More than 120 years ago, in a small town in British Columbia, a railroad tycoon named Donald Smith hammered the last spike in the Canadian Pacific Railway, linking Canada from the Pacific to the Atlantic with a great ribbon of wood and steel. At the time, many said the project was folly: too expensive, too bold, too difficult. Yet the dreamers behind that tremendous feat
of engineering never wavered in their vision of what the railway would achieve: the opening up of a continent, the end of geographic and economic isolation, and the physical uniting of a great nation. This vision moved closer to its realization some decades later, when a vast network of telephone wires, followed by a system of interprovincial highways and roads, further shrank the distances between farm, town, and city.