28, 2016 – Torontoist (with videos)

Now and Then explores the stories beh ind Toronto’s historical plaques and monuments.

The Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial. Photo by Shaun Merritt from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

One man reaches up towards the large wooden log—big enough to crush him—and braces himself against the trestle. Another man stands high on top, directing the log with just a rope, pulling it up to build the next tie on a railroad. This scene would have been common across the country as workers built the Canadian Pacific railway from coast to coast in the 1800s. Now, these men, cast in bronze, stand near the Rogers Centre in Toronto, as a permanent reminder of the thousands of workers—many of them Chinese labourers, overworked and underpaid—who died building that railroad.

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