S.S. Panama in Panama Canal's Gatun Locks, ~1915. Photo via Richard (rich701), creative commons

S.S. Panama in Panama Canal’s Gatun Locks, ~1915. Photo via Richard (rich701), creative commons and flickr

When the steamship Ancon entered Pacific waters on August 15, 1914, transportation between North America’s east and west coasts changed forever. The Ancon made the journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 70 minutes. The journey normally took months and risked unpredictable weather and currents.

The Ancon’s passage marked the long-anticipated opening of that engineering marvel, the Panama Canal.

From one day to the next, the sea journey from New York to San Francisco became 12,600 kilometres shorter. Steamships carrying goods from this coast to Atlantic markets could—and did—cut months off their journey.

The immediate effect of the canal’s opening on the day-to-day lives of most people living in Victoria and British Columbia, however, turned out to be anti-climatic….

Read the rest of this editorial at the Victoria Times Colonist….

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