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Groundwood Books

Canadian Railroad Trilogy /fxl

Written by Gordon Lightfoot • Illustrated by Ian Wallace

Published September 18, 2010 | ISBN 9781554983049

Cover of Canadian Railroad Trilogy /fxl

Regular price $19.95 CAD

Digital Format

About this book

Canadian Railroad Trilogy /fxl

Gordon Lightfoot • Ian Wallace

This lavishly illustrated book brings Gordon Lightfoot’s heart-stirring song, “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” to readers young and old. The song was commissioned by the CBC in 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial year and it has been a classic ever since. It eloquently describes the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway — “an iron road runnin’ from the sea to the sea” — a great feat of nation building that changed Canada forever for good and for ill, as in the process many people died and were dispossessed of their land.

Highly acclaimed, award-winning illustrator Ian Wallace brings the song to visual life with his sweeping landscapes and evocative portrayals of the people who lived the building of the railroad — from the financiers in the East to First Nations people across the country to the thousands of navvies themselves, many of whom came from as far away as China. The book includes Gordon Lightfoot’s music and lyrics, a brief history of the railroad, notes on the illustrations and further reading.

“Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” an extraordinarily special song, has inspired this very beautiful book that many will want to own as a keepsake.


There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run,
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun.
Long before the white man and long before the wheel,
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real...

About the Creators

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot is Canada's most famous folk singer, songwriter and guitarist. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit Gordon Lightfoot's website:

Ian Wallace

Ian Wallace has had a long and distinguished career as an author and illustrator of picture books. He has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. Visit Ian Wallace's website: