II-298323 | Edward Wentworth Beatty, Montreal, QC, 1931

Edward Wentworth Beatty, Montreal, QC, 1931
Wm. Notman & Son
1931, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Edward Wentworth Beatty (1877-1943) was at the head of two important Canadian institutions. One was the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), whose president he became in 1918. The other was McGill University, whose chancellor he became in 1920.

Forceful and able, Beatty steered the CPR through a very difficult period. The Depression saw a devastating decline in the movement of people and goods. That setback was compounded by competition from the government-owned Canadian National Railways.

Both railways suffered, with the CPR's revenues dropping by half from 1928 to 1933. Beatty hoped to consolidate Canadian rail traffic under CPR control, but a Royal Commission rejected this solution.

Beatty had to take charge of McGill's affairs when Principal Sir Arthur Currie (1875-1933) died suddenly. For the next six years he controlled the university's finances.

  • What

    No dividends on CPR common stock were paid for 12 years. Dividends on the preferred stock went unpaid for five years and were reduced on three other occasions.

  • Where

    McGill acquired Beatty's Edwardian mansion on Pine Avenue in 1946 and renamed it Beatty Hall. Today it is occupied by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

  • When

    In 1935, Beatty was one of several Canadians to be knighted. Among the others was the Toronto-based conductor Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973).

  • Who

    The first Canadian-born commander of Canada's forces during the 1914-18 war, Sir Arthur Currie (1875-1933) became principal of McGill University in August 1920.