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The romance of the Canadian Pacific Railway MacBeth, R. G. (Roderick George), 1858-1934 1924

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The University of British Columbia Library
\ FORM 101
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IPBÛf Ha»** Becember 18tfr, lizs*
h Anniversary Of $&£ driving
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3J The University of British Columbia Library
COLLECTION  r _^L  The Romance of the Canadian
Pacific Railway  J  The Romance
of the Canadian
Pacific Railway
Author of "The Maying of the Canadian West,"
" The Romance of Western Canada," Etc.
B    B
1 Copyright, Canada, 1924, by
Famous Forerunners      -
The Approach to a Great Task
-    11
Giants in Action
-      18
The Chariot Wheels Drag
-      33
Getting Up Speed    -
-     43
A Great Adventure
-      53
The New Company  -
-     67
A Constructive Genius  -
-     79
Crossing the Prairie
-     94
Battling for Life   -
-    110
Ocean to Ocean
-    129
Guardians of the Road  -
-    151
Intensive and Extensive Work
-    164
The Guiding Hands -
-    181
The Wonders of the Deep
-    207
War Service    -
-    220
The Floodtide of Wheat
-   235
Special Features    -
-   245
Craigellachie - - - - Frontispiece
The Driving of the Last Spike, November 7, 1885.
Early Builders    --------     76
Lord Mount Stephen, First President; Sir William Van
Home, First General Manager and Second President; Lord
Shaughnessy, Early Financier and Third President.
Typical Canadian Pacific Scenery 93
The Bow River Valley and Banff Springs Hotel; Lake
Louise; Mount Sir Donald and Illecillewaet Glacier; Moraine
The Present Management -       -       -       -       -       -    188
E. W. Beatty, President; Grant Hall, Vice-President; I. G.
Ogden, Vice-President of Finance; W. R. Maclnnes, Vice-
President in Charge of Traffic; A. D. MacTier, Vice-President,
Eastern Lines; D. C. Coleman, Vice-President, Western Lines;
Sir  George   McLaren   Brown,  European   General  Manager.
Former Officers --------   205
The late David McNicoll, Vice-President and General
Manager; the late R. B. Angus.
Recent Developments -       -       -       -       -       -   252
The Bassano Dam; the Brooks Aqueduct; Supply Farm at
Strathmore, Alberta; Canadian Pacific Docks at Quebec.  The Romance of the Canadian
Pacific Railway  FOREWORD
FORTY years ago, on November 7th, 1885, the
last spike on the transcontinental main line of
the Canadian Pacific Railway, linking Atlantic with
Pacific, was driven at Craigellachie, B.C., by Sir
Donald Smith (afterwards Lord Strathcona) in the
presence of a small group of those actively associated
in the work. The romantic circumstances of the
first beginnings and later growth of that railway
have been admirably described in the accompanying
book Written by the Rev. R. G. MacBeth, an old-
timer who in the early days was associated with the
Royal North-West Mounted Police, and who personally knew many of the Canadian Pacific men of
that time. So inspiring a story cannot fail to be of
interest, especially to those who are identified with
the Canadian Pacific Railway of to-day. I myself
have found so much pleasure in reading it that I feel
it cannot be too widely read. On this Anniversary
Day I am therefore sending you a copy oftiie book,
as a friendly remembrance from one railwayman to
another.  T
Famous Forerunners
HE FASCINATION for studying the genesis
of things that exist seems to be universal. Men
have an instinctive and urgent desire to find out
how objects that are seen actually originated. ■
Scientists and'savages alike, for instance, are still
hammering out theories as to the process by which
the world was made, though to most of us the most
ancient account is adequate. Once I knew an Indian
boy on the prairie who was so curious to discover
how the figure of a dog appeared at the centre of
a large glass "marble" we were playing with, that
when I had turned away for a moment, he broke it
open with the back of a tomahawk. Similarly, we
have known exploring scientists who spent laborious lives in the endeavour to find the sources of a
great river.
To be indifferent to the beginnings of things which
have become part of our lives, betokens either
the calamitous absence of a thinking mind or
that horrible satisfaction with present possession
which ignores the toil and the tears and the sacrifices of past generations.    To persons of such vacant
1 The Romance of the C.P.R.
or selfish natures all the explorers and the pioneers—
the men whose souls yearned beyond the sky-line
of their immediate surroundings—are of no particular account. The untrodden ways which daring
pathfinders opened up with adventurous feet are
of no consequence to the unthinking who settle
comfortably on lands pre-empted by the blood-
marked footsteps of the trailmakers.
It is because we are not of the number who are
sodden with crass materialism and seared by the
branding iron of greed, that we desire to learn the
history of the things which minister to our continued
existence and comfort in this great new day, the
far-off vision of which made glad the brave seers
and workers of earlier times.
These thoughts come to me now just as I am
riding westward on the public observation car of
*a Canadian Pacific Railway train, through the great
mountains that are piled up on the sunset verge
of the Dominion of Canada. The traditional weariness of travel is practically banished by these
wheeled palaces, which that living, breathing, throbbing locomotive, under the skilful direction of her
driver, draws through passes and tunnels and glorious
river canyons down to the Western sea. And I
thought of how, in times gone by, that Western Sea
had been in the dreams of gallant men who hoped
to reach its shores some day. I recalled how noble
sea-rovers, like Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin, had thrown away their lives in the attempt to
find  a   North-west   Passage   by  water  across   the
2 Famous Forerunners
North American continent, from the Atlantic. And
I remembered, too, how Alexander MacKenzie,
the fur-trader, starting by trail from near the old
Peace River Crossing, had gone over the mountains
on foot, and how he wrote on a rock by the Pacific
the amazing inscription, " Alexander MacKenzie,
from Canada, by land, July 22nd, 1793." We
call that inscription amazing because behind it
and flashing through it is the story of an invincible
will in heroic action and the record of physical
daring unsurpassed in the palmiest days of the athletes and gladiators in Greece and Rome.
Thus did Alexander MacKenzie blaze the trail
across the mountains. If the North-west Passage
by water had proved a myth, MacKenzie demonstrated the reality of a passage by land which,
in the years afterwards, others would follow.
Strange, too, it was that in the same year, 1793,
Captain George Vancouver, an English sea-rover,
dropped the anchor of his wooden, white-winged
vessel in the great harbour where there is now a
queenly city bearing his name, on the West Coast
of Canada.
Little did these adventurous pathfinders who
discovered mountain passes and ocean lanes think
that, before a century had passed, a group of men
with vision and courage would follow the inspiring
example of the explorers by land and sea, and achieve
not only the crossing of a continent, but the girdling of the earth in a magnificent transportation
system.    Yet   despite   the   gloomy   prophecies   of
3 The Romance of the C.P.R.
failure uttered by sceptics who declared that the
thing could not be done, the Canadian Pacific
Railway has driven its iron horses through the
mountains to stand by the Western Sea. And
from the land terminals, East and West, this unique
organization has set its vessels on the tides of all
the oceans of the world, as well as upon the gentler
waters of our inland  seas.
There were many weighty reasons for the building of this railway and the launching of its great
ships, as well as highly important considerations
which demand its continued efficiency in our times.
Let us study them together in this book, which,
as an eye witness of the genesis and development
of the railway, though never at any time connected
with it, I have written and published independently,
as a humble contribution to our history as a British
Dominion. Like my preceding books, it is sent
out because generations arise which ought to know
with what hazard and struggle on the part of the pioneers the foundations of Canada were laid.
The name of the Canadian Pacific Railway
Company fixes in our minds the original objects of
the road. The Railway was particularly the outcome of a new national consciousness in Canada,
arising out of Confederation, and it was designed with
the special idea of knitting the older parts of Canada
in the East with the newer provinces and territories
which were growing up in the wide West, and which
would some day form an integral part of a Dominion
whose Western border would rest on the Pacific tide.
I Famous Forerunners
"Westward the star of empire takes its way"
is a saying which has found historical support in
the descent of the centuries from the immemorial
East, which is now a graveyard of ancient kingdoms.
And once the prows of exploring vessels struck
the Eastern shores of this new continent of America,
there were unresting souls that pressed onward
throughout the years till they reached the pillars
of  the sunset beside  the  alluring Western sea.
In those earlier years Spain was a great sea-going
nation and the West Coast map of the United
States is dotted all over with Spanish nomenclature.
This is found also to some degree on the long coastline of what is now British Columbia, though in
this latter region the British element was always
more pronounced owing to the British blood of the
early explorers, both by sea and land, and to the passionate patriotism of British-born men who were
in the employ of the great fur-trading organizations.
In this connection it is interesting to recall the
origin of the name British Columbia. The territory
now covered by the province consisted originally
of Vancouver Island and other islands and the mountain mainland, at one time known as New Caledonia.
It was good Queen Victoria who gave the name of
British Columbia to the great mainland area, and
this name was later extended to include Vancouver
Island when both were united in one colony in 1866.
The Queen wrote in 1858 to Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, statesman and novelist too, that the only
name she found on the map of the mainland com-
5 The Romance of the C.P.R.
mon to the whole area was Columbia, but as
there was a Columbia in South America and
as the United States people called their country
Columbia, at least in poetry, the Queen thought
that British Columbia would be the most suitable
name. And British Columbia it remains to this
day, proud to have been named by our noble Queen
and to have sprung from so illustrious an ancestry.
Later on, British Columbia, as we shall see, proved
magnetic enough to draw the steel of the great
railway across the continent to the Western Ocean.
On the general subject, it may be well to remind
our readers that a railway with its locomotive steam
engine is av comparatively modern arrangement for
travel, although trucks of various kinds were wheeled
on tracks in the coal mining regions of England two
centuries ago. But George Stephenson, a Tyneside
collier, with his primitive engine, the " Rocket, "began
as late as 1829 a revolution in modes of travel.
There lived in Manitoba, some years ago, an old
railroader, William Whitehead, Senior, who was said
to have taken a hand in making the "Rocket" go.
Stephenson's invention was not a flash in the pan,
or, to change the figure, it did not "go up like a
rocket and come down like a stick." It stayed,
and not only won the prize of £500 for a steam
engine that would actually run and draw, but it
became the fruitful progenitor of the moguls and
other colossal " fire-wagons " which rush to and
fro on a gridironed earth in our time. Of course,
Stephenson, like all other originators of new means
6 Famous Forerunners
of transport since the days of Noah, had to bear the
sneers and jocularities of the idle crowd. Some one
asked him what would happen if a cow got on the
track, just as Nehemiah's enemies suggested disaster to his wall if a fox ran upon it. But the grim old
man only replied that it "would be bad for the coo, "
and went on to perfect his engine. Hence came the
graceful iron horses which, wTith steaming breath, race
along the steel trails in all countries in our time.
Canada had not begun as a Confederation when
the first prophecy—an astonishing foretelling—of
the Canadian Pacific Railway was made by Joseph
Howe, in Halifax, in 1851. Canada was then simply
the old Central Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Down by the Atlantic, Prince Edward Island,
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were, in a sense,
isolated British possessions, which in many ways
were in closer touch with the United States on the
Atlantic than with the Canada of that day. Joseph
Howe had been to London and received assurances
that the Intercolonial Railway would be built to
link up the Atlantic Maritime areas with Quebec
and Ontario. But Joseph Howe, orator, poet and
statesman, saw beyond that limited plan, and in
his address in Halifax in 1851 outlined in his own
masterly way the future of British North America
and its immensely important possibilities. We quote
a passage ôf this remarkable address as follows:
"With such a territory as this to overrun, organize
and improve, think you that we shall stop at the
Western bounds of Canada?    Or even at the shores
7 The Romance of the C.P.R.
of the Pacific? Vancouver Island, with its vast
coal measures, lies beyond. The beautiful islands
of the Pacific and the growing commerce of the ocean
are beyond. Populous China and the rich East are
beyond; and the sails of our children's children
will reflect as familiarly the sunbeams of the South
as they now brave the angry tempests of the North.
The Maritime Provinces which I now address are
but the Atlantic frontage of this boundless and
prolific region. God has planted Nova Scotia in
the front of this boundless region—see that you
discharge, with energy and elevation of soul, the
duties which devolve upon you in virtue of your
position. Hitherto, my countrymen, you have dealt
with this subject in a becoming spirit, and, whatever
others may think or apprehend, I know that you
will persevere in that spirit until our objects are
attained, i" am neither a prophet nor the son of a
prophet, but I believe that many in this room will live
to hear the whistle of the steam engine in the passes of
the Rocky Mountains and to make the journey from
Halifax to the Pacific in five or six days." '
To some who heard this remarkable appeal and
forecast it may have sounded like the effort of a
rhetorician. In reality it was the deliberate and
well-grounded hope of a man who was a life-long
student of public affairs, who had all the passion
of a patriot and the fervor of a seer, and who desired
to see a great British North America in unified
devotion to the ideals of the British people. The
fact that Joseph Howe, in later years, differed from
others as to whether this Federation should be
brought about without a plebiscite of the people
8 Famous Forerunners
of Nova Scotia, does not in any way detract from
the extraordinary fact that in 1851 he prophesied
a transcontinental railway, which even in 1871
some prominent public men denounced as a mad
and impossible undertaking. One has to confess
that, even twenty years after Howe's prophecy,
the thing did look impossible; but not only has
the apparently impossible project of a railroad from
ocean to ocean been accomplished, but that transcontinental has become part of a world-encircling
transportation system which is a marvel of efficiency.
The Canadian Pacific Railway not only welded
together the scattered areas under the flag on the
North American Continent, but it has taken its
place as an organization of Imperial significance
and value in peace and war, as many events have
proven. How and by whom this modern wonderwork has been done it is our hope and purpose to
make known in some imperfect, but earnest, way
in  the  chapters  that  follow.
Though planned in the East, where statesmen
and financiers were facing the problems of the New
Dominion, it was in the wide West-land that the need
of this transcontinental railway was most manifest,
and it was in the West that the road first appeared.
Hence we must study enough of the history of the West
to see the stage set for the entry of the steel trail.
Or, to put this in another way, we should find how
the West had. developed so as to successfully challenge the attention of Eastern statesmen and effeo>- (T
The Romance of the C.P.R.
tively call for a large Federal expenditure, in order
that it might become linked up with the already
developed East for the welfare of the whole Domin-.
ion. With this in view we shall, in the next chapter,
meet those who, before the coming of the railway,
began to make for the West a place on the map of
The Approach to a Big Task
OALVAGED from a "Highland Clearance" in
^the North of Scotland, and brought out to the
Red River country in 1811, a colony of Scottish
crofters settling midway across British America
became the corner-stone of the stately edifice.now
known as Western Canada. These people were
brought out after a harsh landlordism had displaced
them from their tenant farms and replaced them by
sheep, as more remunerative occupants of the strath.
The plight of these evicted tenants, whose humble
homes were burned to bar their return, excited the
compassionate attention of that gentle, but heroic,
nobleman, Lord Selkirk, and he, obtaining a controlling interest in the Hudson's Bay Company,
brought them to the Red River and placed them on
land there. Lord Selkirk's name liveth for evermore,
not only because his friend, Sir Walter Scott, wrote
that he never knew a man more fitted for high-
souled undertakings, but because the colony he then
planted was destined to prove to the world that
the West was a land worth possessing as an illimitable area which would some day be the granary of
the Empire. Moreover, those early settlers laid
foundations for the future in religion and education.
They  builded  churches  and  they  erected  schools.
j r
The Romance of the C.P.R.
They were of that strong creed which believed
that without moral sanctions and intelligence no
country's business future could be secure. With
these elements in a community, prosperity will be
fostered and of such a country great hopes will
be entertained.—
"It dreads no sceptic's puny hands
While  near  the  school  the  church-spire  stands ;
Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule
While near the church-spire stands the school."
The steady progress of that old colony on the Red
River and the somewhat hectic development of
British Columbia, the latter not through colonization
so much as by gold rushes and trade exploitations,
were the leading factors in drawing the attention
of Eastern statesmen to the enormous possibilities
of the West. In consequence the Canada that was
formed by the four old provinces in the East felt
that the wide West-land must also be brought into
the Dominion that was to stretch from sea to sea.
