Posted on August 28, 2014 by Liz


Designed in the shape of a rail spike, our 2014 collectible in-case opener pays homage to “The Last Spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The ceremonial final spike was driven into the CPR at Craigellachie, British Columbia on November 7, 1885 and demonstrated the completion of our national railway. Realizing the dream of Prime Minister John A Macdonald to build a railway from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean spanning our country from coast to coast and uniting British Columbia to Central Canada. The CN railway also carried out a commitment made in 1871 by the Canadian Federal Government to the province of British Columbia which sealed their decision to join the Canadian Federation.

The building of the railway was plagued by natural disasters, financial crises and many lives lost during the project. The initial start of the railway resulted in threats of succession from some BC politicians. After the project was appointed to CPR they were given a grace period of 10 years to complete the project. The newly incorporated CPR Company did it in 5.

The completion of the CPR is recognized as one of the greatest engineering feats of the day. When William Van Horne, General Manager of the CPR at the time, was asked to describe the project he said “All I can say is that the work has been well done in every way,” or as Steam Whistle would say “done really, REALLY well.”

It’s a little known fact that the most commonly photographed “Last Spike” is actually the second spike. It took two tries to hammer the spike in correctly. The first spike bent and a second one was needed – the original bent spike is where we drew our inspiration from.

The Last Spike - In-case retro opener copy

For us this is so much more than a bottle opener as Canada’s rail story has special significance to us at Steam Whistle. Our brewery is located in the historic John St. Roundhouse just south of the CN Tower and Toronto’s Union Station. The Roundhouse opened in 1929 as a Canadian Pacific Rail repair facility servicing steam locomotives that helped pioneer the nation.

We package our pilsner in non-twist bottles because of the superior seal that the traditional crimped bottle cap provides. While this non-twist bottle gives our beer that fresh-off-the-line taste, it might inconvenience some of our customers. As Greg Taylor Co-founder of Steam Whistle says

“The way we bottle our beer isn’t about making it easier, it’s about making it better”.

As a way to give back to our customers, we began giving away our free retro openers back in 2005 and we’ve continued to release a new design each year.



Towards the last spike

The stroke released the trigger for a burst

Of sound which stretched the gamut of the air.

The shouts of engineers and dynamiters,

Of locomotive-workers and explorers,

Flanking the rails, were but a tuning up

For a massed continental chorus.

By Canadian poet E.J Pratt.