For years, cross-country rail travel was an integral part of Canadian identity, and Black train porters played a central role. But despite their contributions, they were treated like second-class citizens
In 1891, a reporter from the New York Sun shadowed porters on the Canadian Pacific Railway transcontinental run to give readers a first-hand account of the working conditions of the men on the luxury service. Pullman train travel was in its glory days, and many people found the romance associated with the company endearing. Those fortunate enough to travel by train were eager for specific details before embarking on their journey. Travellers were crossing the North American continent with ease — easterners in Canada and the United States travelled to the west coast in mere days and in the lap of luxury. The excitement was palpable across the entire continent, as travel was becoming more accessible and less expensive and time consuming.