Canada’s first railway, commissioned in 1831
For Montreal merchants connecting with steamers on Lake Champlain on their way to New York, the Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad would cut hours off the journey, proving a boon to business. The railway was opened to horse traffic in 1836 and finally to locomotives in 1837.
Largely financed by Bank of Montreal director John Molson, the project is a good example of the bank’s early pragmatic and clear-eyed approach to infrastructure projects. Given the importance of the route and its short distance, this railroad presented minimal risk.
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