VIEW-1426.1 | C.P.R. yards, Winnipeg, MB, 1884

C.P.R. yards, Winnipeg, MB, 1884
William McFarlane Notman
1884, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , Train (185) , Transportation (2517) , view (1387)
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Keys to History

It is interesting to compare a number of different photographs of the CPR freight yards in Winnipeg. The Notman photograph, taken in 1884, shows few cars, since the line had not been finished through Ontario at that time, though there was a line south to Minnesota. By 1903 the West was booming, and there were many more trains. By 1925 the freight yards were full of grain, freight and cattle cars. Two things had not changed, however: there were still very few trees, and the land was still flat as a board. The horizon seems a very long way away.

Source : Forging the National Dream [Web tour], by William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia (see Links)

  • What

    Here we see train tracks stretching off to the horizon.

  • Where

    The railyards were in the north end of town, in the centre of the immigrant community.

  • When

    This picture was taken in 1884, the year before the railroad was finished.

  • Who

    There is no "who" here, for there is not a single human being in the scene. The photographer has chosen to illustrate the immensity and perhaps the potential of the prairie west.