VIEW-2141 | C.P.R. docks, Vancouver, BC, 1889

C.P.R. docks, Vancouver, BC, 1889
William McFarlane Notman
1889, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  boat (1192) , harbour (624) , Photograph (77678) , steamer (448) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

The most valuable commodity the CPR's ships brought from the Orient to its Vancouver docks was silk. It was so expensive and so perishable that it was shipped to its destination in New York on special silk trains that ran across Canada non-stop. All other trains, even passenger trains, had to give way to them. They were the fastest trains on the line, averaging 90 km/h. By the 1920s, the silk trains were travelling from Vancouver to New York in just 80 hours. This must have seemed miraculous to people still living who could remember when the trip took months by canoe. CPR ships saw military service in both world wars.

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

  • What

    Here is another view of the CPR docks at Vancouver, BC.

  • Where

    Vancouver was founded by the CPR as its western terminus, and the city owed much of its early growth to the company.

  • When

    The picture was taken in 1889, when both railway and city were only a few years old. Vancouver was chartered in 1886, and the railway was completed the year before.

  • Who

    In the days before container ships, cargoes were handled by vast numbers of longshoremen, working mostly by hand.