I-14179.1 | George Stephen, Montreal, QC, 1865

George Stephen, Montreal, QC, 1865
William Notman (1826-1891)
1865, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
8 x 5 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

George Stephen, the leader of the great Scottish directors of the CPR, was Donald Smith's cousin. He was born in 1829 at Dufftown, a major whisky-distilling town in Banffshire, was educated at the parish school, and in his youth tended flocks of sheep. In 1850 he emigrated to Canada and eventually became wealthy. By 1873 he had made a fortune, in association with his cousin Donald A. Smith and with J. J. Hill and Norman Kitson, in developing railway projects. As well as being part of the CPR syndicate, he was president of the Bank of Montreal from 1876 to 1881, and was credited with keeping the railway company solvent during the difficult years of construction. In 1888 Stephen was made a baronet and moved to England, and in 1891 he was made a baron as Lord Mount Stephen. He died in 1921.

  • What

    George Stephen was a member of the consortium that acquired the Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway in 1873.

  • Where

    Stephen emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1850, and returned to Britain a wealthy and influential man in 1888.

  • When

    In 1866, the year after this portrait was taken, he founded George Stephen and Co., a wool-importing company.

  • Who

    The man is George Stephen, later Lord Mount Stephen, a director of the CPR and a figure of tremendous wealth and power in both Canada and the United Kingdom.