As one born in that old Selkirk Colony, where
my father was one of the original settlers, I confess
to finding some amusement in the theories of later
arrivals as to the opening up of the West. Some,
for instance, allege that the Hudson's Bay Company
had kept the West closed against colonization and
gave out the impression that the country was not
fit for agriculture. In refutation of that charge
we have the fact that it was the Hudson's Bay
Company that founded the first colony and protec-
12 The Approach to a Big Task
ted it through all the difficult years till it demonstrated that the country was worth while. And
it was the Hudson's Bay men at posts all over the
vast North-west who cultivated plots around their
posts and sent to scientific schools evidences
of the country's fertility. It matters not that
Sir George Simpson, or some other individual man
of the old company, said that the prairie country
was exposed to dangers as to grain crops. In our
own day people in Eastern Canada said the same
thing and commiserated their friends who left
Ontario to settle in what they called " hyper-borean
regions." The real fact is that settlers would not
come into the country until some railway communication was assured, and no lesser force than that
of Confederation in Canada could undertake to
build a railway into the West. Until that was done
the country was closed by an isolation which could
not be remedied except as indicated above. Few
people would care to face the hardships and sufferings of the Selkirk colonists, who were nearly ten
years in the country before they got enough from
the soil to furnish subsistence. But they, as stated
already, endured till they demonstrated the value
of the country. And when the statesmen who
saw and understood, conceived the plan of the Canadian Pacific Railway to traverse and develop the
West I feel that a new glory was shed on the
work of the old pioneers. I am glad to remember
that my father, one of the last survivors of that early
colony,  lived  long enough  to see the iron  horses
13 The Romance of the C.P.R.
pass the Red River on the steel trail to the Pacific
across the plains where he had seen the buffalo
roaming, and on over the mountains where some
of his intimate friends, like Robert Campbell, of
the Yukon, had gone on their great explorations.
These early settlers had done their part, and rejoiced
to know that others were making real the things
of which they, in the pioneer days, had so daringly
A quite extraordinary linking up of events makes
it pOvSsible for us to say that, historically, the old
Red River colony was not only by its demonstration of the value of the West a procuring cause of
of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway,
but that the old colony was the means of bringing
into special prominence, and enthusiasm for the West,
the famous engineer, Sandford Fleming, who directed
all the preliminary surveys for this pioneer transcontinental road.
It happened on this wise. Fleming's interest
in the problem of transportation was known to
Mr. James Ross and Mr. William Coldwell, both
of whom I remember as publishers of the Nor-
Wester, the first paper in the Red River colony.
These newspapermen had large influence locally,
and got the colonists interested in making an application to the Imperial and Colonial Governments
for a roadway from the Eastern Provinces to the
Red River and on to the Rocky Mountains.
The idea was to have a through route on British
soil, and the plan was to begin with a wagon-road
14 The Approach to a Big Task
as the forerunner of a transcontinental railway.
Mr. Sandford Fleming, though at that time he
had not visited the Red River colony, had advocated the undertaking as far back as 1858, in a
lecture which he published. So it came that when,
in 1863, Mr. Fleming severed his connection with
railway building in Ontario, he was asked, on
behalf of the Red River colonists, to present and
support a memorial to the Canadian and Imperial
Governments praying them for the establishment of
communication between East and West. The memorial
was prepared by James Ross and William Coldwell,
and bears the mark of their literary skill as well as
their strong devotion to British interests. After
outlining the plan which the memorial desired to
see adopted, it goes on to indicate that such a road
with its commerce and traffic would fill "Central
British America with an industrious, loyal people.
Thus both politically and commercially the opening
up of this country, 'and the making of a national
highway through it, would immensely subserve
Imperial interests, and contribute to the stability
and the glorious prestige of the British Empire."
This memorial was adopted by the Red River
colonists at a mass meeting—a fact which suggests
that despite their isolation of half a century there
were men amongst them who had the vision of "a
grand confederation of loyal and flourishing provinces
skirting the United States' frontier and commanding at once the Atlantic and the Pacific." Verily,
the colonization plan of the high-souled Lord Sel-
15 .The Romance of the C.P.R.
kirk, which some men of his time called visionary
and Utopian, was justifying itself in these Red River
settlers, who not only laid a foundation of solid
moral worth in a new land and demonstrated its
great resources, but were also doing their part in
welding together the links of a far-flung Empire
under the British flag. This gives the noble founder
of the colony, as well as the colony itself, an
assured niche in the temple of our country's fame.
Mr. Fleming was very enthusiastic over this
memorial, and presented it to the Hon. John
Sanfield Macdonald, then Premier of the Canadian
Government. He accompanied it by a strong appeal
in writing to Mr. Macdonald, in which he visioned
the great importance of the road across the continent.
Immediately thereafter, Mr. Fleming, at the request
of the Red River people, proceeded to the Old
Country, where he presented the memorial to the
Duke of Newcastle, then Colonial Secretary. From
his visit to Canada three years before, with the Prince
of Wales, the Duke was familiar with the situation
and discussed it with Mr. Fleming with great
interest and freedom.
This visit to the Duke of Newcastle in 1863,
while not productive of immediate results, was,
according to the opinion of Mr. Lawrence J.
Burpee, who writes an excellent biography of Mr.
Fleming, the turning-point in Fleming's career.
It made him an Empire figure and intensified his
worthy ambition to aid in building and consolidating   into   one   vast   commonwealth   the   scattered The Approach to a Big Task
colonies under the British flag. Mr. Fleming's
later achievements in this regard are known to
history. They brought him the esteem of his
generation, the appreciation of his sovereign and the
well-won and worthily-borne honour of knighthood.
Mr. Fleming had barely returned to Toronto from
his visit to the Colonial Secretary in the interests
of a transcontinental roadway, when he was summoned by the Premier, John Sanfield Macdonald,
to come to Quebec, then the Canadian capital.
The result of that visit was that Mr. Fleming, with
the cordial support of all the governments concerned,
including the Imperial Government, represented
by the Duke of Newcastle, was placed in charge
of the surveys for the projected Intercolonial Railways in 1864. With his work on that important
undertaking, till its completion, we cannot deal
in this story. But we have traced the connection
from the old Red River colony in the West to Mr.
Fleming's visit abroad on its behalf—a visit that
led in large measure to his work on the Intercolonial,
which, in turn, led to his being appointed in 1871
to the gigantic position of engineer-in-chief of the
proposed transcontinental, the Canadian Pacific
Railway. All this was preliminary and was part
of Canada's approach to a colossal task. In the
next chapter we shall look more closely into the
inception of an enterprise which now belts the globe.
Giants in Action
IN AN early chapter of the most famous of all
ABooks, reference is made to the inhabitants of
the earth at a certain period, in the descriptive
statement, "There were giants in those days."
This is generally accepted as indicating the physical
stature and strength of those ancient men. But
there have been periods since that time concerning
which we could repeat the statement in the light
of their distinctive achievements, not necessarily
because of the physical prowess, but because of
the mental and moral energy of the men who wrought
great deeds.
Such days, it seems to me, have been found in
Canadian history in the period of the heroic men
and women who pioneered in all the provinces,
in the period when strong men grappled with the
problems of confederating the scattered colonies
of British North America into one Dominion, and
in that period when the young Dominion, with only
a few millions of people, undertook and accomplished,
with incredible speed, the gigantic task of binding
the provinces together by a band of steel. It is,
brtefly, with the confederation achievement, but,
much more extendedly, with the building of the
first transcontinental that our present writing deals.
18 Giants in Action
The battle of the pioneers was principally against
poverty and climatic conditions. The battle for
Confederation was intensified by political, racial
and even religious issues, though ultimately none
of these was much affected, as provision was
made for the autonomy of the Provinces in their
own affairs. The battle for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was first of all between
political gladiators who differed as to the practicability
and value of it. But when construction actually
began, the struggle was against rival interests, and
difficult financial conditions, as well as against
such terrific natural obstacles that the undertaking
was looked on by some as the very climax of engineering impossibility. Now that the smoke of battle
has cleared away and that both Confederation and
the Railway are running smoothly, we can look
back and see the giants who fought victoriously
to create the conditions we now enjoy. Some of tlftse
great men did not live to see the realization of their
dreams, but they died in the faith that their dreams
were so good that they would come true some time.
Like the gallant soldiers of all time, they fell, still
gripping the sword-hilt and cheering their comrades
on to victory. Let us be grateful enough to halt
for a moment with bowed heads and lay a wreath
of memory on their honoured graves. Peace hath her
victories no less renowned than war, and Canada
must   not   forget   her   heroes   in   either.
There were several causes operating, midway in
the last century, to lead the older Canada of Ontario
19 The Romance of the C.P.R.
and Quebec, and also the Maritime areas of New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island,
to consider the advisability of federating together
for the good of the whole. The commercial power
of the United States had such a magnetic pull upon
some of the provinces that the tie which held these
Provinces to Britain was being subjected to some
strain. Moreover, the Imperial Government noticed with some anxiety that political prejudices
and feeling between the various parts of the British
possessions made any concerted plan for military
action difficult to accomplish. Accordingly, as it
is now known and can now be told, Lord Monck,
who was the Governor-General in the "sixties,"
quietly used some pressure to keep Confederation
before the minds of public men in the various parts of
the country. Besides all that, there was very considerable difficulty in carrying on government in the
Canada of Ontario and Quebec, owing to racial
differences and double leadership, which meant
an almost constant danger of legislative deadlock.
Moreover, the British possessions from the St.
Lawrence to the Pacific were like a dumbell, big
at the ends and weak in the middle, as a Westerner
once said. There were the immense areas of older
Canada and the still more immense areas west of
Lake Superior—but the North Shore of that inland
sea was a wilderness of unproductive rock where
no link of settlement would seem possible. Hence,
as the aforesaid Westerner expressed it, "Canada
would break off in the middle unless we linked it
20 Giants in Action
up with the steel trail." There was much truth in
that statement in those early days and highly important truth it was. Many, in our day, cannot
realize how swiftly inter-travel and inter-trade over
the pioneer railway across Canada brought'the East
and the West together.
All these considerations, realized out of actually
existing or foreseen conditions, impelled the statesman of Canada in the 60's to take definite steps
towards confederating the old provinces and then
annexing the vast territories all the way to the
Pacific Coast. And here entered the giants. Thus,
for instance, in 1864 that great tribune of the people,
Mr. George Brown, of the Toronto Globe, reported
in favour of Confederation from a committee of the
Canadian Legislature. About the same time the
Legislatures in Nova Scotia, mainly through the
efforts of Dr. (later Sir Charles) Tupper; in New
Brunswick, through the influence of Mr. Samuel
L. Tilley; in Prince Edward Island, by the exertions
of the Hon. W. H. Pope, passed resolutions appointing delegates to a Conference in Charlottetown
for the purpose of discussing a uniting of the Maritime
Provinces. When that Conference met in Charlottetown a deputation from Ontario and Quebec
was received, consisting of unusually strong men,
namely, John A. Macdonald, George Brown, George
E. Carrier, A. T. Gait, T. D'Arcy McGee, Alexander Campbell and Hector L. Langevin. As a
result of the Charlottetown meeting larger horizons
loomed upon the vision of that remarkable gather-
21 The Romance of the C.P.R.
ing. The souls of the men who then assembled
yearned beyond the sky-line of their own immediate
surroundings and, thinking of the extent of British
Possessions in North America, they were inspired
and attracted by the greater task of confederating
them all into one great Dominion from sea to sea.
It was a tremendous task for that early day, but the
men who faced it were giants who could not rest
satisfied with being cabined and cribbed in a narrow
circumference, but who said:
"No pent-up Utica confines our powers
The vast, boundless continent is ours."
After some discussion, the Charlottetown Conference adjourned to meet as a larger gathering in
Quebec City on October 10th, 1864—a red-letter
day not only in the history of Canada, but of the
British Empire and the world. The object of the
Quebec Conference was as stated above; and therefore there were men there from all the then organized
British Provinces. These were men who could
have filled places in the "Mother of Parliaments"
at the world's metropolis, but who at the Quebec
meeting were engaged in the, perhaps, more difficult
undertaking of bringing into being, out of diverse elements, a new nation within the Empire. These men
were "The Fathers of Confederation," and the famous picture of that conference should be in every
Canadian home. Etienne P. Taché, who once said
that the last gun fired in North America for British
connection would be fired by a French-Canadian, was
22 Giants in Action
chairman. From Ontario and Quebec came John
A. Macdonald, George Brown, George E. Cartier,
A. T. Gait, William McDougall, Thomas D'Arcy
McGee, Oliver Mowat, Alexander Campbell, James
Cockburn, Hector L. Langevin, and Jean C. Chapais.
From Nova Scotia there were Charles Tupper, W. A.
Henry, Jonathan McCully, R. B. Dickey and A. G.
Archibald. From New Brunswick came Samuel L.
Tilley, John M. Johnston, Charles Fisher, Peter
Mitchell, E. B. Chandler, W. H. Steeves and John
H. Gray; Prince Edward Island was represented by
Colonel Gray, Edward Palmer, W. H. Pope, George
Coles, Edward Whelan, T. H. Haviland and A. A.
Macdonald. Newfoundland sent F. B. T. Carter
and Ambrose Shea, though it was not yet to come
into Confederation.
It is not our purpose, in the present writing, to
dwell on this great meeting beyond saying that it
led to the Confederation of Ontario, Quebec, Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick in 1867. Prince Edward
Island entered in 1873, Manitoba in 1870, and
British Columbia in 1871. The two latter entered
with somewhat reluctant feet; Manitoba, retarded by
Louis Riel's stand against the incoming of Canada
lest the rights of the natives should be ignored ; and
British Columbia, unready to come in unless the railway across the continent to the Pacific Coast was
guaranteed within a given time. These difficulties
were finally overcome, but the details do not belong to this story. Suffice it to say that Confederation  being accomplished, the new sense of national
23 The Romance of the C.P.R.
unity led to combination in the immense undertaking of a railway from sea to sea. The courageous facing of such an enormous task had no
precedent in the business history of the modern
world. The big Republic to the South of us
has done some amazing things, such as the Panama Canal in recent years, but even that commercially daring country only attempted a transcontinental railway when it had nearly forty millions
of people. Canada undertook the task when
her population was less than four millions. To
the onlooking world the attempt must have appeared like "a forlorn hope"—a sort of a "Charge
of the Light Brigade" against batteries bristling
with obstacles of a wholly unprecedented kind.
But there are always some men who are unafraid,
and the dream of seers was to be realized. Once
Confederation had been accomplished, a transcontinental railway became a national necessity.
This was true not only from the standpoint of
politics and trade, but from the standpoint also of
law and order in the far-flung country. It will
be remembered that Louis Riel started a revolt
against the incoming of Canadian authority in 1869,
and that he held high carnival in the West till Colonel
Garnet Wolseley and his soldiers reached Fort Garry
from the East, nearly a year after the Riel outbreak*
started. All this period was not consumed in travel;
but it had taken three months' steady travel overland, after mobilization in the East, before Wolseley reached the scene of Riel's revolt.    The whole
24 n
Giants in Action
Western country might have been swept by the
rebel chief's revolt in that time, and the necessity
of swifter communication between the different
parts of Canada became painfully apparent. And so,
when British Columbia came into Confederation
in 1871, there was an understanding that the railway from the East to the Pacific should begin in
two years and be finished in ten. This daring
pledge was given by Sir John A. Macdonald and his
Government at Ottawa, despite the fact that a
distinguished explorer and engineer,- Capt. Palliser,
sent out by the Imperial Government, had reported
after four years on the ground, that on account of
the mountains being impassable, a transcontinental
railway could not be built from sea to sea on British
territory. But Sir John Macdonald went ahead
and sought to interest some big business men who
might form a company to build the Canadian Pacific
to the Western sea.
At that time Sir Hugh Allan, head of the Allan line
of steamships, was probably the most able and prominent business man in Canada. He was not only
interested in steamships on the i\tlantic, but had
acquired railway interests as well. There is no doubt
that Sir Hugh Allan had been pressing upon men
in public life the project of a transcontinental railway, which he might lead in building, with the further
idea, no doubt, of having another line of steamers
on the Pacific. This was a worthy enough ambition
for a great Canadian. There is no reason to think
that Sir Hugh Allan was mercenary or avaricious,
25 The Romance of the C.P.R.
for he had no need of more wealth than he possessed.
In any case he, being of the same political party
as Sir John Macdonald, as well as a man of great
ability and financial power, was one of those in
line as a possibility for such a big task.
Accordingly Allan formed a company to build
the railway. So also did Mr. D. L. Macpherson
and a group of Toronto capitalists, who alleged that
Allan was in league with American interests in a
degree that would militate against the success of
the Canadian Pacific as a Canadian road. Sir
John Macdonald tried in vain to get these two projected companies to amalgamate. Finally it seemed
to be settled that a new company should be formed
of Canadians "and that Allan would have control. He
was spending money with a lavish hand and when
the Dominion election was held in 1872 he furnished
the large sum of $160,000 for campaign funds to
Macdonald, Carrier and Langevin. It is known that
Allan had always contributed to the campaign funds
of the party, as others did, but the fact that these
campaign funds in 1872 were contributed at a time
when a huge contract was pending, made the whole
transaction look dangerous. All campaign funds
are legally and morally wrong, and the fact that .
they were customary and that everybody knows
they are customary, does not make them right.
In this particular case, Carrier, who was then
mentally as well as physically broken down, and
who, contrary to Macdonald's advice, ran for an
impossible constituency, where he was defeated, seems
26 Giants in Action
to have made the largest demands on Allan. It
seems clear also that Carrier held out to Allan hopes
of the contract. But it is also clear that the other
leaders got certain sums which they used in the campaign. The Macdonald government was elected.
