Thematic Guides - Trans-Canada Highway

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)

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)
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