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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: Early Cross-Canada Travel

Type: Assignment
Subjects: History, Social Studies, Geography
Grades: Grades 6-8
Duration: 1 to 2 lessons
Purpose: To understand what travel was like in Canada before the existence of the Trans-Canada Highway
Summary: Students create diary entries in role as cross-Canada travelers in the early 1900s.

Before Exploring

Brainstorm with students what they think travel was like in Canada before the Trans-Canada highway. Ask students to consider the experience of travelling by motor vehicle coast to coast during the early 1900s. Identify both positive and negative aspects of such travel.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Trans-Canada Highway: Bridging the Distance on the CBC Radio and Television Archives Web site. Students will review the clips "One of Canada's earliest roads: the Cariboo", "Following the tracks of the original cross-Canada road trip", "The birth of a coast-to-coast highway", "Breaking new ground: construction of the Trans-Canada", and "CBC Radio crosses Canada by car!" including The Story and Did You Know? sections.

Students should take notes on the travellers' experiences. Using their notes, have students write a series of brief diary entries to document a road trip during the time before the Trans-Canada Highway was built. Students may use the download sheet Early Cross-Canada Travel to assist in writing their diary entries.

Revisit and Reflect

Have volunteers read or dramatize their diary entries for the class, using props and costumes if they wish.


Students can create a travel brochure advertising the Trans-Canada Highway as the perfect holiday road trip. They may choose any time period since the inception of the Trans-Canada Highway.

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