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In 1879, the federal government floated bonds in London and called for tenders to construct the 206 km (128 mile) section of the railway from Yale, British Columbia to Savona's Ferry on Kamloops Lake.
The contract was awarded to Andrew Onderdonk, whose men started work on May 15, 1880.
The logical route for a railway serving Western Canada would be to go through the American Midwest and the city of Chicago, Illinois.
Canada's very existence depended on the successful completion of a major civil engineering project, via. Creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway was a task originally undertaken for a combination of reasons by the Conservative government of prime minister Sir John A. British Columbia had insisted upon a national railway as a condition for joining the Confederation of Canada.The government thus promised to build a railway linking the Pacific province to the eastern provinces within ten years of July 20, 1871.Macdonald also saw it as essential to the creation of a unified Canadian nation that would stretch across the continent.To ensure this routing, the government offered huge incentives including vast grants of land in Western Canada. Macdonald and other high-ranking politicians, swayed by bribes in the so-called Pacific Scandal, granted federal contracts to Hugh Allan's "Canada Pacific Railway Company" (which was unrelated to the current company) and to the Inter-Ocean Railway Company.Because of this scandal, the Conservative party was removed from office in 1873.After the completion of that section, Onderdonk received contracts to build between Yale and Port Moody, and between Savona's Ferry and Eagle Pass.