[2015] Torre Undseth (SS8Y - 2015-16): Chinese Railway workers

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[2015] Torre Undseth (SS8Y - 2015-16): Chinese Railway workers

The Hardships of Chinese Railway Workers Building the CPR

Head TaxEvery person of Chinese origin who wanted to enter Canada to work on the Railway would have to pay this tax. The tax was $50 which in today's money would be worth around $2,500. This amount of money was Extremely high since China was not at its peak with poverty and famine sweeping the country. Canada added this head tax since they thought that with the amount of Chinese immigrants coming in they might start to take over the jobs of the white english speaking Canadians. They thought that the head tax would control the amount of people coming into the country since many of them found it too expensive or simply couldn't pay for it. They thought that they had to have a negative for the positive life they were going to offer to the workers. Even if a Chinese family already had some one working on the railway the would have to pay for it, with no reduced prices.

CitizenshipThe fight for citizenship was a major problem after the Railway was finished. New born children of Chinese descent who were born in Canada would get a stamp on their birth certificate that said "not a Canadian citizen". This caused many problems for them. Since they were not considered a citizen than they would not be able to own any property. The only way that a Chinese person could become a Canadian citizen was to fight or help in WW2. Many choose this as an option so they could finally have a better life once they returned to Canada. Even though many people did this it took the government up to three years for them to grant its Chinese fighters citizenship. The government went as far as stopping the Chinese from getting a footing in mainstream society. They were also stopped from entering professions such as law or teaching. This led most of them to start commercial enterprises such as grocery stores,restaurants and laundries.

Working EnvironmentsThe Chinese workers who had come to Canada to help build the Railway had much worse working and living environments than the english workers. Each group of 30 Chinese workers would have a cook, an assistant cook,a record keeper who would keep track of hours worked and other details. They would also have white herder who would work with the recorder. The Chinese workers would only get $1-$2.50 per day. Some of the workers if they were desperate for money or really wanted money would risk their lives for danger pay. Some of the danger pay activities would include carrying Nitroglycerin into the unfinished tunnels and try to blow out the rocks. The trick is that Nitroglycerin is very unstable and could explode on you at any moment. Even if the Chinese weren't working for danger pay in the tunnels their everyday jobs would be very dangerous. They would have to cut very tall trees which killed or injured many workers. Animal life was also another major contributor to death and injuries. If the workers had to bridge a gap the would not have harnesses to keep them from falling.

Using Nitroglycerin on the Tunnels to Earn Danger Pay.

This is a Picture of the Head Tax Recipt Used to get into the Country.

This is a Picture of all the Chinese and English Railway Workers on the Finished Railway.

Chinese Worker Camps

Modern Day Canadian Pacific Railway

This is a Picture of all the Chinese Railway Workers Seeing the Train on the Tracks for the First Time


  • s2c8xzf7p 4 years ago

    s2c8xzf7p's avatar

    I like your ideas but you don't need to have the page filled up, make things smaller.

  • s5befsgqj 4 years ago

    s5befsgqj's avatar

    Its cool but it is to crowded

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