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ARCHIVED - A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette

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The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

(Ages 14 to 18)



What is the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR)? Why is it important to Canadian history? Does it affect anyone today? What role does the Canada Gazette play in historical events?

In this series of activities, students at the senior social studies level will explore the historical significance of the GTPR using primary sources that include original legislation from the Canada Gazette. They will use journalistic techniques to critically examine historical events from multiple perspectives.


  • To understand the historical and present effects of the GTPR on Aboriginal peoples and on Canada as a nation.
  • To critically examine historical events from multiple perspectives.
  • To use journalistic writing to express learning.
  • To explore the official role of the Canada Gazette in recording historical events.
  • To use a variety of primary sources to develop opinions.

Concepts Students Will Encounter

  • Canada as a developing country
  • The role of government in economic development
  • Change
  • Aboriginal awareness


The activities below may be used separately or together as a complete unit.

Downloadable Formats

Activity 1.1
Introduction: The Canada Gazette and the GTPR
[PDF 64 KB], [RTF 479 KB]
Students will search the Canada Gazette for documents related to the rise and fall of the GTPR.
Handout 1.1
The Canada Gazette and the GTPR
[PDF 38 KB], [RTF 441 KB]

Activity Resources
Activity 1.2
Life and Times During the GTPR
[PDF 64 KB], [RTF 479 KB]
Students will use Throne Speeches printed in the Canada Gazette to create a timeline of the major social, economic, and political events from 1903 to 1919, and compare them to the major events of the GTPR.
Handout 1.2
Life and Times During the GTPR
[PDF 39 KB], [RTF 445 KB]

Activity Resources
Activity 1.3
Extra! Extra! Read All about It!
[PDF 64 KB], [RTF 479 KB]
Students will compare the various features of current and historical newspapers, and then determine which sections should be included in their group newspaper.
Preview Story:
Students will use their research to report the upcoming news of the nationalization of the GTPR.
Students will research and write an obituary for Charles Melville Hays, presenting their view of him as a leader.
Activity 1.6
In My Opinion...
[PDF 64 KB], [RTF 479 KB]
Letter to the Editor:
Students will write an opinion piece about the treatment of Aboriginal peoples during the building of the GTPR.


Students will write about how they would compensate Aboriginal peoples affected by the GTPR in present day.
Activity 1.7
In the Eye of the Beholder...
[PDF 64 KB], [RTF 479 KB]
Students will create a photo montage about the GTPR reflecting their view of its role in Canada.
Handout 1.7
In the Eye of the Beholder…
[PDF 43 KB], [RTF 442 KB]

Activity Resources
Activity 1.8
To Make You Think Twice
[PDF 64 KB], [RTF 479 KB]
Political Cartoon:
Students will create a political cartoon depicting their view on the role of various political events or people surrounding the GTPR.
Personal response
No handout

Curriculum Connections

Province or Territory Grade Subject
Alberta 9 Social Studies: Canada: Opportunities and Challenges
  10 Social Studies: Aboriginal Studies
  11 Social Studies: Aboriginal Studies
  12 Social Studies: Aboriginal Studies
British Columbia, Yukon 10 History: Canada: History 1815-1914
  11 Social Studies: Canada in the 20th Century
  12 Social Studies: Native Studies
Manitoba Senior 3 History: Canada: A Social and Political History
Nova Scotia 11 History: Canadian History
New Brunswick 11 History: Canadian History
  12 History: Canadian 19th- and 20th-Century History
Newfoundland and Labrador 10 History: Canadian History
Northwest Territories, Nunavut 9 Social Studies: The Growth of Canada
  12 Social Studies: Aboriginal Studies
Ontario 10 Social Studies: Native Studies: Aboriginal Peoples of Canada
  12 Social Studies: Canada: History, Identity and Culture
Prince Edward Island 10 Social Studies: Canadian History and Social Studies
Quebec Sec. IV History: History of Quebec and Canada
Saskatchewan 10 Social Studies: Native Studies
  11 Social Studies: Native Studies
  12 Social Studies: Native Studies

Suggested Assessment

Teachers may use the final version of the newspaper as an assessment tool.
A summative teacher evaluation would be based on:

  • Written contributions to the group newspaper;
  • The ability to work cooperatively in groups;
  • The ability to explain the historical significance of the building of the GTPR using research;
  • The ability to use the various journalistic formats outlined in the activities;
  • The use of sufficient and varied research sources to support opinions.

Suggested Learner Modifications

1. Assist students in reading the research information and selecting pertinent references.

2. Provide scaffolding techniques, such as a starter sentence or keyword lists for students with writing difficulties. Assist students with the organization and presentation of ideas.

3. Simplify the research by omitting certain parts of the assignment.

4. Provide extra time.

5. Provide teacher or tutor support and direction during individual activity work.

6. Allow students to dictate orally the information and scribe.

7. Allow students to present the information on audiotape.

8. Allow students to contribute to the group activity through learning styles of their choice, such as a visual representation, an oral explanation, a dramatic portrayal or a technical contribution.