This picture shows the construction work being done on the Big Bend Highway which was in use before the opening of the Trans Canada in 1962.

Looking back at the Trans Canada

Today I had the pleasure of going to Spirit Square and viewing the cavalcade of old cars.

Today I had the pleasure of going to Spirit Square and viewing the cavalcade of old cars that were part in the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Opening of the Trans Canada Highway through Rogers Pass. The cars, along with refreshments were at Spirit Square for an hour before leaving for the Donald Bridge, where the Ministry of Highways was hosting a celebration.

The completion of the Trans Canada Highway 50 years ago was a huge celebration and if you want to view the official opening hosted by John Diefenbaker go to www.cbc.ca, in to their archives and watch the video. Many people questioned the route, and millions have been spent on avalanche control and road clearing but if you had ever ridden in a car over the old Big Bend Highway you would know it was worth every penny.

Below is a poem, whose author we don’t know, although it does sound like one that could have been written by John Kehow. If you know the author please give me a call at the museum so that we can credit the right person.

 

Rogers Pass

 

There’s those that write of the mighty ones, that lived in days gone by. Of the life they lived, the deeds, they’re done and never questioned why. Like the takes you hear of Klondike Kate or the Poem of Dan McGrue, the wander off a little bit, from what I think is true. There’s stories told of the wind and snow, from Alaska to the pole, I have my doubts if any place can beat this snow-bound hole.

The Lord must have said, “There’s a place I know where I’ll dump this snowy mess.” Then some damn fool had to blaze a trail and called it Rogers Pass. The pioneer days were tough I know, and most of the story is true. Still life today is the modern tale I’d like to tell you. We don’t have the hardships this is true, that Great Granddaddy had. The traveling fold on the road today are the ones that make me sad.

You’ve been working like the devil trying to beat the snow. Then stop at bit to grease your rid. God how that wind can blow. Fingers damn near frozen, you’re a mite tired and now, some nut comes driving up and says, “Why don’t you fellows plow?” Next thing the road is slippery and everything is stuck. You’ve spent a weary hour or two, trying to help a truck.

Up steps this Dude so fancy, my, ain’t his manor grand. Opens up his big fat mouth, “Where the hell’s the sand?” His tires were made for summer and he hasn’t any chains. You just can’t help but wonder what he has in place of brains. They’ll travel through the bouncing rocks, without a glance or care. Then wonders why you’re giving them such an owly glare.

Then the day is over and it’s time to hit the sack. Tomorrow is your weekend off and you’re never coming back. You hit the road real early and barrel into town. Got a stack of troubles you’d kind of like to drown. Wander up and down the street and have a beer or two. Don’t know why I stopped in here there’s not much to do.

I’m sitting having coffee, the tenth on of the day. This little blonde is smiling in a real nice friendly way. We end up at a party, we sure had us a time. Wake up next morning broke; I haven’t got a dime. I’d like to have a little shot but my bottle it’s gone dry. I’m felling kind of shaky, but I know the reason why.

My head has stopped its spinning and I’m feeling better now, so I sit around and figure out just where I’m going to go. No use hanging around this place, just one thing left to do. Head down to my vehicle, the tank still has some gas. Climb aboard and point her nose, back up to the Rogers Pass.