After the election a new company, called the Canadian Pacific, was formed, with representative men
from all the Provinces as directors. That new board
chose Allan as President, it is said, without any
pressure from the Government. This is not unlikely, as Allan was, as we have said, the biggest
business man in Canada at the time. To this
company the Government granted a charter to
build the Canadian Pacific, but American interests
were to be excluded as the Government insisted.
Allan agreed to this and repaid the money the Americans had advanced. The New York men, of course,
were annoyed at this and gave the opponents of
the Macdonald Government some hints as to those
campaign funds from Allan. Then Allan's personal
correspondence with American interests during the
election year was stolen by a clerk in the office of
Allan's solicitor, Mr. J. J. C. Abbott, and, being
made public, raised a tremendous political storm.
When the House of Commons met the atmosphere
was tense and electric. Only a few days elapsed
before Mr. L. S. Huntingdon, for the Opposition,
moved for the investigation of the charges that
were floating around in regard to these campaign
funds, the suggestion being that Sir Hugh Allan
got the railway contract in return for his monetary
27 The Romance of the C.P.R.
contributions. On an immediate vote the Government was sustained, but there was an uneasy feeling abroad and men of independent mould were
breaking away from party ties. Sir John Macdonald,
who saw the situation with his usual political sagacity, himself moved for the appointment of an
investigating commission, and the House adjourned
till that commission would be ready to report. When
the House met in October, 1873, the Hon. Alexander
Mackenzie, leader of the Opposition, moved a vote
of non-confidence and supported it by quoting from
the report of the commission. The debate in the
House was hot. Charles Tupper, the "war horse
of Cumberland"—a masterful debater, who later was
the tremendous drive wheel of the railway project—
supported the Government, but Huntingdon replied that the Government had kept itself in power
by the lavish use of money from men who were desiring contracts. Sir John A. Macdonald spoke for
nearly five hours in defence of his action, dealing
with the whole history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He made a special appeal for support in order
that East and West might be connected by rail and
the whole of Canada developed. Sir John, though
at no stage of his career a great orator, was possessed
of a magnetic manner and could coin phrases that
had indescribable force. Such, for instance, was
the expression he used once at a great mass meeting in
Toronto, when he said dramatically, "A British
subject F was born—a British subject I will die. " On
this occasion, in 1873, in the House, when he made.
28 Il
Giants in Action
explanation of his policy in regard to the railway
contract, he closed his five hours' address in the
words: "But, Sir, I commit myself, the Government commits itself, to the hands of this House;
and far beyond this House, it commits itself to the
country at large. We have faithfully done our
duty. We have fought the battle of Confederation.
We have fought the battle of unity. We have had
party strife, setting Province against Province.
And more than all, we have had, in the greatest
Province, every prejudice and sectional feeling that
could be arrayed against us. I throw myself on
this House; I throw myself on this country; I throw
myself on posterity, and I believe that, notwithstanding the many failings of my life, I shall have
the voice of this country rallying around me. And,
Sir, if I am mistaken in that, I can confidently appeal
to a higher court—to the court of my own conscience,
and to the court of posterity. I leave it to this
House with the utmost confidence. I am equal to
either fortune. I can see past the decision of this
House, either for or against me, but, whether it be
for or against me, I know, and it is no vain boast of
me to say so, for even my enemies will admit that
I am no boaster—that there does not exist in Canada
a man who has given more of his time, more of his
heart, more of his wealth, or more of his intellect
and power, such as they may be, for the good of
this Dominion of Canada."
This speech was listened to by a*full house and
crowded galleries, amongst those present being Lord
29 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Rosebery, then on a visit to Canada. Sir John
closed his speech about two o'clock in the morning,
and the Hon. Edward Blake rose to reply. Blake was
probably the ablest and most massively intellectual
man that Canada has produced. He lacked the
magnetism of Sir John, but had the power, almost
to a fault, of dealing with a subject in such detail
that when he was through with it there was
little left to be said. Mr. Blake was at that time
quite sceptical as to the practicability of a transcontinental railway, anyway; but that night in the
House of Commons he concentrated his tremendous argumentative oratory against the Government for having, as he alleged, won the election with
campaign   funds   from   interested   parties.
There was doubt as to the result in the House till
some of the independent members who might ordinarily have supported the Government began to
indicate otherwise. Curiously enough, Mr. Donald
A. Smith (afterwards Lord Strathcona), the man
who, later on, drove the last spike in the Canadian
Pacific Railway, under the Premiership of this same
Sir John Macdonald, in 1885, was the member who
really dealt the Government its knockout blow in 1873
in the House of Commons. No one knew what, the
course of Mr. Smith, who was never a party man,
would be, and when he rose to speak every one listened
with strained attention. His opening words seemed to
favour the Government, but he was simply absolving
Sir John Macdonald from personal blame. Here
is the report of what Mr. Smith said:  "With respect
30 Giants in Action
to the transaction between the Government and
Sir Hugh Allan, I do not consider that the First
Minister took the money with any corrupt motive.
I feel that the leader of the Government is incapable
of taking money from Sir Hugh Allan for corrupt
purposes. I would be most willing to vote confidence
in the Government (loud cheers from the Government side), if I could do so conscientiously (loud
cheers from the Opposition). It is with very great
regret that I cannot do so. For the honour of the
country, no Government should exist that has a
shadow of suspicion resting on them, and for
that reason I could not support them." (Renewed
Opposition cheers.) In the afternoon of that day,
November 5th, 1873, Sir John A. Macdonald informed the House that he had placed his resignation
in the hands of the Governor-General and that the
Hon. Alexander Mackenzie was called upon to form
a new administration.
Sir John Macdonald had resigned without waiting for a vote of the House and no one to this day
knows just how it would have divided. But
the feeling in the country was hot and, like a wise
man, he bowed to the inevitable. He said that
some day the people would understand and call him
back to power. The fact that they did call him
back five years later astounded his political foes,
one of whom had said in the House, during the
debate, that Sir John "had fallen like Lucifer, never
to rise again." But he did rise, to the surprise of
•many.    The fact that he came back later on was
31 The Romance of the C.P.R.
due, in some degree, to his personal magnetism.
But it was also due to the fact that people knew
that Sir John had not profited in any personal way
and that he and Sir Hugh Allan had become almost
obsessed with the idea that the continuance of Sir
John in office at that time was absolutely necessary to
the opening up and development of Canada.
They acted accordingly, as if the end they had in
view justified the methods they adopted. Moreover,
it was shown that Sir John had definitely told Allan
that he would not give the railway contract to him,
but to an amalgamation of the two companies. Allan
said in connection with the whole matter: "The
plans I propose are the best for the interests of the
Dominion and in urging them I am doing a patriotic
action. "
In the meantime, when Sir John resigned, Mackenzie took office and, in a general election shortly
afterwards, swept the country. Sir Hugh Allan,
unable to raise capital in the presence of the political
earthquake and the business depression, threw up
the charter for building the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a new programme had to be adopted.
For the time being the curtain had to be rung down
on the gigantic project.
The Chariot Wheels Drag
THE NAME of Alexander Mackenzie, the stonemason, who succeeded Sir John Macdonald as
Premier of Canada in 1873, deserves to be uttered
with profound respect. By the most intense application to work and the most diligent use of his
opportunities in the right way, he rose steadily,
not only in circumstances, but in the esteem of his
' fellow-countrymen, till he attained the highest
office in the gift of the Canadian people. Born in
the Highlands of Scotland, he came out to Canada
as a young stonecutter. He returned some thirty
years later to the romantic scenes of his childhood
as the Premier of the Dominion, a credit alike to
the land of his birth and the land of his adoption.
Once, in my student days, I met him in Winnipeg.
He had made the trip to the far West, but was in
poor health—a rather pathetic figure, I thought,
whose unflinching resistance of down-grade influences
had made his public life harder than stonecutting.
But while we thus pay him personal tribute, we
find that, whether as a result of the dissolution of
the Allan Company, or pressure of lean years, or
the lack of enthusiasm amongst his following in
the House, Mackenzie, despite his good intentions,
made little progress with the building of the Canadian
33 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Pacific Railway during his five years in office.
It was not easy for Mackenzie and his supporters,
after attacking the general extravagance of Sir John
Macdonald's plan for a transcontinental, to accommodate themselves to carrying out the scheme
of a railway from ocean to ocean. Edward Blake,
Mackenzie's great lieutenant, had openly said
more than once that the rounding out of Confederation by pledging a railway to British Columbia
within a fixed term was too costly. The population of the West Coast Province was only some ten
thousand or so of white people, he said, and this
country was "a sea of mountains. " One of the chief
newspapers of Mr. Mackenzie's party said that the
Canadian Pacific "would not pay for axle grease"
over certain sections. Mr. Blake, it is true, in 1891
visited the West Coast over the completed railway,
and made a brilliantly humorous and eloquent apology for his mistaken conception of the country.
But that was too late to help Mackenzie with his
problem, and the fact that Mr. Blake and some
others of his party actually voted in the House
against Mackenzie's proposal regarding the Es-
quimault railway on Vancouver Island, did not help
the heavily burdened Premier. But one must
allow that it is much easier to be optimistic about
British Columbia now than it was at that time.
Very few people then dreamed of the development that
could and would take place in the Province which
Mr. Blake, speaking for thousands in the East,
called "a sea of mountains."    It looked like that in
34 The Chariot Wheels Drag
those days before the world knew that British Columbia had not only,mines and forests and fish, but
that vast areas would be opened up along the rivers
and in the mountain valleys which would prove
immensely adapted to agriculture, fruit-growing and
dairying. Therefore let us be kind to the men who
were sceptical about the whole railway undertaking. We are quoting their scepticism here only
to show the problem that Premier Mackenzie had
to face when he came into power in 1873. Under
all the circumstances he did the best he could at
the time—that is, the best that could be done by
any man who lacked the full-hearted support of
some of his own friends, and who felt that to meet the
demands of the naturally impatient and almost
resentful British Columbia was practically impossible in the lean years that seemed imminent and
beyond his power to control.
But Mackenzie began on the problem and we
find him, in 1874, in an election address to his own
constituents in Lambton, Ontario, unfolding his
plan. Briefly, the transportation system was to be
a sort of amphibious animal. Mackenzie, realizing that traffic by water is the cheapest type of transportation, thought he saw a possibility of securing
a transcontinental, without undue cost, by utilizing "the magnificent water stretches" across
Canada, linking them together by rail as funds would
be available. In this way he claimed that railway
construction • would be gradual enough to avoid
excessive financial expenditure, and that the country
35 The Romance of the C.P.R.
would be gradually settled. Settlement would keep
abreast with railway construction and thus the possibility of having the railway going ahead of the
settlement across an uninhabited, and therefore unproductive, country would be eliminated.
Mr. Mackenzie was perfectly sincere in this, as
he was in everything. The plan was not without
merit under the circumstances, but it had defects
which arose out of a lack of knowledge of the Western country generally, and particularly of the attitude of the people of British Columbia. It also
ignored the strange, but characteristic, impulses of
human nature in regard to migration. Every now
and then in history some section of humanity strikes
its tents and goes on the march, railway or no railway. Especially does the Star of the Empire draw
people westward. Before there was a railway in
the West at all, many of my own kith and kin loaded
their few belongings on ox-carts and took their way
five hundred miles north-westward to Prince Albert,
on the North Saskachewan. And so also will some
people go on in advance of the railway, despite all
advice to the contrary. For years I heard it said
by some that had the Canadian Pacific not been
built so rapidly, settlement would have been more
compact along the line. But this theory is contradicted by the actual fact, as we saw it, that when
the trains were only running to Brandon, west of
Winnipeg, settlers were leaving the train there and
trekking on westward with prairie schooners. Great
numbers may not thus go forward in any particular
36 The Chariot Wheels Drag
case, but since a country grows by the enterprise of
the adventurous, it becomes the duty of such a
country to follow with utilities, the people who thus
widen the horizon of the land.
Moreover, Mackenzie's well-intentioned policy
of using the water stretches would have made transportation too slow and too expensive for shippers,
owing to the constant need for transfers, with necessary delays and damages. And, most important of
all, that policy indicated too tardy a construction
of the transcontinental to satisfy British Columbia,
which had entered confederation on the distinct
understanding that a railway would be built to the
Pacific within reasonable time.
Mackenzie made an effort, by sending Mr. J. D.
Edgar to British Columbia, to secure a modification
in the terms of Confederation in regard to railway
construction. This mission was resented in British
Columbia, and Mr. Edgar was recalled. The people
of British Columbia looked on the attempt to change
the Confederation terms as a breach of faith on the
part of Canada, and said so in their usual straight-
flung words. Both parties put the case before Lord
Carnarvon, who offered to arbitrate. His award
was on the whole rather favourable to Mackenzie's
effort for modification, and was accepted in the meantime as the best obtainable. British Columbia,
feeling that even the modified terms would not be
carried out, began to discuss withdrawing from
Confederation, and motions to that effect were
actually submitted in the Legislature.
37 /fi
The Romance of the C.P.R.
Things were not looking well, and that master
diplomat, Lord Dufferin, then Governor-General
of Canada, resolved to visit the West Coast, accompanied by his gracious lady; They crossed via
Chicago and San Francisco by rail, thence by H.M.S.
Amethyst to Vancouver Island. They were warmly
welcomed to Victoria, but were given, from the beginning, to understand that British Columbia wanted
the railway and wanted it without delay. At one
point they saw a horse blanketed, and upon the
blanket were the words  "Good,  but not iron."
In Victoria arches were numerous. One arch
had an inscription, "Our railway iron rusts," and
another very conspicuous one had the menacing
message "Carnarvon terms or separation."
Lord Dufferin knew his relation to the Crown and
to the Government of the day too well to allow his
courtesy to run away with his conception of duty as
Governor-General of Canada, and so he declined to
drive under the arch which had upon it the threat of
secession. So he ordered the carriage to detour until
that arch was passed. Afterwards Lady Dufferin
said, "The Governor-General would have driven
under the arch if one letter had been changed so
as to have the inscription read ' The Carnarvon Terms
or Reparation."1 The incident caused some exite-
ment, but Lord Dufferin knew his constitutional
law too well to be moved. On the whole the visit
of this brilliant diplomat and magnetic orator made
a great impression for good. His speech at the close
of the tour of the Coast was a noble eulogy of the
38 The Chariot Wheels Drag
wonderful beauty and potential wealth of British
Columbia. While not becoming a partisan advocate
for the Dominion Government, Lord Dufferin expressed his view that Mr. Mackenzie had done his
best under all the circumstances, and would continue
so to do while he was in power. The speech of the
eloquent and tactful Governor-General had a pro-,
nounced effect in allaying the indignation of the
people against the Government of the day. They
settled down to wait development with as good grace
as possible.
However, after waiting two years more without
seeing any railway construction begun on either
the mainland of British Columbia or Vancouver
Island, Premier George A. Walkem, in the Legislature at Victoria, moved the famous resolution to
the effect that unless the Dominion started railway
construction by May of 1879, the Province of British
Columbia should withdraw from the Confederation
and even ask damages from Canada for delay in
carrying out] their railway promises to the Province. This extraordinary motion was carried by
fourteen to nine, with the probable intention of
waking up both the Imperial and Canadian Governments to the discontent on the Western Coast. The
resolution reached Ottawa in October, 1878, just
after the Mackenzie Government had been defeated,
and owing to the confusion caused by the change it
was put into some pigeonhole for a rest, and did
not reach London till March, 1879. By that time
Sir John A. Macdonald, who had come back to power
39 "T
The Romance of the C.P.R.
with his aggressive and indomitable Railway Minister, Sir Charles Tupper, was getting down to a new
programme of railway building, and British Columbia, in consequence, was becoming more contented and hopeful. So no one asked any questions
when the famous secession resolution of the British
Columbia legislature found oblivion in the files of
Downing Street.
All this does not mean that Mr. Mackenzie was
inactive in the matter of the transcontinental railway. Considering the facts we have mentioned
already, namely, that many of his chief supporters
were lukewarm in regard to the whole project, which
they considered premature, and the further fact
that there was a cycle of lean years, he strove to get
things moving, but the chariot wheels dragged.
There was no popular enthusiasm over the undertaking, because the times were hard and there was
general failure on the part of the people to get a
vision of the illimitable possibilities that lay to westward. But some progress was made. Extensive
surveys were carried forward. And several contracts
were let for the easier portions of the route. The
hard places, like the North Shore of Lake Superior,
and the mountains in British Columbia, were not
attempted. Lord and Lady Dufferin, at Emerson,
Manitoba, in 1877, drove the first two spikes in the
portion which started at the international boundary-
line, where the railways linked up with an American
line. This was later called the Emerson Branch, and
ran from the boundary east of the Red River through
40 The Chariot Wheels Drag
St. Boniface, across from Winnipeg, to East Selkirk.
