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Trans-Canada Highway

Photograph of the planting of the first post of the Canadian Highway (intended to be a trans-Canadian highway), May 4, 1912
Source

This guide consists of specific references to government sources on to the Trans-Canada Highway.

As early as 1910, there were calls for a national road across Canada. Nearly 40 years later, the Trans-Canada Highway Act (1949) provided millions of dollars in cost-shared funding for provincial governments. It was not until July 30, 1962, however, when the 7,821-kilometre Trans-Canada Highway was formally opened at Rogers Pass. Finished in 1970, the Trans-Canada Highway is the largest national highway in the world.

This guide was revised in September 2000.

1. Archival References

Government Records

Records of the Privy Council Office (RG 2)

Roads; Trans-Canada Highway; representations from outside the government, 1950-1951
(RG 2, series B-2, vol. 181, file R-16-6, pts. 1-3)
Trans-Canada Highway, 1945-1952
(RG 2, series B-2 , vols. 96, 230 and 250, file R-16-6)
Trans-Canada Highway Association; meeting with government, 1947
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 2640)
Trans-Canada Highway; conferences and agreements with provinces, several parts, 1948-1955
(RG 2, series A-5-a , vols. 2642-2648, 2654 and 2657-2659)
Legislation; Trans-Canada Highway Act amendment, 1956
(RG 2, series A-5-a , vol. 5775)
Legislation program, April 21, 1958
(RG 2, series A-5-a , vol. 1898)
Campgrounds along the Trans-Canada Highway, July 18, 1958
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 1899)
Trans-Canada Highway Act, January 27, 1959
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 2744)
Legislation; Trans-Canada Highway Act amendment, January 7, 1960
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 2746)
Legislation; Trans-Canada Highway Act amendment; draft bill and resolution, February 9, 1960
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 2746)
Trans-Canada Highway; agreement with Quebec, August 10, 1960
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 2747)
Order on Trans-Canada Highway agreements, September 15, 1960
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 2747)
Legislation; proposed national highway system; second Trans-Canada Highway; suburban transportation, August 29, 1962
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 6193)
Trans-Canada Highway in Atlantic Provinces, April 23, 1963
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 6253)
Trans-Canada Highway, April 30, 1963
(RG 2, series A-5-a, vol. 6253)

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Records Relating to Indian Affairs (RG 10)

The records relating to Indian Affairs are included because of issues of the highway crossing through Indian reserves.

Thompson River District; Boothroyd Band; Inkahtsaph Reserve No. 6; construction of an access road to their farm land from the Trans-Canada Highway, 1925-1962
(RG 10, vol. 10332, reel T-7597, file 976/8-9-17-6)
Sault Ste. Marie Agency; correspondence and accounts concerning Right of Way of the new Trans-Canada Highway running trough the Garden River Reserve, and also concerning road maintenance and new road construction on the reserve, 1939-1946
(RG 10, vol. 7691, reel C-12006, file 23013-2, pt. 1)
Thessalon Agency; correspondence and accounts concerning Right of Way through the Mississagi River Reserve for the new Trans-Canada Highway, 1927-1946
(RG 10, vol. 7691, reel C-12006, file 23013-6)
Sault Ste. Marie Agency; correspondence and accounts concerning Right of Way of the new Trans-Canada Highway running trough the Garden River Reserve, 1937-1939
(RG 10, vol. 7691, reel C-12006, file 23013-1)
Trans-Canada Highway; Popkum IR, May 1957-September 1965
(RG 10, series C-VI , vol. 13299, file 167/31-4-37)

Records of the Department of Public Works (RG 11)

The Department of Public Works was responsible for a large part of the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway.

(RG 11, acc. 1984-85/061, finding aid 11-71)

Records of the Department of Transport (RG 12)

The Department of Transport was heavily involved with the construction of the highway.

Devitt Twp., Ontario; Disposition of Land to Province of Ontario for Trans-Canada Highway #11, May 29, 1953-February 9, 1954
(RG 12, series A-1, vol. 4647, file 3406-401)
Parish of Dorchester, New Brunswick; land for Trans-Canada Highway, August 13, 1959-December 28, 1959
(RG 12, series A-1, vol. 4652, file 3406-466)

Records of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (RG 22)

The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs kept information about issues of the highway crossing through Indian reserves.

Trans-Canada Highway agreements with provinces, 1950-1953
(RG 22, vols. 219-231 and 246)

Records of the Department of National Defence (RG 24)

The Department of National Defence kept reports on the value of the highway for national security reasons.

Trans-Canada Highway, 1949-1955
(RG 24, acc. 1983-84/167, box 7055, file 2-560-2)
Trans-Canada Highway, 1949-1952
(RG 24, acc. 1983-84/167, box 4366, file S-NSC-9720-3)

Records of the Department of External Affairs (RG 25)

The Department of External Affairs kept reports on the impact of the highway on foreign relations mainly with the United States.

Trans-Canada Highway system; proposals, April 10, 1947-July 31, 1952
(RG 25, series G-2, vol. 3951, file 9617-40)
Military considerations regarding the Trans-Canada Highway, October 5, 1949-April 12, 1950
(RG 25, series A-3-b, vol. 5809, file 333(s))

Records of the Department of Labour (RG 27)

The Department of labour kept records of contracts and labour agreement with companies and workers who built the Trans-Canada Highway.

Labour agreement and contract files
(RG 27, vols. 2038-2040, 2043, 2075, 2082-2083)

Records of the Canadian Parks Services (RG 84)

Trans-Canada Highway agreements, maps, plans and specifications through national parks.
(RG 84, series A-2-a, reels T-10977 to T-10986)

Thematic Guides