Since the construction of the CPR through the Rockies, Canadian, federal and provincial governments have taken a number of steps and measures to protect specific areas. From reserves to parks, portions of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and B.C. are now designated as parks and managed by Parks Canada, and their provincial counterparts. The Burgess Shale has been on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1980 and is now part of a broader designation as Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.

Research and report on the following:

1. What are the criteria on the UNESCO World Heritage list that justify the designation of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks as a protected site?

2. Discuss the role that the Burgess Shale fossils play in the designation as a World Heritage site.

3. In the Burgeoning Tourism Industry section, there are a number of black and white photographs from the Mary Vaux collection. Describe her experience of having traveled in this region based on these photos.

4. Compare these actual photographs to the CPR promotional material. Is the promotional information representative of the actual tourist experience? Justify your answer.

5. Look at the colour souvenir postcard of Mount Stephen House. Imagine that you are recipient of this postcard. What does it convey about the tourist experience in the region?

6. What do you suppose is the economic impact?
A. Of the CPR traveling through this region
B. Of designating the Rocky Mountain Parks (including the Burgess Shell) as a UNESCO world heritage site

Timeline section

Look at the timeline and pull out the events related to the construction of the railroad. How are these related to the discovery of the Burgess Shale fossils? Which event is most significant in making this discovery possible?

In the following section: A Late Decision and the First Fossil Discoveries examine the schematic showing the CPR line through the Rocky and Selkirk mountains. Identify the Kicking Horse pass. Discuss the challenges the CPR engineers had in designing a railroad through this kind of landscape.

The photograph showing the steaming train along the Kicking Horse Bridge with Mount Stephen in the background is evocative of the experience the visitors have of being on this train and of the challenges the CPR had in taking this path through the Rockies. Explain this statement from examining this photograph.
Jacques Lavoie

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