End of the Line by Don McIver

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In 1857, the Desjardins Canal bridge collapsed under a Toronto-to-Hamilton train, creating one of the worst railway wrecks in North American history. Sixty lives, including that of the main contractor, were lost. The story of how the Great Western Railway was conceived, where it was located, and how it was constructed is replete with high irony covering political intrigue, commercial skullduggery, and bold entrepreneurship. Woven into the tragic events of that cold March evening are a cross-section of pre-Confederation Canadians whose lives contrasted sharply with the dour stereotypical view of pioneering Canada.

End of the Line portrays the personalities of these global travellers, burgeoning industrialists, and simple railway servants – all connected by the common thread of catastrophe. Particular attention is focused on the little-known life of Samuel Zimmerman – the irrepressible contractor who died in the accident. Captured throughout is the spirit of economic venture infecting the mood of the continent.


About Don McIver

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Don McIver was chief economist with a major Canadian financial institution while living in Burlington, Ontario. His research frequently took him to the train-wreck site and various locations significant to the drama in End of the Line. McIver has held senior postings at the Conference Board of Canada, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, and the Canadian Bankers Association. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Published February 16, 2013 by Natural Heritage. 216 pages
Genres: History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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