VIEW-1606 | C.P.R. elevator, Port Arthur, ON, 1887

C.P.R. elevator, Port Arthur, ON, 1887
William McFarlane Notman
1887, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , industrial (826) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

The CPR carried a great deal of wheat and other grain east from the Prairies, after the section between Winnipeg and the head of Lake Superior was finished in 1882. This huge elevator was built at Fort William (now part of Thunder Bay, Ontario) to hold grain for shipment by boat through the great lakes. The freight yards and elevator were built on the site of the original Fort William, a fur trading post dating back to the 18th century, which was demolished in the name of progress (it has been rebuilt in a different location). It took until 1885 to finish the railway through the rest of northern Ontario.

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

  • What

    Grain elevators like this one were once the symbol of every town from Thunder Bay to the Rockies.

  • Where

    This elevator is in Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay, Ontario), where the grain was loaded onto ships bound for eastern North American and European markets.

  • When

    At the time this was taken, in 1887, the elevator would have been a year or two old.

  • Who

    The fruits of the labour of many thousands of prairie farmers passed through these terminals. Most of the old ones have been demolished, to be replaced by larger but fewer structures.