Mass Graves for Chinese Workers in 1880’s CN railway

Chinese workers building the CPR in 1878Twenty-four years ago I was walking down a dirt road near my childhood home in Northern Ontario with my father and his friend. As we approached a railway crossing, my father’s friend started talking about the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Of course, I was only five or six at the time and had little understanding of Canadian history. I remember my dad’s friend saying “You know, it’s a damn shame how many Chinese laborers lost their lives working on this railway in the 1870’s.”

I recall being both perplexed and saddened by the idea of people coming from such a faraway place just to build a railroad only to lose their lives in the end. Then the conversation shifted to the subject of a Chinese graveyard. According to this friend the graveyard was somewhere nearby.

I grew up in Kenora Ontario, and every summer I would search for the remains of that graveyard.

Today it remains one of my foremost challenges. Ancestry Guru will, among other things, document this personal endeavour.

Kyle Muir

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