British Columbia Becomes the Sixth Canadian Province

July 20, 1871
Sir George-Étienne Cartier, after 1882. Montréal, Quebec. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Sir George-Étienne Cartier, after 1882. Montréal, Quebec. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

In 1871, British Columbia became the sixth Canadian province, joining Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba. The terms of union were negotiated in June 1870, by Macdonald's trusted friend and political partner, George-Étienne Cartier, who was at the helm during Macdonald's illness. Canada would ensure that British Columbia, heavily in debt, was financially stable and that within a decade there would be a transcontinental railway, linking the Dominion from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Cartier had just committed Canada, with its population of four million, to building the world's longest railway system.