From Selkirk a portion of the railway to Thunder
Bay, on Lake Superior, was begun. It was the plan
of the Mackenzie Government to cross the Red
River at Selkirk, and strike westward over the
prairies, side-tracking Winnipeg, which was then becoming a considerable centre of population. I
recall a locomotive round-house at East Selkirk
built in Mackenzie's time, but later abandoned
when the line was changed to run through Winnipeg.
Budding political orators made merry over this
round-house, as being the only assurance they had
that a road which would require the stabling of iron
horses at a divisional point would some day be constructed.
The slow progress of transcontinental railway
building afforded ammunition to the opponents of
the Mackenzie Government in the House of Commons. And there is no record of an Opposition ever
allowing an opportunity to oppose to go by unused.
In one year we find that redoubtable fighter, Dr.
(later Sir) Charles Tupper, moving a long resolution
urging the Government "to employ the available
funds of the Dominion to complete the road."
This was voted down. Next year that unique,
somewhat peculiar, but quite brilliantly versatile
publicist, Mr. Amor de Cosmos, of British Columbia,
moved a vote of censure on the Government for the
slowness of their building of the road to the Coast.
This resolution did not get far in the House. The
Coast was so far away that the project of building
41 The Romance of the C.P.R.
all the way to the Pacific gave even the Opposition
a chill when it came squarely before them. • Hon.
George W. Ross, a Mackenzie supporter, moved that
only such progress should be attempted as would
"not increase the existing rates of taxation," which
manifestly would mean not much progress. Dr.
Tupper came back to the attack in April, 1877, with a
motion of censure, but this was negatived also.
During all this time that astute statesman, Sir John
A. Macdonald, was studying the political horoscope,
and all of a sudden, in 1878, he propounded a policy of
protection and railway construction which caught the
popular imagination and he was swept into power
again. There was a swift revival of optimism, because there was a revival of trade, and the wave
carried the Canadian Pacific Railway enterprise on
its crest to new heights of success.
Getting up Speed
\V 7HEÏHER a protective tariff brings real or
* * fictitious prosperity, and whether it enriches
the few or the many, are questions which are fortunately outside the scope of this book. But, anyway,
the fact, historically, is that with the advent of Sir
John Macdonald and his National Policy of protection in 1878 there came quite a pronounced outburst
of new faith in the future possibilities of Canada.
There were, no doubt, other subsidiary causes, and
some even hold that lean and fat years come in cycles.
But, in any case, there was a decided restoration of
public confidence in all legitimate business enterprises, and, what was still more important, there came
a distinctive national sentiment and pride which
made the vast project of the Canadian Pacific Rail- ,
way from ocean to ocean a distinct possibility.
Portions of the railway had already been under
construction by the Mackenzie Government, as we
have seen. These portions were mainly east of
the Red River, but surveys had been carried on with
far-reaching results in the mountain region of British Columbia. These surveys were under the general direction of Mr. Marcus Smith, an engineer of
remarkable experience and ability. He had done
work in the British Isles and Spain before coming
43 The Romance of the C.P.R.
to this side of the ocean, where he was on service in
South America, as well as on the Grand Trunk and
the Intercolonial in the older parts of what is now
Eastern Canada. The other day, through the kindness of Mr. Newton Ker, Townsite Agent and Assistant Executive Agent for the Company at Vancouver,
I had the privilege of "reading a scrap book kept by
Mr. Marcus Smith over many years, and willed by
him to Mr. Ker. This book indicates that Mr.
Smith had a very wide interest in social, civil and
political life, as well as in his own special vocation
of engineering. The man who gathered that collection
of articles together had a big outlook on things, and
would regard his work in the mountains as of national
The remarkable explorations of Mr. Walter Mob-
erly, who later discovered the Eagle's Pass by watching the flight of eagles evidently following a fish-
stream, had produced good results, and his experience
in connection with the building of the famous Yale-
Cariboo wagon road made his later services specially valuable. Mr. Henry J. Cambie, and Mr.
Thomas H. White, his personal assistant and associate in solving the engineering problems through
the Fraser River canyons, are still, happily, living
in Vancouver, highly regarded as citizens who did
their share of nation building. Other noted
engineers of that period in British Columbia were
H. T. Jennings, H. P. Bell, Henry MacLeod, C. E.
Perry, G. A. Keefer, Joseph Hunter, L. B. Hamlin,
W. F. Gouin, C. F. Harrington, E. W. Jarvis, John
44 Getting up Speed.
Trutch, C. Horetzky, C. H. Gamsby and, later on,
Major Rogers, after whom Rogers' Pass was named,
although Moberly always contended that the pass
had been discovered by Albert Perry, one of his assistants in a survey in 1866. Of course there were
many others, but these are representative of the
famous body of men who made their way along the
dangerous rivers, through the tangled forests, by
precipitous cliffs and across terrific canyons, until
they finally found safe location for the steel trail
through a region that many had pronounced to be impenetrable—a sort of supernatural barrier interposed
between the prairies and the Western sea. Most
ôf these men have, as already intimated, passed over
the Great Divide into the Unseen; but, at great cost
to themselves in hardship and suffering and privation, they made it possible for the people of to-day to
travel in rolling palaces where once they themselves
trod with aching and weary feet. Let us highly
honour the memory of the engineers and surveyors
and their men, who were the forerunners of the
mighty engines which now thunder through the
echoing mountain passes, along which these heroes
of the transit and the chain, long years ago, pursued
their  painful   and   precarious  way.
The Macdonald Government came back into
power in 1878, as we have seen, on the wave of the
National Policy movement. But, for two years,
they worked on the lines of their predecessors and
linked up some of the disconnected portions of the
road which Mr. Mackenzie had constructed in various
45 Iff
The Romance of the C.P.R.
localities, mainly between the Lakes and the Red
River. Then Sir Charles Tupper, that militant
and aggressive Minister of Railways, took the bold
plunge and let to Andrew Onderdonk, a young American railroader of San Francisco, contracts to build
portions of the Canadian Pacific through "the sea
of mountains" in British Columbia. Canada was
young at the railway business, as indicated by the
fact that it was an American who got the contract
to build the first parts of the mountain road. Later
on, as the construction of the road from ocean to
ocean began to get under way, Canadians developed
by the score into great practical railway builders.
Young men who had begun by chopping in the bush
grew into contractors for getting out ties for the tracklayers, and finally themselves took contracts for
actual building of the railway over rock and boulders, through mountain vastnesses and quaking bogs
until the steel reached tide water. It was in
itself an act of splendid audacity for a people of less
than four millions in number to start on the task of
throwing a railway across an immense and almost uninhabited continent to the shores of the Western sea.
And this daring on the part of the young Dominion
was backed gallantly and effectively by scores of
native-born Canadians who, with genuine Canadian
initiative, learned a new trade and followed it with
tremendous energy and skill.
It has been my good fortune and privilege to meet
many of these men. Some of them made money
and some of them did not.    The task of calculating
46 Getting up Speed
the cost of a piece of work over a given stretch of
country, where unexpected obstacles emerged, was
not easy. There were stretches on the North Shore
of Lake Superior where the old Laurentian rocks
had to be blasted to pieces at a cost of half-a-million
a mile. There is a well-known muskeg east of Winnipeg where seven tracks went under, till a solid
foundation was secured in what looked for a while
like a bottomless pit. And there were tunnels and
bridges and cuttings in the mountains which challenged the resources of a race of Titans. So, we
say, these contractors did not, by any means, always
make money. But my knowledge of them leads me
to say that very few of the contractors or engineers
cared for the money end of it in any case. They felt
that they were engaged in a work of significance, not
only to Canada and the Empire, but to the world,
and that was an inspiration worth while. I recall
being told by the secretary to one of the most famous
of these railway builders that, so intent was this
railway man on his work, that he very often forgot to
have money enough in his pocket for personal necessities. In one sense he handled millions; but, only
for the precaution of his secretary who knew his
ways, this railway magnate would often have been personally stranded. "He thought so little of money,"
said the secretary, "that he hardly ever carried any
with him. But he was generous withal. The real
fact was he was so engrossed in the great enterprise
of helping to build a road across Canada that he
forgot his own personal needs,"
47 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Going back to Mr. Andrew Onderdonk, it is interesting to recall his influence on the social life of
British Columbia by his importation of a few thousand Chinese coolies to work on railway construction.
Mr. Onderdonk claimed that he was unable to get
enough white men who were willing to do that particular kind of work. Be that as it may, the present
fact is that we have a very large Chinese population
in this Province which faces the Orient. It is equally
sure that the presence of so many Orientals causes
many serious problems. It is fashionable for some
people who do not know the history to lay the responsibility for the presence of Chinese here on the
Canadian Pacific Railway Company. But the fact
is that it was Mr. Onderdonk who imported these
Oriental coolies while the road was still under Government supervision, two or more years before the
Canadian Pacific Railway Company was formed. It is
only fair always to apportion praise or blame justly, so
that every one shall bear his own burden of responsibility without having to carry more than his share.
Hence the company, be it known, was not the originator of the importation of Chinese coolies for the
construction of the road. On this subject we are
not now moralizing either way, but are simply
making a statement of historical fact.
In any case, Mr Onderdonk knew the business of
railway construction and kept steadily on, taking over
some portions from other contractors, till he had the
steel laid from Port Moody to Kamloops, and made
a creditable record for railway building across an
48 Getting up Speed
exceedingly difficult section of Canada. In fact,
Sir Charles Tupper, the militant Minister of Railways, said quite openly that, though the construction of a piece of the road on the Pacific Coast would
not mean much till it was linked up with the Eastern
part of Canada, he wanted to get the mountain
section under construction without delay for certain reasons. One was that the construction of that
exceedingly difficult section, if successfully accomplished, would show the possibility of the whole task
of the transcontinental being completed in due time.
The other, of course, was that the people of British
Columbia, fortunately for them, had several ably-
insistent and politely-vociferous leaders who would
give no rest to any Government till the work of railway construction had actually begun on the Coast.
There were some prominent men elsewhere who did
not look at things in the same light. An Opposition in Parliament opposes the party in power as a
sort of a constitutional principle, nominally at least,
for the safety of the country, which otherwise might
have unwise legislation imposed on it. But even
apart from that, we need not now look with undue
criticism on the record of men like the Hon. Edward
Blake, a statesman of great ability and integrity
who, when Onderdonk was going ahead with his
contracts in the mountains, moved in the House of
Commons in 1880 that "the public interests require
that the work of constructing the Pacific Railway in British Columbia be postponed." Others
of his party took the same stand, and it must be ad-
49 The Romance of the C.P.R.
mitted that, apart from the prerogative of an Opposition above indicated, the whole project seemed vast
enough to appal men who did not personally know the
West well enough to visualize its illimitable future.
The gigantic undertaking, as already mentioned,
looked well nigh quixotic for less than four millions of
people, and the fact that there were, in the years
following, times when the whole effort seemed on
the verge of disaster, ought to restrain our wholesale condemnation of early sceptics. Incidentally, it
ought to bring us to the salute when we think of the
railway builders who fought their amazing difficulties and, by fighting, gathered strength to win out in
the end.
Andrew Onderdonk in the mountains and other
contractors between Lake Superior and the Red
River were doing good work, but their detached
pieces of road ended in the air. And Sir John A.
Macdonald was quick to see that something more
had to be done. Accordingly, at a Cabinet meeting
at the close of the first session after his return to
power, Sir John brought up the question of building
railways in the North-West in order to attract immigrants. Sir Charles Tupper, who, being at the head
of the Department of Railways, had made special
study of the situation, agreed with Sir John that
something should be done at once and neither one
of them was in love with the idea of Government
ownership and operation of railways. Sir Charles
thought the policy of a transcontinental should
50 Getting up Speed
be again emphasized, and that a responsible company should be secured to build it. Sir John said
that was always his idea; but it was a "large order, "
and they had better take a week to think it over. On
the appointed day Sir Charles submitted a carefully
prepared report in favour of a through line, built,
owned and operated by a chartered company.
Putting it in brief form, the suggestion was that the
Government should complete and hand over to
such a company the parts of the railway then built
or under construction, estimated at about seven
hundred miles, which, when finished, would have
cost about thirty-two millions of dollars. The portions of the road then built, or being built, were the
lines from Port Arthur to Winnipeg, from Kamloops
to Port Moody, and the Emerson Branch on the
east side of the Red River, from the boundary-line
to St. Boniface and Winnipeg. In addition to getting possession of these portions, the company would
receive a cash grant of twenty-five millions of dollars,
and fifty (later reduced to twenty-five) million acres of
land along the railway.
The suggestion was heartily agreed to by Sir
John, and the Cabinet was unanimously in favour
of the plan proposed. The Cabinet adjourned
immediately after the decision was made. The members thereof had good reason to call it a day.
The Rubicon had been crossed and the country
was on the march to a new destiny. There were to
be many obstacles encountered before the objective
51 The Romance of the C.P.R.
would be reached. It was a mighty venture of
faith, but men of thought and men of action would
clear the way.
Meanwhile the contractors on the portions under
construction carried on, but the Government was
looking eagedy to the financial magnates of the Old
Land to form a company to carry out its policy.
Yet, despite a visit of Sir John, Sir Charles and the
Hon. John Henry Pope to London, there was no
rush on the part of British financiers to build a railway across a vast, thinly populated continent. And
when it looked as if there was going to be a disappointing set-back, there arose a small group of
men on our own continent who were destined to
lead in making the projected transcontinental
what Lord Shaughnessy, a few hours before his death,
called so finely, in a conversation with President
Beatty, "a great Canadian property and a great
Canadian enterprise." We shall, in the next chapter,
meet the men who came to the rescue. CHAPTER  VI
A Great Adventure
" DLAYING SAFE" is a better programme than
* reckless foolhardiness, but it is a poor programme as compared with the spirit of adventure.
Without adventure, based upon faith, humanity's
horizon would never have widened out and new
continents and new avenues for the expenditure of
human energy in great enterprises for the good of
mankind would never have been discovered. Satisfaction with present attainment means stagnation,
and it is better to reach out after the apparently unattainable than to allow our God-given energies to suffer
atrophy through disuse.
In our present study of the building of a great railway across Canada, traversing vast unpeopled
plains, and boring its way through what some had
declared to be impassable mountain barriers, it is
a very interesting thing to find the enterprise somewhat closely linked up with a certain other organization that had been chartered in 1670, under the
title of "The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay."
The big word in that title is the word "adventurers,"
and it applies both to the men who hazarded their capital and to the men who fared forth from the Old Country into the unknown spaces of the new continent
53 The Romance of the C.P.R.
on this side of the sea. This Hudson's Bay Company
not only attracted attention to the new world that
had still to be conquered, but its able and resourceful employees in the North-West became distinct
elements in the progress of the country.
In this particular connection one Donald Alexander Smith (later Lord Strathcona) who had come
out from Scotland as a lad to Labrador, in the service of the Company, had risen to be head of that
Company in Canada at the time of Confederation,
and was a member of the House of Commons for
Winnipeg when the project of a transcontinental
railway loomed up as an actual possibility. Mr.
Smith was a restlessly ambitious man, or he would
not have so risen, and there is no doubt in my mind
(and I knew him in his later years) that when the
discussion arose he began to cherish the hope of
being an instrument in linking up the East and West
in some way by the much-discussed railway.
Since writing this I came across a letter, dated
November, 1872, at Stuart Lake, B.C., from the
Hudson's Bay Company factor then in charge there
to the officer in charge at another post. This letter
not only shows that the Hudson's Bay Company,
instead of retarding the opening up of the country
by rail, as some have affirmed, was actively assisting and making possible the work of explorers and
surveyors who were beginning to blaze the way for
the road. And it also shows that Mr. Donald A.
Smith was, even that far back, on his own behalf and
on behalf of the ancient fur-trading organization,
54 A Great Adventure
contributing his quota in that direction. Here is
an extract in the letter from one Hudson's Bay man
to another: "The bearer is a botanist belonging to
the railway survey who arrived here in company
with an engineer, and who is the bearer of a letter
from Mr. Donald A. Smith to us men in the service
to assist the surveyors as far as possible. He also
showed me a letter from Mr. Sandford Fleming,
authorizing the engineer who goes down the Skeena
to sign any bill of expenses he may have with the
Hudson's Bay Company and it will be good. I
have told him that you would forward him to Victoria and push him through as quickly as possible.
The engineer's name is something like Horetzkie. "
The writer of that letter had caught the name of the
engineer all right. And it shows not only how these
Hudson's Bay posts made the work of these and
other explorers possible, but in this particular case
it links the name of Donald A. Smith with the new
day that was dawning.
I do not think that Mr. Smith was by any means
the ablest of the men who later formed the Canadian
Pacific Railway Company Board. But he was unquestionably the pivot on which the project turned,
from its doubtful success as a Government undertaking to its becoming an accomplished fact as a
privately owned and operated concern.
