Canada Transport and Communications

By | December 25, 2021

Although the importance of rolling stock in Canada, as in general in North America, cannot be compared to that which they have in old populated countries like ours, the network of different roads currently used measures a total of over 760,000 km., of which about 12 thousand of concrete or asphalted roads, 130 thousand of roads covered with gravel or in any case well maintained, the rest consisting of country roads, in more or less poor state of maintenance. Most of the roads in the prairie region belong to this type, while only the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have long thoroughfares, meeting the needs of modern traffic. An idea of ​​the intensity of this is given by the number of cars circulating in Canada (over 1 million in 1930,

The first railway section (Saint-Jean-Laprairie) put into operation in the Dominion dates back to 1836, but the start of large-scale constructions is after 1851 (Grand Trunk) and only after the first Canadian transcontinental railway (Canadian Pacific Railway) was completed, destined for to reunite Montreal with Vancouver (4675 km.), a new era begins not only for communications, but for the agricultural colonization of the country itself. In this respect it must indeed be noted as the CPR, which is still without comparison the most powerful of the Dominion and does not limit its activity to the operation of the railways (32,421 km. Of lines in 1927), but extends its organization to various others. branches of activity that affect the country’s major interests (maritime services, lake navigation, tourism industries, land concessions for new settlers, etc.) represents a phenomenon that has no comparison, in such grandiose proportions, not even beyond the border, where even the development of railways has followed a path that is not very dissimilar. The other networks, among which the Canadian Northern R. and the Grand Trunk Pacific, which was responsible for the construction of the second transcontinental Quebec-Winnipeg-Edmonton-Prince Rupert, finished in 1914, were absorbed, given the difficulties in they had come to find after the war, from the Canadian National, exercised by the government. Notable, among the new constructions, is the railway that connects the central grain regions to the port of Churchill in Hudson Bay, free from ice for about five months a year: in addition to considerably shortening the land routes for the export of cereals, the new trunk will be able to enhance the immense latent mineral resources of a district among the richest in Canada (gold, iron, copper, antimony, silver, zinc, lignite), allowing the creation of an industrial zone in a particularly suitable position for the nearby cereal centers of the prairies. Overall, the Canadian network approaches 90,000 km. (66,000 broad lines), of which about 3,000 (minor networks) electrified (1927). In 1850 there were only 114 km in the Dominion. of railways, which rose to 4020 in 1870.  In 1890, after the construction of the first transcontinental ones, 22,710 km had been reached, which had risen to 40,370 in 1910, to 66,016 in 1928 (in addition to 6660 km. of electric railways). For Canada travel information, please check

No less important in the economic life of the Dominion are communications on lakes and rivers, of which the country is very rich, but which nevertheless required expensive canalization works to be connected to each other and to the sea (the first channel, that of S. Maria, between lakes Superiore and Huron, dates back to 1797). In 1927 the movement on the Canadian canals marked 36,162 ships with a cargo of over 20 million tons and 21 million passengers, figures for almost all referable to the South. Lorenzo group and the Great Lakes, on which the network of communications. Overall, the canals measure over 2500 km, naturally without taking into account the stretches of river or lake navigation that connect the canals themselves. Great reliance is placed on the planned Georgian Bay canal: joining the latter, by means of the Rivière aux Français (French R.), the Nipissing lake and the Ottawa river, at S. Lorenzo, one would avoid the huge V that navigation is forced to draw through lakes Huron and Erie. The San Lorenzo canalization is even more difficult, urged by the United States above all in view of the water reserves that it would make available to its industrial districts, and opposed, on the other hand, for reasons of competition, by the Canadian provinces. In total, Canada’s navigable network currently measures 7590 km., of which over 5000 are on rivers. Of the western watercourses, only the Lower Fraser and some of the inland lakes are of commercial importance, but still more in potential than in actuality.

The progress of commercial aviation has been relatively slow (the statistics of 1926 count only about fifty aircraft in service, although the distances covered by far exceed 600,000 km). Postal, telegraphic and telephone communications are widespread and well organized; the figures give for 1927: 5.2 million km. of telephone lines, and 1.2 million sets (12 per 100 residents), 120 thousand km. of telegraph lines, a hundred radio transmitting stations and 270,000 receiving devices.

Canada Transport