CANADIAN RAILWAYS AND THE WAR t59
beginning of the war were, indeed, the Empire's most important strategic lines. Over them reservists were rushed to the Allies. When Valcartier was chosen as the military camp for assembling the First Contingent, from the Pacific Coast, from the Peace River District, from the region around Hudson Bay, from the remotest corners of the Maritime Provinces, troops were rushed to the training centre. When the necessary camp constructors and other workers are taken into consideration, it is well within the mark to say that in and about Valcartier, by the time the First Contingent had concentrated there, a population of over fifty thousand adult males had assembled—equal to the entire population of the city of London, Ontario. And this work was done within a month. Not only were the men transported, but from every military depot in Canada supplies and equipment were brought forward. And this large cityful of men had to be fed—no small task; but the railways never failed. Military needs had the right of way; and north and south, east and west, trains continuously thundered towards Valcartier.
There was another way in which the Canadian railways were to prove of immense strategic value in the war. Over them were to be brought Imperial troops from the Far East and Chinese labourers for work behind the lines on the various fronts. They served, too, as a means to get war supplies to Russia. They enabled Canada to vastly increase the man-power of the Allies; but they did more, they were of immense importance in feeding the armies in the field. In the last four months of 1915 the shipment of grain over Canadian lines totalled 152,000,000 bushels. During the year 1915 that much-criticized line, the Canadian Northern, carried 741,042,000 pounds of flour and 58,875,520 bushels of grain. More-over, the railway companies, employing tens of thousands of workmen, were in a direct way a source of strength to the Empire's armies. By the end of 1915 employes of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the number of 3,982 had