And it happened on this wise. Mr. Smith had to
travel frequently between West and East, through
St. Paul, Minnesota, on his way from Fort Garry to
Ottawa  and Montreal, in connection with parlia-
55 The Romance of the C.P.R.
mentary and Company business. In St. Paul he
usually called on Mr. Norman W. Kitson, a Canadian,
formerly a Hudson's Bay factor, and met along with
him another Canadian, James J. Hill, who was then
in the coal business. Kitson and Hill were both interested in transportation to the Red River country,
and were anxious to get a hold of a three-hundred-
mile railway called the St. Paul and Pacific, running
from St. Paul to the Red River, and later to westward, if it could be kept going. This road had fallen
into misfortune because grasshopper plagues and
Indian troubles and massacres had depopulated the
territory through which it ran. So the Dutch bondholders had thrown it into the hands of the receiver,
and the bonds were not saleable in the ordinary way.
Hill and Kitson, who knew more about the country
than the Dutch bondholders, felt that the road
could be built up into a really valuable concern,
and Smith thought the same. But they lacked the
capital to acquire it.
Mr. Smith, on arrival in Montreal, told all this to
his cousin, Mr. George Stephen, another Scot, who
had prospered well in business and was President of
the Bank of Montreal. Stephen (later Lord Mount
Stephen) was a man of unusual strength and vision.
They talked it over with Mr. R. B. Angus, also a
Scot, and a very able business man, who was, at that
time, general manager of the same bank. Stephen
and Angus agreed generally with Smith, but they
had not then seen the country and were not of the kind
to be rash. However, in 1877 Stephen and Angus had
56 A Great Adventure
to be in Chicago on banking business and, having a
few days at their disposal, decided to run up to St.
Paul and see Hill and his country. They saw both, as
well as the railway, and were satisfied it had a big
future. The grasshoppers were disappearing, the Indians were all peaceful or dead, and settlers would
rush in to the rich areas. Stephen was a man of
swift action when he was satisfied, and so he hied
himself away to Amsterdam, got an option on the
railway and came back with that option in his pocket.
The necessary money was raised, bonds were later on
floated, and [Stephen, Hill, Angus, Smith (all Canadians), with John S. Kennedy, of New York, took
over the railway and the land-grant. We need not
follow the history of that St. Paul, Minneapolis and
Manitoba Railway (which later developed into
"Jim" Hill's Great Northern); but everything
seemed to come the way of the adventurous Canadians who had risked much on it, and they became
multi-millionaires in a surprisingly short time.
It was to this group of men, who were doubtless
ready to be approached, that Sir John A. Macdonald,
after having tried in vain in Europe, turned, when
even Sir Charles Tupper, who was never disposed
to be afraid of anybody or anything, called the
Premier's attention to the prodigious task ahead if
the Government itself attempted to build and operate
a railway across Canada from sea to sea. By these
financial men and a few more, as we shall see, the
project that had terrified Governments of both
political shades was undertaken, and by them it was
57 The Romance of the C.P.R.
ultimately, and after terrific struggle, carried to
completion. Even Mr. J. J. Hill came in at the outset, but, differing from the rest on the policy of building over the North Shore of Lake Superior and thus
having an all-Canadian route, and finding it impossible to serve two masters in two railways that would
clash somewhat, he retired soon after the Canadian
Pacific Board was organized. But we are not to
forget "Jim" Hill, a Canadian abroad, for it was
through him that the great triumvirate, Stephen,
Smith and Angus, got a taste for railroading and
a certain training therein which stood them and
Canada in good stead in the stormy days that lay
It was, in a sense, natural that the men we have
mentioned should take hold of the Canadian Pacific
undertaking. Some of them, at least, knew the
great West-land by actual observation. The others
would bank on the statements of those who knew
the country. Stephen was the most cautious and
so the least inclined to take risks in regard to such
a colossal enterprise. But once he entered upon it,
we are probably safe in saying that, though he had
his hours of depression, he became the mainstay of
the Board in the dark storms of difficulty that were
at times to settle down on the project during the
desperate days that were ahead. All three, Stephen,
Smith and Angus, hailed from the land where there
is a saying," A stout heart to a stey brae." And these
men and their associates were to face, in every sense
of the word, "steep hills" in the financial world as
58 A Great Adventure
well as in actual rock-ribbed obstacles to railway
building, greater than any contemplated by the originator of the inspiring saying quoted above. There
was to be a time, as we shall see later, when Stephen's
famous cablegram to Smith, in the single Gaelic word
"Craigellachie" (stand fast), would be needed as a
ringing admonition to men in Canada whose resources
became so completely exhausted that failure seemed
practically inevitable.
In the meantime we have only reached the stage
in our story where these men, Stephen, Smith
and Angus, reinforced by another highly capable,
careful and successful Montreal man, Mr. Duncan
Mclntyre, at the threshold of the gigantic undertaking, were in consultation with the Macdonald-
Tupper administration at Ottawa on the subject.
They all sensed the almost overwhelming bigness of
the task and, although they were attracted by the
challenge of its immensity, and were prepared to
accept that challenge, they all realized that they
should try to secure the co-operation of the world's
financial centres before they could even hope for
success. Hence we find, in the summer of 1880, Sir
John Macdonald, Sir Charles Tupper and John
Henry Pope sailing for London, in company with
Stephen and Mclntyre, to interest British capitalists. Englishmen are generally willing to take, a
"sporting chance" and plunge into an adventurous
scheme. But this project of building a railway
across the continent through Canada's far stretches of
thinly populated country, with the gigantic engineer-
59 ff
The Romance of the C.P.R.
ing problems of the rock region on the North Shore of
Lake Superior and the apparently impenetrable barrier of the mountains in British Columbia, was too
large an order for the most courageous of London's
money magnates. It is doubtless a good thing for
Canada that the delegation had to return from London empty-handed. Projects and business concerns
owned and operated by long-range directors and
shareholders have never been a huge success in Canada, unless practically conducted by local advisory boards, and railways are no exception to that
rule. More important still, this fruitless search for
financial assistance put Canadians on their mettle
by throwing them back on their own resources at the
outset, and thus developing the strength and the endeavour which a big undertaking always brings if
bravely attempted. It was a good training in national athleticism, and the young Dominion that
had to wrestle with difficulties at the beginning developed astonishing strength and initiative power.
Later on, when, within a few months of the last spike
on the road, the youthful giant had reached the limit
of resource, and was in danger of falling short, British capital was to come in to help to a triumphant
finish.    But the time was not yet.
The delegation to London returned to Ottawa in
1880, and the Government signed a contract with
George Stephen and Duncan Mclntyre, of Montreal; John S. Kennedy, of New York: James J. Hill
and Richard B. Angus, of St. Paul, and two financial
houses—outside this continent—Morton, Rose& Co.,
60 A Great Adventure
of London, England and Kohn, Reinach & Co., of
Paris, France, although  in  the  former case it was
really the New York firm of Morton, Bliss & Company that went into the organization.    It is interesting from a psychological standpoint to find that
the name of Donald A. Smith, one of the big three,
was not in this original contract.   Ever since the day
when  Mr. Smith had cast his vote in the House of
Commons, in 1873, against Sir John Macdonald in the
matter of  the "Pacific  Scandal,"   as   Macdonald's
opponents called it, or the "Pacific Slander," as Sir
Charles Tupper designated the affair, there was, to
put it mildly, a coolness between Smith and Sir John.
For these two to be in the conferences that would
often arise between the Canadian Pacific directors and
the Government would throw a wet blanket on the
meetings.    Later on these two became punctiliously
friendly, and even though Mr. Smith's name was not
visibly in this original Canadian Pacific Railway Company, every one knew (including the keen-minded Sir
John) that he was actually in it for all he was worth.
The contract terms sound generous enough if we
could only keep out of our minds the tremendous
extent  of  the  undertaking  and  the  endless  risks
taken by the new company, in view of the fact that
the real cost of the railway from ocean to ocean was
almost a haphazard conjecture.    LTp to the date of
the signing of the contract the way through the
mountains of British Columbia was unsettled, and
the character of the work on the North Shore of
Lake   Superior   was   practically   unknown.     That
61 f
The Romance of the C.P.R.
North Shore problem had frightened Sir Henry
Tyler, President of the Grand Trunk, in London,
from going into the Canadian Pacific scheme, partly
because that eternal wilderness had no prospect
of local traffic compared with a line south of the
Boundary, but partly also because the interminable
miles of rock to be built through looked too formidable to be attacked. Take it all round, the terms of
the contract signed in Ottawa may have looked too
generous to the man on the street. But only men of
courage who visioned the far future would have set
their names to a covenant to build thousands of
miles of a railway w^hich not only some public men,
but some experts also, openly declared would "never
pay for the axle grease. "
Briefly stated, the Government agreed to give the
new syndicate the seven hundred miles of railway
already built or under contract to be built by the
Government, together with twenty-five millions in
money and twenty-five millions of acres of selected
land in the West. In addition, the syndicate was
promised exemption from import duties on all material brought in for construction, from taxes on land
for twenty years after Crown patents were issued,
as well as freedom from Dominion taxes on capital
stock and railway operating property for all time.
To guard against premature competition by roads
connecting with the States, the Government agreed
that for twenty years no charter would be granted
to any railway south of the Canadian Pacific Railway
from any point at or near the Canadian Pacific Rail-
62 A Great Adventure
way except such as should run south-west or westward of south-west ; nor to within fifteen miles of the
In Winnipeg, in my student days in the 80's, I recall hearing many rather stormy discussions over
this contract at public meetings, because the West
was particularly affected. The two things most
strenuously opposed, as being too generous to
the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, were the
grant of land, which was said to be too large, and the
section which prevented competing lines being built
to the south. Neither of these objections ever
seemed to me very reasonable. The land grant
looked large; but land was worth very little before
the railway came in to make it valuable. In my boyhood I knew that some of the land along the Red and
Assiniboine Rivers (and there is no better land anywhere) was sold for fifty cents an acre. If the twenty-
five millions of acres given to the railway were valued at pre-railway prices the amount would not be
great. When the railway was built the price of land
went up with a rush, but it must be borne in mind
that it cost the Company millions to bring the railway in, to make the land worth while. And it
should also be remembered that the railway made
other people's land as valuable as its own, although
the increase to the other people did not cost them
anything beyond their ordinary taxes. In any case
the land went up when the railway came in, but the
railway did not come in by magic. It is interesting: to recall in this connection that Sumner, a fam-
63 ff
The Romance of the C.P.R.
ous statesman in the American Republic, once advocated giving half of one of the great agricultural
States in the West to any one who would
build a railway through it, as it was of
little use till a railway would enter. What
some people in Canada, who denounced the Government for giving twenty-five millions of acres, might
have said if the Canadian Pacific Railway had been
offered one-half of the Middle West, would probably be too incoherent to print.
We may read later something of the cyclonic protests made in my native Province of Manitoba against
the section of the contract which denied to any others
the right to build railways south of the Canadian
Pacific into the States; but, like many other movements, the one against this temporary monopolistic
clause was, to say the least, lacking in proper
perspective. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, to enable Canada to keep faith with British Columbia and thus hold Confederation together,
was struggling to build two thousand miles of road
over a territory where there was little prospect for
years of a paying traffic. It is hard to see that it
would have been just, without adequate compensation to the Canadian Pacific, to allow other railways
to hamstring the transcontinental by building in
the only region where there was population enough
to give a railway some reasonably remunerative
A rather peculiar thing was that no one objected
to  the  cash  subsidy  except   those  who   attacked
64 A Great Adventure
the whole business from end to end, as ruinous to
the young Dominion. Reasonable onlookers, however, who knew something of the tremendous cost of
construction over certain sections, thought the syndicate was mad to tackle it at almost any price. Later
on these reasonable people found justification for
their view in the fact that construction was costing
in, some sections half-a-million .a mile—though even
they would have gasped if they knew that in after
years a single tunnel in the mountains was to cost
over eight millions to construct. There were some
who considered that the free gift to the company
of several hundred miles of railway, built by the
Government over a term of years, was too generous.
But Canadian Pacific Railway experts in 1889 testified before an Interstate Commerce Inquiry, and
said that parts of the Government sections were unwisely located, and the cost of joining up with these
unwisely located sections was so great that the
amount the sections were supposed to represent should
be heavily discounted. It is possible that experts
will always differ over this big contract of 1880
which, for years, furnished offensive and defensive
political orators with abundant ammunition in party
As I write these paragraphs regarding the famous
contract between the Canadian Government and the
pioneer railway across Canada, I have before me the
Dominion Statute of 1881 in which the contract is
incorporated. It has some rather illuminating
clauses, of which I here quote a few.1   In the section of
65 /fir
The Romance of the C.P.R.
the Act in which the Company is required to complete the work by the year 1891, and the section in
which the Government is required to complete and
hand over certain portions of the railway then under
contract, both parties are safeguarded by the words
"unless prevented by the act of God, the Queen's
enemies, intestine disturbances, epidemics, floods or
other causes beyond control. " That was sufficiently
comprehensive to guard against any contingency.
There is a very interesting statement at the conclusion of section 7 of the contract, where, after saying
that the road built by the company and the portions
built by the Government when completed, shall
become the absolute property of the Company, the
Act goes on to say: And the Company shall thereafter
and for ever efficiently maintain, work and run the
Canadian Pacific Railway. I think the testimony
of all is that the Company is living up to that contract, since its amazing efficiency is the admiration
of the world. But the words "for ever" indicate
with unconscious frankness that the Government had
grown weary of Government construction, ownership and operation of such an immense project, and
was devoutly thankful to hand it over for all time to
a responsible private organization.
The contract which we have been thus studying had
to run the gauntlet through Parliament, and we shall
follow its course there and the new programme of
railway building by the new Company in the ensuing chapter.
66 w
The New Company
HEN THE contract with the Canadian Pacific
Railway Company was submitted to the Canadian Parliament, Mr. Edward Blake, then leader
of the Opposition, and his party, met it with a chorus
of indignant and derisive protest. They declared
that the Dominion would be ruined by such a contract
and that they intended to fight the matter out before the House and the country. There is no need
now to cast any personal discredit on Mr. Blake and
his following for their action at that time. He was a
man of unblemished name and of intense conviction, as evidenced by many facts in his distinguished
career. And, besides, he and the leading men in his
following then in Ottawa had already committed
themselves at former sessions of Parliament by
taking the position that the Canadian Pacific would
have to be built by slow stages if built at all. Mr.
Blake had not then visited the West, and seriously
doubted its future. He and Sir Charles Tupper,
who introduced the bill, were the combatant officers
of their respective parties over this railway problem.
So when Mr. Blake declared an itinerating attack
on the Canadian Pacific amongst the people of Ontario, where the Grand Trunk, the rival road, had
been long in undisputed possession, Sir Charles wrote
67 The Romance of the C.P.R.
asking for an opportunity to reply on the same platform. Mr. Blake answered that he would require
all the time each evening, as the subject was a big
one. This was true, and Blake's exact legal mind
led him generally into more exhaustive detail on any
subject than an ordinary public audience could appreciate. But Sir Charles had girded on his armour
for the fray, and found a plan of action by having
his friends announce at each of Blake's meetings that
Sir Charles would appear in the same hall the following night to give reply to Mr. Blake. Sir Charles
thus had the advantage of having Mr. Blake's speech
in hand a few hours after its delivery, and next night
was able to assault Mr. Blake's position effectively
by a characteristic fighting answer.
To complicate matters for the Government, a rival
syndicate was suddenly formed of Ontario capitalists, headed by'Sir William Howland, who offered to
build the railway for three millions less in money
and three millions less in land acreage, and at the
same time give up practically all the privileges
which the Government had agreed to allow the
Stephen group. The Government denounced the How-
land syndicate as trying to draw a herring across
the trail by making a transparently impossible offer in
an effort to break the contract already signed with the
other company. There is no reason to think that the
Howland syndicate, which was composed of well-
known citizens of high standing, would not have
tackled the building of the railway if they had got the
contract. But the Government had already signed
68 The New Company
with the other organization and, denouncing the
offer of the Howland syndicate as utterly impracticable, and intended only to hamper the construction
of the road, Sir Charles Tupper rallied the Government forces and put the original contract through
Parliament on a straight vote, in February,  1881.
We do not dispute the good intentions of the Howland syndicate ; but if the gentlemen of that syndicate
really could have seen into the future they would
have breathed a sigh of relief when their offer was
rejected. They had asked for the contract, but it
was a mercy for them that their request was declined
without thanks. For if the Stephen men, who knew
the country better and had already some extraordinary allies, came up later against so many unexpected
obstacles that they were more than once within a
hair-breadth of failure, it is safe to say that the Howland men, with their hurried and unconsidered offer,
would have ridden for a fall, disastrous alike to themselves and to Canada.
By the action of the Dominion Parliament, in adopting the contract and giving it the force of law, in
February, 1881, the field was clear for Mr. George
Stephen (who was elected President of the new
Company) and his colleagues. They lost no time
in unlimbering their artillery and going into action
with the bearing of men who knew they were going
to have a hard battle, but were moving steadily forward as gentlemen unafraid.
