VIEW-6488.F | Sir William Van Horne, C.P.R. official, Montreal, QC, 1904

Sir William Van Horne, C.P.R. official, Montreal, QC, 1904
A. H. Harris
1904, 20th century
Silver salts on film (nitrate ?) - Gelatin silver process
11 x 15 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

William Van Horne (1843-1915) was the general manager of the CPR. Born in Illinois, he went to work as a railway telegrapher at the age of 14. Ambitious and hard-working, he was general superintendent of the Illinois Central by the age of 29. He became general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1882 and drove the railway across northern Ontario, the Prairies and the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. It was Van Horne who picked Vancouver to be the western terminus of the line. By the time he retired in 1899, the CPR had built over 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of track. He became a Canadian citizen, and was knighted in 1914.

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

  • What

    This is a view of a 20th-century Canadian business office.

  • Where

    Van Horne's office was at CPR headquarters in Montreal.

  • When

    Van Horne had been general manager of the CPR for more than 20 years when this picture was taken.

  • Who

    You would never guess from his plain office that Sir William Van Horne was one of the most powerful businessmen in Canada. What sort of office would a man in his position have today?