Concerning Mr. George Stephen (who chose
his   peerage   title   from   the   mountain   that   was
69 The Romance of the C.P.R.
called after him in British Columbia, and so became
Lord Mount Stephen) much might be written, but
he was so unobtrusive that, as compared with others,
hardly anything has been put in print about the first
President. Mr. Smith, his cousin (later Lord Strath-
cona), was much better known and more in the public eye, and no one would think of minimizing Mr.
Smith's great achievements and his services to Canada and the Empire. But so far as the Canadian
Pacific Railway is concerned, Mr. Smith's greatest
contribution was made when, after getting in contact with "Hill, he persuaded Stephen to branch out
from business in Montreal and become a railroad
builder. Once again in this connection let me emphasize, though it anticipates the narrative somewhat, the peculiar sequence in the chain of Canadian
Pacific men and events in the following way: Smith
secured Stephen, Stephen secured Van Home, and
Van Home secured Shaughnessy. It was an extraordinary succession, and every link in a chain that
holds is worthy of equal honour. These men were
different in many ways, but the truth is that, historically considered, no man ever really takes the place of
another, even though he succeeds him. Each man
must do his own work in his own way and bear his
own burden, and in each man's assertion of his own
individuality we find the true law of human progress.
We can standardize inanimate things such as motor
cars, but we are essaying interference with the Divine order when we try to standardize men.
George Stephen was the son of a carpenter and
70 The New Company
was born, in 1829, in Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland. His youth was not rose-coloured. He was
educated in the parish school (the world owes much
to many an unknown school-teacher), served for a
season as herd-laddie on the glebe at Mortlach, and
then was sent to Aberdeen to learn the drapery business. One day a customer from Montreal noticed
that the clerk signed his name "George Stephen,"
and it turned out that the customer and clerk were
cousins. As a result the young clerk was taken out
to Montreal in 1850 and showed such devotion to
business, and such capacity, that he became President
of the great Bank of Montreal when he was less
than fifty years of age. He was a man of a high
sense of honour and of intense powers of concentration.
He had public gifts and could speak well on political and
other topics, but all through life he applied himself principally to business and the development of the country.
Years afterwards, when the one-time "herd laddie" at
Mortlach and draper's apprentice had become a
man of wealth and a peer of the realm, recognized
amongst the foremost as a builder of the Empire, he
was presented with the freedom of the city of Aberdeen. In his reply to the address of presentation, he
shattered some modern theories as to the making of
men by saying: "Any success I may have had in
life is due in a great measure to the somewhat Spartan training I received during my Aberdeen apprenticeship, in which I entered as a boy of fifteen. I
had but few wants and no distractions to draw me
away from the work I had in hand.    I soon dis-
71 The Romance of the C.P.R.
covered that if I ever accomplished anything in life
it would be by pursuing my object with a persistent
determination to attain it. I had neither the training nor the talents to accomplish anything without
hard work, and, fortunately, I knew it." All of
which would be a good motto for every young lad
to paste in his hat, so that he would see it frequently.
It is well also to remember that Sir George made
good use of the wealth he gained in later years by
laborious effort. His benefactions were wide-spread,
amongst them being the contribution of half-a-mil-
lion, to go with a like amount from Lord Strathcona,
into the establishment of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. And when Dr. Barclay retired
from St. Paul's Church in the same city, it was Lord
Mount Stephen who supplemented the donations of
others by a princely gift in bonds to the minister of
his Montreal days.
It was this great man, George Stephen, then, who
became President of the new Canadian Pacific Railway Company in 1881, and continued in that responsible office for the eight most critical years of
the company's struggle to live and conquer. On
him, in the grim days ahead, was to rest most heavily the burden of financing, although his cousin, Mr.
D. A. Smith, was forward in securing the help of
financial magnates at every opportunity. The time
was to come when these two were to pledge all their
private possessions to keep the Canadian Pacific
going on to completion. I think it worth while to
say here that none of these men seemed to care about
72 The New Company
money as an end, although they appreciated its value
as a means to achievement. They had no reason
to go into the Canadian Pacific Railway undertaking
to make money, for when they began it they all had
enough. In fact it is well known that some of them
demurred strongly at first for fear they would be
left penniless in their old age. But they were all
amenable to the appeal for the building of Canada,
and that was sufficient. In this connection it is interesting to recall that on May 26th, 1887, Mr.
Smith (Strathcona) said in the House of Commons,
"The First Minister will bear me out when I say that
Sir George Stephen and the other members of the
syndicate did not approach the Government with regard to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway until the Government had tried in Europe and
elsewhere to get others to take it up, capable of carrying it through, but had not succeeded in this. I say
distinctly that the gentlemen who undertook the
charter, although at first unwilling to assume the responsibility, ultimately consented, more with a view
of assisting to open up the country than from any
expectation of gain to be derived from it." It is
equally interesting to note, in this same connection,
the attitude of Mr. James J. Hill, who once wrote to
an old Canadian friend saying, "I think you know
that I am not anxious about the money part of it. I
am sure I have all and more than all I will ever want
and all that will be good for those who come after
It was in this spirit, then—that of Empire-builders,
73 Iff
The Romance of the C.P.R.
rather than money-makers—that President Stephen
and his associates took up, in 1881, the tremendous task of building the Canadian Pacific Railway
across the Dominion of Canada. It was the wide
West-land that had called the transcontinental into
the orbit of public vision, and though, when Eastern
connections would be made, it was inevitable that
the headquarters of the road would be in Montreal,
where the leading directors lived, offices were first of
all opened in Winnipeg. Canada, as already noted,
was young in the railway business. Later on she
would find her own men for leaders in every department, as we know by this time she has done. But
in those days Canada had to go to her big cousin,
the American Republic, for railway experts. And
so Mr. A. B. Stickney, who was later President of
the Chicago and Great Western, was installed as General Superintendent in Winnipeg. With him came, as
Chief Engineer, General Rosser, who had been a
dashing Confederate cavalry officer in the Civil War.
Those were my school days in Winnipeg, and I recall
seeing Rosser once—a man of very distinguished
bearing. But, for various reasons, neither he nor
Stickney remained long, though I confess I never
pass the little station of Rosser just west of Winnipeg,
but I visualize again the tall, handsome Southerner
after whom it was called in those early days.
When these men were going, Stephen turned again
to his old friend Hill, who knew all about railroad
men, and Hill recommended William Cornelius Van
Home, then General Superintendent of the Chicago,
yi The New Company
Milwaukee and St. Paul. This was another of Hill's
great contributions to his native Canada. Though
these two strong men, Hill and Van Home, eventually became rivals and heads of practically opposing systems, they doubtless, to the end, recognized
the consummate ability of each other. If they had to
contend at times they could at least realize
"That stern joy which warriors feel
In foeman worthy of their steel."
In any case, Hill's commendation of Van Home to
Stephen in 1881 was whole hearted and emphatic.
Hill said that of all the men he knew Mr. Van Home
was altogether the best equipped, both mentally and
every other wray. A pioneer was needed, and the
more of a pioneer the better. And to this Mr. Hill
added, in his message to Stephen, "You need a man
of great physical and mental power to carry the line
through. Van Home can do it. But he will take
all the authority he gets and more ; so define how
much you want him to have. " This last was a well-
meant—and somewhat necessary admonition. Mr.
Stephen then offered Van Home a bigger salary than
any one in a similiar position had ever received in
this country. I do not think that the salary was the
main thing with Van Home. Neither would I say
that he did not take it into consideration. He was
such a many-sided man that he seemed like several
men. He could be lavish in entertaining or spending for things that he specially fancied. But he
could be close in other ways.    No doubt the unpre-
75 The Romance of the C.P.R.
cedented salary was, in his mind, worthy of thought.
And one cannot wonder at that, because he was
asked to give up a high position in the railway work
of the States, with a presidency certain there in a few
years at most. He was, in fact, staking the prospects of a career on his decision in favour of moving.
But he did not decide to move without some idea of
the prospects of the country to which he was invited. So he made a sort of incognito visit to Winnipeg, and took some survey of the vast plains. He
saw the possibilities of unlimited grain and root production, and noted the practically inexhaustible soil
along the Red River, where the Selkirk settlers had
been sowing and reaping for three-quarters of a century. It is interesting to find here, as noted by waters on Van Home's life, special allusion to the Selkirk settlers. These settlers were stated in an early
chapter of the book to be a factor in leading to the
inception of the Canadian Pacific Railway undertaking, as they had demonstrated the agricultural
possibilities of the West. And they are mentioned
by Van Home's biographer, Mr. Vaughan, as one of
the elements whose demonstration of the country's
suitability for the world's foundation industry
helped to draw to Canada the extraordinary man who,
in the face of apparently insuperable obstacles,
threw a railway line across her wide-flung spaces.
One wonders yet at the fact that Van Home left
an assured career in his own land, the richest country in the world, to come to the Canadian West,
which was then, and for some years afterwards, as Ire-
76 Early Builders  The New Company
call it, a sort of illimitable and sparsely inhabited
wilderness. He came to undertake a railway building project such as neither his own country or any
other in the world had ever planned in similar circumstances. No doubt he, with the keen mentality
which flashed out in many varied gifts, foresaw the
country's future. But no doubt also, as his biographer above-mentioned affirms, and as men, like
Sir George Bury, who were intimately yoked up
with him in practical work on the road declare, it
was the difficulty of the work that successfully appealed
to him. The fighting spirit of his imperturbable
and determined Netherlands ancestors rose to the
challenge of the opportunity, to satisfy what Mr.
Vaughan calls his master passion " to make things grow
and put new places on the map." So, after visiting Winnipeg and the plains, Van Home accepted
Stephen's offer and came from the States to become
a great Canadian who, without forgetting his lineage,
grew into a deep devotion to his adopted country.
Reference has been made already to the many-
sidedness of this colossus amongst railway builders.
Once, many years after his coming, I recall meeting Mr.
Van Home at a dinner in Lord Strathcona's house in
Montreal, when nearly all the leading business men
of their group were present. I happened to be in the
city at the time, and as Lord Strathcona and my
father had been close friends in the old Fort Garry
days, he asked me up to that dinner. Gentleman of
the old school that he was, with the courteous manner
and considerateness of the perfect host, he asked Mr.
77 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Van Home to show me through the picture gallery.
I had known Mr. Van Home in a general way as a
forceful railroader who had begun in railway work
at the age of fourteen, and knew it from the ground
upwards in practically all departments, and I also
knew something of his taste in art. But I was hardly
prepared for the wealth of the acquaintance with
painting and literature which his conversation, in
easy, flowing language, revealed that evening. And
yet this was the same Van Home who could make
men quake with the strength of his invective against
incompetency or carelessness in work, and who was
apparently at times a mere impersonal dynamo for
the purpose of driving seemingly impossible enterprises to completion. There was something more
than Napoleonic in the way in which he abolished
the word "fail" from the dictionary as he drove his
undertakings onward. And yet again he was an inveterate player of practical jokes, and was, on occasion, a sort of big boy with a sufficient spice of fun
about him to keep things from becoming dull. If
he knew how to work he also knew how to relax, and
that is a great thing.
It was this composite man, then, who, at President Stephen's call, threw up golden prospects in
his own country and came up to Winnipeg on New
Year's eve in 1881, to take practical command of a
vast new problematical enterprise. His powers may
have been defined by Stephen and his associates,
but the definition must have been very much tantamount to a free hand, as the sequel will show.
A Constructive Genius
A /IR. VAN HORNE, who was a native son of
* ^Chelsea, Illinois, struck Winnipeg just as 1882 was
dawning, and the thermometer was ranging around
forty below zero. Those of us who were born in or
near Winnipeg can testify that in such an hour the
ozone makes one tingle with energy, and leads to an
active life as a natural consequence. Van Home
was an embodiment of driving power, anyway, and
perhaps the stimulating atmosphere raised that power
to a high algebraic degree. Certain it is that every
one around Winnipeg, especially in the service of the
new railway, realized that a human projectile had
been shot into the community and that things had
to move on under its impulse or move out of the
way. So distinctly was this felt, that not only was
the climate rather frigid, but the social atmosphere
around offices and clubs took on a certain degree of
coolness. That any one should come in from the
outside and, after a brief survey, should start in to
make swift changes and equally swift appointments,
regardless of social or political influence, was not
likely to make the man who so acted a general favourite. But in a short time the marvellous efficiency
of the man commended him to everybody worth
while.    His bigness in ignoring any prejudice against
79 /IS
The Romance of the C.P.R.
himself, his hearty, magnetic and utterly unaffected
personality, soon won the respect of his men in all ranks
and he in turn came swiftly to have a high respect for
the courage, ability and initiative of the Canadian
people. For a while he had to have around him
some experts from his own country, like that Master-Superintendent, John M. Egan, whose ability as
a practical railroad builder was a great asset to the
new enterprise. But Van Home soon had a small
army of Canadians in training under his own leadership, and to them he became deeply attached. It is
now, at least, an open secret that when men back in
the States heard that his reception in Winnipeg was
rather cool they sent him word "to come back to
your friends and let the Canadians build their own
road." But Van Home, knowing that his own
brusque entry and method laid him open to some
blame for the situation, and knowing also the solid
worth of the people to whom he had come, declined
to return. Again, a few years later, when the Canadian Pacific Railway project seemed on the point of
failure for lack of funds, even though the Directors
had put their all in the great venture, some one said
to Van Home that he need not worry, because there
were positions waiting for him across the line any
time he wished to go there. But he stood by his guns
and said that he was not going back to the States—
"I'm not going to leave the work I have begun. I'm
going to see it through, no matter what position is
open to me in the United States. " The time was to
come, however, when even the iron nerves and the
80 A Constructive Genius
tremendous staying power of this apparently stolid
and determined scion of the Netherlands were to be
tried* to the limit, and when Van Home found in
Canadian men the invincible spirit which made their
joint work a sort of miraculous success.
In the meantime, when he had done some highly
necessary things in Winnipeg, in that fateful year of
1882, he went down to Montreal to meet President
Stephen and the Directors. No doubt there was a
mutual "sizing up" of each other, but with satisfactory results. The President and Van Home took
to each other at once, and became thenceforward the
two that did the most perfect team work. But they
could not have pulled the enterprise far without the
steady, persistent co-operation of the other Directors.
They all got into the harness and they all fell in with
the Western teamster's homely prescription for
success: "Keep the tugs tight; never mind the holdbacks. "
Thenceforth Van Home became, till the completion
of the transcontinental, the trusted railway, expert
and, in this regard, completely supplanted Hill, who
had been the only man of the original Canadian
Pacific Syndicate who was a practical railroader.
Under the leadership of Van Home, Canada would
now begin to grow her own railway men as a home
One of the items taken up on the occasion of Mr.
Van Home's first visit to Montreal was the construction of the railway over the rock-wilderness on the
North   Shore   of   Lake   Superior.    The   Mackenzie
81 r
The Romance of the C.P.R.
Government, as we have seen, thought that section
could wait for a somewhat indefinite period, and in
the meantime Mackenzie said that the great freshwater sea could be used as a link in transportation.
Then, when the Stephen-Hill Syndicate was formed,
both of these gentlemen agreed with the policy of not
constructing that section until there was more settlement in the West. But Stephen and Hill, not believing in the tardy water-stretches as links in railway construction, proposed to build from the East to
Sault Ste. Marie, and there join up with a branch of
Hill's road, the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba,
to which, as the architect of their fortunes, they
were financially and otherwise attached. This of
course would have given Hill, in large measure, the
control of Canadian traffic from East to West.
It will be recalled that neither Sir John Macdonald
nor Sir Charles Tupper, his fighting Railway Minister, approved of this American link in the road, and
that in England they had broken with Sir Henry
Tyler, of the Grand Trunk, on that particular point.
And when Van Home went east to meet the Directors in 1882, he made short work of the plan which
both Stephen and Hill had cherished. He felt that to
give Hill's road the haulage of through Canadian
traffic over a section of his track would make the
Canadian Pacific a sort of subsidiary of his line, and
such a situation was abhorrent both to Van Home's
railroad instincts and to his estimate of his ability to
run his own road. In a proper sense of the word Van
Home was always egoist enough to assert his own
82 A Constructive Genius
dignity when occasion required. In fact he would
let no man rob him of the opportunity of boasting on
any occasion when it seemed legitimate and necessary. Hence, when he met the Canadian Pacific
Directors, at that first meeting, he drew for them
a verbal picture of what the traffic on an all-Canadian route from ocean to ocean was to be in the
future, and by the time he was through his visualizing, the President and the other Directors let
this new General Manager have his will. Van
Home was no half-way man, and when he started
out to build the Canadian Pacific Railway he was
going to put emphasis on the word and idea of Canadian. The day was to come when, despite some partisan and political mud-throwing, all true Canadians
would acknowledge that the big railroader was right.
Of course, this action of Van Home and the Directors was, as already intimated, the last strawforHill.
He was too keen and clear-headed a man not to understand that he and Van Home, with their big
projects more or less competitive, could not work
together to advantage. So he withdrew with some
emphasis, but we are not to forget that he made
railroaders of Stephen, Smith and Angus, and that
through his recommendation, Van Home came to
Canada. The Canadian boy, James J. Hill, who
had left his home in Rockwood, Ontario, to seek his
fortune in the States, and become a maker of its
North-West, also did, for various reasons and motives, a good day's work for his native land.
When Van Home met the Directors in Montreal
83 The Romance of the C.P.R.
they discussed also the momentous question of the
route to be followed. When Sandford Fleming was
Chief Engineer during the regime of the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, the line was mapped out to cross
the Red River at Selkirk, thence westward through
the North Saskatchewan country, crossing the Rockies
by the Yellowhead Pass, and so on to the Pacific.
But the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in
1881 was officially authorized to build a more southerly route via Winnipeg and the Kicking Horse Pass.
For the most part the engineers preferred the
Yellowhead Pass, on account of the comparatively
easy grades and fewer obstacles in the way.
Van Home favoured the Kicking Horse Pass
and the Directors agreed to that also, although
up to that time there had been no pass discovered
through the Selkirk range that lay right beyond
the Rockies like an impregnable rampart. But if
no pass was found through the Selkirks, the track
might be laid in a more roundabout way along the
Columbia. Once again these men were making a big
venture under the leadership of Van Home, who
seemed to be having pretty much his own way at the
Board meeting. The Directors had secured him at a
large salary because he was a practical railroader, and
they were evidently going to give him opportunity
to earn it by letting him assume heavy responsibility.
The change of route from the Yellowhead to the
more difficult Kicking Horse Pass has been much
discussed and, in some considerable degree, criticized.
But there were weighty reasons for the change as A Constructive Genius
Van Home saw them. The transcontinental route
from the East through the Kicking Horse Pass was
one hundred and twenty-five miles shorter that the
other, and that is an item, when the costs of construction were considered, as well as time in the trip
across the continent. Besides that, the Kicking
Horse route, if adopted, would preclude the possibility of any railway building between the Canadian
Pacific and the boundary-line and thus draining traffic
towards the States. The great valleys of the Kootenay, the Columbia and the Okanagan were more
accessible by the Kicking Horse route, and such
valleys are supreme in productiveness in British
Columbia. And I am not sure but Mr. Van Home,
with his strong sense of the artistic and the scenic
splendour of the southern route, felt that in the future
it would, as a tourist route of unequalled attractiveness, become one of the greatest and most remunerative assets of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The
supremacy of the Kicking Horse route in that regard
has been fully recognized by world-travellers. The
famous Sir Edwin Arnold, author of "The Light of
Asia, " who had been in practically all countries, one
day said to Mr. Castell Hopkins, of Toronto, as they
met on a Canadian Pacific Railway train in the Rockies,
"These vast ranges exceed in grandeur the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes, all of which I
have seen." The matchlessly inspiring scenery of
this route will always remain to make it an irresistible magnet to tourists and travellers generally.
For the rest of it,  any problem in gradients will
85 (fir
The Romance of the C.P.R.
vanish at any time desired, by the lowering of grades
and electrification, if ever the situation demands
such action.
Before leaving the Kicking Horse Pass discussion,
it may be interesting to some of our readers to relate
the origin of this striking name. When I first went
down along the river I recall some one on the train
who told his version by saying that the name was given
to the river because as it rushed down the grade it
was constantly thrown back in splashing spray by
the rocks, as if by the kicking of a horse. This is a
poetic description of a very turbulent stream where
the rocks look vicious enough to kick anything to
pieces that might be hurled against them, but it is
not the real origin of the name. The prosaic fact is
that when, in 1858, Capt. Palliser and Dr. (later Sir
James) Hector were exploring the region they were
leaving the camp by this river one morning and
•Hector, while trying to round up a straying pack-
horse, was kicked in the chest by his own riding horse
as he was passing him. Hector was laid up in the
camp for several days, and the incident was so impressed on the explorers that they anathematized
and immortalized this lively animal by calling the
river and pass after him.
When Mr. Van Home went back to Winnipeg
from the meeting of Directors in 1882, things looked
well around that Western gateway city because the
advent of the Canadian Pacific had given rise to a
real-estate boom whose intoxicating influence had
gone to people's heads, so that they were all hilariously
86 A Constructive Genius
rich, at least in imagination, and, therefore, indomitably optimistic. This phase of undue exitement
passed, but Winnipeg is my old home city, and hence
I am able to testify that in no city with which I am
acquainted was it so true, as it used to be said of the
people of Winnipeg,   that  "they  lived  on  hope."
However, it remains true also that the collapse of
that famous Western real-estate boom, the crash of
which affected every place from the Great Lakes to
the mountains, made the task of the Canadian Pacific
Board and Mr. Van Home an exceedingly difficult
one right at the outset. The sudden deflation in
Western land values and the large number of business
failures through the recession of the boom wave
shook the faith of outsiders in the country's future
and depressed the people within the country at the
same time. I have known the West all my life, but
I do not recall any period more generally discouraging than that after-the-boom period in the 80's,
during which the Canadian Pacific Railway was begun and carried to an amazingly successful completion. The sudden drop in everything, as well as
the rumblings and then the outbreak of the Riel Rebellion on the plains, put, in large measure, a damper
on immigration; and railway building through an
uninhabited land is not exhilarating work.
These were local conditions, but there were other
things which sprang up at the very beginning to
make the way of the new railway company hard.
A few of these things may be indicated for the benefit
of the superficial people who think the Canadian
87 /If
The Romance of the C.P.R.
Pacific got an easy start. In reality it had from the
first to fight every foot of the way against adverse
influences. When the Company had to do its financing it found influential forces barring the doors.
The Grand Trunk, with its host of big Directors and
shareholders in the Old Country, attacked the new
transcontinental which would be sure to invade
its rich reserves in Eastern Canada; and so the London market was, in large measure, cold to any efforts
made by the new Canadian Pacific Board to raise
money in the world's financial centre. Similarly
the United States railways which were headed for
the Pacific saw the danger of a successful Canadian
rival, and did all they could to prevent the Canadian
Pacific from securing any money in New York.
With hostile forces thus operating in these two famous money centres, any one can understand that the
new Canadian venture was in for a bad time. And
we have to add to all these barbed-wire fences around
the money markets abroad, the regrettable fact of
almost constant nagging and criticism in Canada
from sources of such wide range as the " will-never-
pay-for-axle-grease " politicians, and the men who
wished to cut in with the railway lines in productive
territory while the Canadian Pacific was struggling
to cross leagues of unpeopled rocks and plains, not
to mention the people who thought the new road
should benevolently carry everything for them at
bare cost.
Keen-minded men like Mr. Van Home and the
Directors of the Canadian Pacific saw that the way A Constructive Genius
ahead bristled with difficulties. But they declined
to quail. They had started on a great adventure and
they were looking far ahead so steadily that they
were saved from morbid contemplation of what lay
between them and the final triumph. Their attitude
toward the unproductive Lake Superior North Shore
rock-wastes was typically prophetic. Despite the
derisive critics who always have ridiculed the inception of big undertakings, the Canadian Pacific Railway men looked beyond the North Shore to the
West-land that would some day become the granary
of the Empire. Thus did they keep their courage
alive. Like a famous warrior of old, they refused to
see the intervening difficulties while they knew that
across somewhere was the land of promise and the
triumph that was worth a great struggle to attain.
When Van Home left that meeting of Directors
in Montreal he hurried back to Winnipeg with the
fire of a great railway-building battle in his eye. He
felt he had the support of a strong and determined
body of men, and they were fully satisfied that they
had in Van Home a man wrorth backing. They all
began to realize very vividly, from the attitude of
the financial world as above outlined, that the
fabled achievements of Hercules would have to be
made real in the building of the road. Van Home,
as the practical builder, set his mind on his own side
of the work. His energy had been pretty well tested
out in the States, but he knew perfectly well that anything he had done hitherto was child's play compared
to what he was now going to attempt.    I was much
89 /If
The Romance of the C.P.R.
interested the other day in coming across an item
somewhere which suggested that, some years before,
Van Home had been contemplating building a railway in the Western States to tap the Canadian North-
West. The vast unpeopled territory, labelled on his
map, "British possessions," appealed to his pioneering and adventurous spirit. It was the land of romance and mystery and of illimitable possibilities,
where he could blaze new trails and build steel highways over a territory bigger than half-a-dozen European kingdoms.
And now his opportunity had come in an unexpected, but better,, fashion, and, as stated, he set
his mind upon it with a sort of terrifying concentration. He found that Government contractors in
1881 had built some 160 miles of railway on the
plains. He told the Directors in Montreal that he
would build 500 miles on the prairie in 1882. He
started in to do it and looked to the Directors to pay
the bills. Some years after it was all over Van Home
said one day, as a tribute to the President, "Stephen
did more work and harder work than I did. I had
only to build the road, but Stephen had to find the
money. " Those who remember them both are ready
to say that the honours were even. Each did his part
well and each had many helpers.
In view of the fact already stated, that Canada
was new to the railway-building business, it is surprising to find that Mr. Van Home brought very few
assistants from the States. Besides Egan, who did
most excellent work in  construction  days out  of
90 A Constructive Genius
Winnipeg, Kelson of the Milwaukee road was brought
to be general storekeeper at Winnipeg. There was
urgent need of a key man in Montreal to be the general purchasing agent for the whole road. And as
everything had to be purchased for a new undertaking an altogether unusual man was required. Besides other supplies, the man who came as purchasing agent would have to be a sort of quarter-master-
general to feed an industrial army spread out in a
long line from East to West and with practically no
line of communication along which to transport the
necessaries of life. For that position Mr. Van Home
had his eye on a young man named Thomas G.
Shaughnessy, who had been on his staff in Milwaukee.
Mr. Van Home had opened up offices over the Bank
of Montreal on Main Street in Winnipeg. "One
day," says Mr. E. A. James, who was then Mr. Van
Home's private telegraph operator, "there came into
the outer office a fashionably-dressed, alert young
man, sporting a cane and giving general evidence of
being what we call a live wire. He asked for Mr. Van
Home and gave his name as Shaughnessy. I looked
up Mr. Van Home in another office and gave him
the message. He said to the gentleman to whom he
was speaking, ' I am glad Tom has come ; he is the
man I want for general purchasing agent.' And
thus another notable star swung into the orbit of the
new company. But beyond these just mentioned
to take hold at the beginning, Mr. Van Home said
no one else was needed from outside, as the new
General Manager found Canadians so full of initia-
91 The Romance of the C.P.R.
tive and energy that he had no difficulty in getting
men of calibre and zeal without going beyond the
Incidentally it may be mentioned that a fire took
place in the building during that winter of 1882, and
-the offices of the railway and the Bank had to be
moved to temporary quarters in the old Knox Church
building. There Mr. Van Home occupied the vestry,
and Mr. I. G. Ogden, who became famous as auditor
and finance minister for the road, held office space in
the library of the Sunday school, while the bank itself did business in what had been the main auditorium of the church. The quarters were unusual and
not very convenient, but the atmosphere would be
It was still winter of the year in which Van Home
had said he would build 500 miles of the road on the
prairie. He had to wait for the spring's approach ; but
meanwhile he was stacking up supplies at Winnipeg,
"from the ends of the earth," as people there said,
and in enormous quantities—rails from Britain and
the Continent, ties from the woods east of Winnipeg,
stone from every available quarry within reach,
lumber from the Minnesota country and from the
Lake of the Woods. Much of this came in during
the frozen months by rail from the south, and the
yardmen in the States were delighted to send along
whole trains of material for "Van Home's road" as
they called it. The main thing was to get the stuff
forward. And Van Home kept the wires hot in
seeing that there would be no delay.
92  n
Typical Canadian Pacific Scenery A Constructive Genius
He became suddenly the organizer of an army—
not for destruction, but for construction—a great
mobile force which was to move steadily forwTard
under the direction of his genius and daring. That
army was to use high explosives and unbounded
physical energy, but it was with a purpose to enrich
and not to devastate the country. It was to use
ploughshares instead of swords, but its victories were
to be certain and enduring. The fight was to be hot
and at times the line would waver, but there would
be no retreat. It will be interesting to follow that
army with two such leaders as Van Home as the
master builder and Shaughnessy as the matchless
provider of supplies.
Crossing the Prairie
IN 1882, when Van Home began to swing his cohorts
Aof contractors and their men into the struggle to
build a half-thousand miles of railway westward beyond Winnipeg, the Red River went on an angry
rampage and flooded out the city and the surrounding country. This was somewhat of a damper at the
beginning and, as the sequel proved, it clipped a few
miles off the anticipated record. But a record was
made notwithstanding. Experienced railway contractors were required, and Van Home brought Lang-
don & Sheppard from St. Paul and gave them the
work of building from Oak Lake in Manitoba straight
across the plains to Calgary. This was a large order, and
the contractors evidently knew it, for they startled the
community by advertising [for an army of three thousand men and four thousand horses. Those who recall
conditions at that time will readily concede that there
was no unemployment problem abroad in those busy
days. No one worth while needed to be unemployed
when Van Home was forcing an undertaking to completion. And to make quite sure that things would
be properly completed, this railway building enthusiast organized a large gang of men under his own
orders who would follow up the contractors and give
the finishing touches after the aforesaid contractors
94 Crossing, the Prairie
had complied with the literal requirements of their
agreement to lay the steel. One can readily see that
this flying column of Van Home's would keep the
contractors moving [ahead rapidly, lest the flying
column should be treading on their heels and remarking on their tardiness. And one can see also that
this follow-up work would lead to the soundness of
the road-bed for which this pioneer railway was
noted from the beginning. Construction was amazingly rapid, but there were no chances taken in regard
to the safety of the road.
And so these thousands of men and horses were
feverishly, but systematically, at work on the plains,
where not many years before the buffalo had roamed
with earth-shaking tread. The ploughs and scrapers
of this great constructive army were making their
way through the buffalo wallows and casting up a
high grade where once the Red River cart had worn
deep ruts in the rich black mould. Some of us recall busy days on the farms or the hay field, riding
and working on the plains, and, as boys, we had
sometimes a feeling that the time of labour was unduly prolonged. Hours of work were not limited
in those days, except by darkness and dew at
either end of the day. But Mr. Van Home's army
became unlimited as to time, because there were
relays working in the night, building bridges and
culverts and laying track when conditions allowed—
a sort of sleepless army that moved on without cessation. In this way some three miles a day were finished
enough to allow the construction trains to follow up
95 The Romance of the C.P.R.
with their gigantic loads of material and food for
men and horses. In the spring-time there was not
much grass for the horses, and all grain had then to be
imported to a country which is now the greatest grain-
exporting region in the world. Trainloads of stuff
were constantly passing over United States roads
all the way from the New York seaport, and hundreds
of checkers reported on their whereabouts every day,
so that they could be counted on by a certain time.
All this matter of material was in the wonderfully
capable hands of Mr. Shaughnessy, whose brain
worked with such unerring activity and precision
that supplies were kept up to the minute. Shaugh-
nessy's office in Montreal was as great a hive of industry as was Van Home's moving army on the plains.
And men learned, as they had never learned before,
that brain and brawn were both necessary to the
carrying on of the world's business and that these are
mutually dependent on each other. Capital, labour
and management are the inseparable three in the
material success of great undertakings, and when the
world discovers how these can co-operate and share
the results in proper proportion we will have industrial peace and progress on the earth. That vast
army of road-makers on the plains would have been
helpless without the directing minds of the men who
were the brain centres that kept all in active movement, and the converse is equally the case.
And a certain nation that has recently experimented
in a new social order by destroying or exiling its men
96 Crossing the Prairie
of brain is the outstanding warning of our time against
such suicidal folly.
During this period of prairie construction there was
something almost uncanny in the way in which Mr,
Van Home seemed to be everywhere. Now in his
office in Winnipeg and now on the plains, riding on
flat cars or hand cars or in cabooses or, where the rails
were not laid, in wagons and buckboards over the
prairie. He knew railroading from the ground up
and did not hesitate to ventilate his views forcibly
if necessary. He would discharge, off-hand, men
who were indifferent to their work or who were disposed to shirk carrying out his orders. He sometimes ordered the impossible; but he expected men
to try the impossible without question. And yet
there was, withal, a heartiness, enthusiasm, magnetism
and energetic competency about the big chief that commanded the admiration of the men. They admired
his courage and nerve in going on inspection trips,
where, despite his weight, he walked ties and trestles
at dizzy heights and did other daring things. His
practiced eye could calculate what was dangerous or
otherwise. One day he asked an engine-driver to go
across a ticklish-looking place and the driver demurred. Van Home, who could drive an engine as well
as anyone, said, "Get down and I will take her over
myself," and the engineer had such faith in Van
Home's judgment that he said, "If you're not
scared I guess I aint, " and over he went to the other
97 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Under this energetic and unquestioned leadership
of Van Home who, at the same time, saw that the
men had abundant food of the best quality obtainable, there was record railway building accomplished on the plain in 1882, there being in one place
a phenomenal register of twenty miles in three days.
But the handicap of the Red River flood in the spring
had delayed operations, and it began to look as if the
promised 500 miles of road in 1882 would not materialize. Van Home called the engineers and contractors together and, metaphorically speaking, read them
the Riot Act and demanded that they get on with the
work at a faster pace. They declared they were
driving to the limit, but that the estimate could not
be reached. Van Home threatened to cancel their
contracts unless they would bring in more men and
horses and get ahead. This the contractors did and
with the added equipment they worked till stopped
by the winter cold. Even then Van Home brought
up his flying column and continued until nothing
more could be done on the frozen prairie. Then on
taking stock it was found that, counting sidings and
a section on the South-western Branch in Manitoba,
the estimate had been passed, although the actual
work on the main line showed about 445 miles, with
some more graded ready for the spring. The whole
thing was looked on as phenomenal and all the railway world wondered. The Company Directors in
Montreal were delighted, and they, in turn, delighted
the Dominion Government by declaring that, instead
of taking ten years as allowed by the contract, to
98 Crossing the Prairie
complete the road from ocean to ocean, the Canadian
Pacific would be in operation across the continent in
little more than half that time. When one considers
that the part of the road built up to the end of 1882,
being across the plains, was the easiest section, and
that the Laurentian rock wilderness around Lake
Superior, as well as the ramparts of the vast mountains, had still to be attacked, the fearless optimism of
the Directors and their whirlwind railway builder was
amazing. But the work that had been accomplished
showed the Government and the people of Canada
that things of an unprecedented kind in railway annals were being done in their new country. And it
also created in the hearts of people from sea to sea
such a feeling of nationhood that they began to realize
the illimitable possibilities of Canada. To such an
extent was this true that when, later, a day came in
which the Company needed the reinforcement of
Government backing to carry through the project in
the face of unexpected and gigantic obstacles, that
temporary backing was finally given with the general
approval of all but a few chronic opponents of the
road. No thinking person now ever affirms that the
Government was wrong in the emergent action taken
at a crisis time in the history of Canada.
When the spring of 1883 opened Van Home was
facing the problem of building on the rocky North
Shore, finishing the prairie section and then storming
the bastions of the mountains which seemed to frown
defiance against the invader of their sublime precincts.    The North Shore came first of the new sec-
99 riJF»r
The Romance of the C.P.R.
tions, as the prairie region could be left to the ordinary routine now that it had gone so far towards the
foothills, and would proceed as a matter of course on
into the mountains. It was not comforting in that
anxious hour to the Directors of the Canadian Pacific
and to Van Home, who had declined to accept any
alternative to the North Shore line, to find that, to
head off help from financial men, both they and the
people who would back them in their big undertaking were held up to ridicule by a Grand Trunk pamphlet issued in London, the money centre of the world.
The famous pamphlet practically stated that to
build, under the contract a railway across the North
Shore of Lake Superior was a piece 6f madness, and
hence that men of finance who backed it should be
looked after by their friends. It was not comforting reading for the Canadian Pacific men at that particular juncture, but it was a: good answer later on to
those politicians and agitators who talked as if the
Canadian Pacific had despoiled the Dominion in
order to build their transcontinental road. The
Grand Trunk pamphlet said that the country north
of the Lake was a perfect blank even on the maps
of Canada. All that is known of the region, it said, is
that "It would be impossible to construct this one
section for the whole cash subsidy provided by the
Canadian Government for the entire scheme." Thus
out of the mouth of a hostile witness there is evidence
that the Canadian Pacific Railway subsidy, as outlined in the contract, was considered utterly inade-
100 Crossing the Prairie
quate, even by men who were making special study
of railway undertakings.
In reality the Grand Trunk pamphlet was, in so far
as the cost of construction was concerned, based upon
a pretty sound conjecture. The cost of the North
Shore was terrific and, doubtless, there and at
other places, many a contractor discovered that unexpected difficulties had upset his calculations. It is
worth while to say here, as applicable to the whole
undertaking, that, though the contractors did not
know it during the period of their work, the Canadian
Pacific, on discovering that a contractor had lost
seriously, began investigation with the desire to give
a square deal. If they found that the contractor
had taken reasonable precautions with his estimates
and calculations, but had met with conditions and
obstacles beyond his power to have foreseen, or to
control when they arose, the Company, without any
ostentation, took steps to save deserving men from loss
as far as possible. No company in commercial life can
be a benevolent association in the ordinary sense, nor
can it be reckless with the funds of shareholders who
have invested their money in its undertakings. But
from the beginning, the Canadian Pacific, while-
bearing all that in mind, made a reputation for dealing with men, in all matters, in a big way, till, with
the passing of the years, there was built up a tradition which made mean and small things a positive
contradiction of the Company's policy.
Mr. Van Home did not require to read the above-
101 The Romance of the C.P.R.
mentioned Grand Trunk pamphlet to learn about the
difficulty of building on the North Shore of Lake
Superior. He knew all that a great deal better than
the pamphleteer. The North Shore was a big problem. But as Sir Charles Tupper, the war-like
minister of Railways, once said of this railroader:
"No problem that ever arose had any terrors for
him. "
Van Home, therefore, went ahead. He attacked
the problem from the great lake whose north shore
he was going to iron down or fill up to a level roadway
for the steel track. He decided, therefore, that for
the most part he would not build far back from the
shore even though tracklaying might be easier there,
for he wanted to land supplies for the work by water
transportation. This would be cheaper and would
facilitate distribution. In order to carry out this
plan he acquired the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway, and thus made connection between the East
and the Lake at Owen Sound. From that point he
had steamers to carry the supplies and land them at
certain distances along the North Shore. When the
winter set in, these supplies were distributed by horse
and mule teams and even by dog-trains, where the
snow and the ice on the little lakes off the main shore
permitted. With the advent of the summer, small
boats on these little lakes, and wagons elsewhere,
were used to distribute endless loads of material
along the right of way.
Though supplies were thus on hand, it was 1884
before tracklaying on the North Shore was regularly
102 Crossing the Prairie
in operation. We get some idea of the immensity
of the work and the tremendous energy that had to
be put forth to complete it when we find a great host
of 12,000 men and 5,000 horses at work on this section
as well as a tracklaying machine to relieve the gangs,
who found it almost impossible to do track labour
in the ordinary fashion, on account of mosquito-
infested swamps encountered here and there. Van
Home imported this machine from Chicago. It was
new to the French-Canadian tracklayers, and its
almost human action seemed to them rather uncanny ;
but they soon adapted themselves to its operation and
found it a valued ally. There was an enormous amount
of blasting to be done, and to lessen the cost and the
danger of importing the high explosives necessary,
three dynamite factories were erected to produce the
supply for distribution to near-by points. Despite every possible care exercised in this regard, it was
inevitable that in such an army of men there would
be a good deal of danger in the handling of explosives
in the ordinary course of their duty. They knew
the danger, but they went on steadily with their
work. In consequence there was such considerable
loss of human life along that wild section of the railway that those who now enjoy the pleasure and the
profit of travel and traffic by the picturesque inland
fresh-water sea of Superior ought to recall that the
splendid road-bed was laid, not only at vast cost in
substance, but with much sacrifice of that infinitely
greater thing, human life. And "if peace hath her
victories no less renowned that war," there is no
J The Romance of the C.P.R.
real reason why we should unfairly discriminate between men who have, in the course of duty, given
their lives in the one or the other sphere. And there
is no reason why we should not value equally the possessions that have come to us by the sacrifice of men
in the ways of necessary industry or in the struggles
of unavoidable war.
As the work proceeded on the North Shore,
some new methods were introduced rather unexpectedly. We say unexpectedly, because there
had been very little work done before that time
in Canada over similar territory. The process
of levelling rocks down was found to be practically impossible, on account of the great expense
and time involved in the effort. So the plan of
levelling up was tried with excellent results. Wooden
trestles were built in a great many places between
the rocks. Then the construction trains came over
and dumped broken stone until the space below was
filled up with the best possible material out of which
to make a safe and durable road-bed. In order to
get the material for this process, great quarries were
opened up all along the line, whence crushed rock was
taken to find the new and excellent use just mentioned.
Of course all this tremendous expenditure of labour
and capital on the North Shore gave the critics of the
whole Canadian transcontinental railway idea a new
opportunity. Capt. Palliser's report as to the impracticability of a railway across the continent on
British soil, Mackenzie's idea in regard to using the
water stretches for transportation as links in a trans-
I Crossing the Prairie
continental system, as well as the early Stephen-Hill
plan of linking up with Hill's line at Sault Ste. Marie,
and thus having traffic between East and West in
Canada go for some few hundred miles through the
States—all these arguments were brought out to
support the statement that Canada would be ruined
by such wild schemes as building a railway section
across the barren waste of rock on the North Shore.
These persistent endeavours to block the work of
construction were having their pernicious effect in
sowing the seeds of discontent throughout the Dominion. And, what was much more serious, these statements, sown broadcast in the Old Country, made
London centres of finance dubious in regard to the
judgment of the railway directors who would undertake such an exceedingly difficult piece of work.
This means that the raising of money in London was
practically impossible. British investors have always
been venturous enough and will, when Empire interests are in the balance, be ready, for patriotic
motives, to take some special hazards. But in this
case they were being told by mischief-makers not
only that the North Shore section was outrageously
expensive, but that, according to the honest opinion
of as great an authority as Sandford Fleming, it
should not be constructed with the hope of making
running expenses until the West had a population
of three millions. It had then not many thousands.
And the British investors were being also informed by
opponents and rivals of the Canadian Pacific that no
Imperial interests would suffer if the North Shore con-
105 The Romance of the C.P.R.
struction was postponed indefinitely and traffic allowed to go through the States according to Hill's
suggestion. Even the contractors and the men on
the North Shore began to lose heart, as men will
who are being made to feel that they are engaged in a
work that is not only dangerous and unnecessary,
but likely to prove unprofitable should the Company
become insolvent through the terrific expenditure.
And these men began to lose even the incentive to
endeavour when they were also told that they were
engaged in a task which resembled the mythological
case of Sisyphus, who was condemned to roll a great
stone up a hill only to have it always slip at the top
and roll down again. No man likes that endless and
fruitless prospect in his work. Nor does he like working on a tower which will have to be left uncompleted
for lack of means.
But amid all this discouragement Van Home
remained doggedly determined to make an all-Canadian line and to build the railway on the North Shore.
He doubtless used some strong language in regard to
the hostile and the faint-hearted, but he pushed
ahead with the stolidly unemotional will-power of his
Dutch ancestry. As his ancestors in Holland had
successfully dyked against the inroads of the ocean,
Van Home defied the seas of pessimistic and hostile
criticism to inundate his life and put out the fire of
his purpose. Then in the midst of this struggle an
opportunity came his way. And his keen brain
seized upon it with the swift precision of a steel-trap
in action.    One Louis Riel, who had stirred up a
106 rebellion against Canadian authority in 1869, and
had been hibernating in Montana for the intermediate years, began stirring up another revolt in the
Saskatchewan country in 1884. Those guardians of
the North-West, the Mounted Police, scattered over
the vast area in small detachments, had notified the
Canadian authorities ten months or so before the
actual outbreak came in March, 1885. However,
that is not part of our present story, beyond our
saying that it looked at one time, to those of us who
were on the ground, as if the whole Middle West,
with its thousands of war-like Indians, would in a
short time be swept by a prairie fire of rebellion which
would leave ruin and desolation in its wake. It was
vitally necessary that in such an event there should be;
without delay, an overwhelming demonstration of force
made by the Canadian authorities. Riel was sending his runners through the half-breed settlements
and Indian camps, telling these primitive and uninformed people that if they all rose they could drive
the Canadians off the plains and have these vast
spaces for themselves and the wild game again.
Mr. Van Home, who had been up and down the
prairie part of his line frequently, had been watching
the rising cloud of discontent amongst the half-breeds
there. He did not worry over the political aspects
of the situation, but he saw that if the Indians were
to be drawn into revolt there would be a general
devastation over the whole country. He at once
saw the possibility of demonstrating to the country
the value of the railway as a carrier of troops to the
107 IF
The Romance of the C.P.R.
West, if necessity arose. He pointed Out to members
of the Dominion Government that the Company
would in such a contingency have a strong claim on
the Government for help in the financial crisis to
which, by reason of the tremendous expenditure in
construction, he saw the road to be swiftly and inevitably heading. A member of the Government told
Van Home that the possibility of having to send
troops to the West would undoubtedly put a new
face on any application by the Railway to the Dominion for a loan to tide them over their difficulties.
It was only the brilliant and marvellously resourceful work of Shaughnessy, in Montreal, in this period
that was making the continuance of the work possible, and that was preventing impatient creditors
from launching proceedings against the Company.
Thinking "as if his brain were packed in ice," this
consummately cool and alert purchasing agent seemed
to make a thousand dollars grow where there was
only one before. The thousand dollar amount was
not actually there, but he handled the situation as if
it was visibly in existence. He promised and threatened alternately. He made partial payments and
told creditors that if they pressed unduly the Company would do no more business with them. He gave
notes and arranged collateral with such extraordinary skill that, so far as I can find, no claim for
money due in the ordinary way was ever brought into
court, and no note ever signed by the Company ever
went to protest. But despite Shaughnessy's masterly handling of the situation, things were desperate
108 Crossing the Prairie
enough, although Stephen, Smith and Angus were
pledging their private property and turning over
their private investments to keep things in operation.
And now the mountain section had to be completed.
More millions would have to be found somewhere. No
one seemed to know where to replenish the empty
treasury, and the mental strain on the members of
the Board was terrible. The fight against rocks and
swamps and mountains wagerj by the Company and
contractors and men was fierce enough, but it was not
to be compared with the constant battle that had to
be waged by the Directors against heart-breaking
and nerve-shattering financial conditions, for years
after the signing of the original agreement with the
Government of Canada for the building of the road.
In the next chapter we shall study this particular
phase of the subject for a space.
Battling for Life
\Y/E CAN say at once, in explanation of the finan-
* * cial struggles before mentioned, that the Canadian Pacific Railway» was constructed to a finish
across Canada in a period of monetary storm and
stress. Leaving out of count the early years when
the successive Governments were building short
stretches here and there, in a way so leisurely that no
financial difficulties occurred, beyond the ordinary
impecuniosity which haunts all Governments, the
period from 1881 to 1885 was pre-eminently a difficult time. During those years everybody was having
what men on the prairies call "hard sledding"—an
expression taken from the experience of travel with
sleighs when the thaw has left bare patches on the
plains. On those patches the sleigh runners catch
with a disheartening tenacity and impede progress.
At such junctures it is fortunate if there are several
men travelling together, because by "doubling up"
their teams they can get over the otherwise impossible gap. Life is full of opportunities for mutual
helpfulness, and the great railway which now spans
the continent and bridges the oceans found itself
more than once, in the construction period above
mentioned, at the end of its resources and had to call
on  the  Dominion  Government  for temporary  as-
110 Battling for Life
sistance. It was a case where "doubling up" became necessary if the hard places were to be traversed.
We are not sure that the Government was as willing
and ready to assist as the ordinary good-natured and
open-hearted teamster used to be on the prairie. But
even a Government, which should be cautious because it handles trust funds for the people, may be
brought to see when an unforeseen expenditure can be
and must be made, in the interests of the people
themselves. In this particular case of the Dominion Government and the Canadian Pacific Railway
the Government would not and did not at any time
give even a temporary loan till it had made the most
exhaustive investigation into the whole problem.
There are some facts so outstanding that even a superficial investigation could find, without much delay,
why the Company required and deserved temporary
assistance by way of loan during the construction
period in a trying era.
It should be remembered, to begin with, that the
principal men in the Company, Stephen, Smith and
Angus, were men of practically independent means
before they entered on railroading with Hill in St.
Paul. In their association with Hill, owing to causes
set forth in a preceding chapter, they had become
very wealthy in a short time and hence did not have
to take up any further work of the kind. Of worldly
goods they had enough and to spare and might have
reasonably, from their own standpoint, continued the even tenor of their ways in their ordinary
and familiar occupations in Canada.    But Sir John
111 mm
The Romance of the C.P.R.
Macdonald, as soon as he knew that their wealth had
become great, and that they would be looking for
new avenues for investment, approached them with
an appeal to undertake the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was the biggest railway
construction project in the world, and the proposal
to build the road, except by slow stages, was characterized, not only by prominent public men, but by
some well-known experts, as sheer madness. Stephen,
as we have seen, was not disposed to go into such a
huge undertaking at all. There was no mercenary
reason why this already successful trio should make
this hazardous attempt. However, the appeal of
patriotic duty to their country, as well as the fascination of immensity in task, finally drew these Canadian men into the enterprise. And once they took
up the matter it is well-known and can now be told
thatthey put not only themselves, but all they had, into
the determination to carry it through to a successful
issue. Hence they deserved the commendation of
the country and not the condemnation, for their
Twice the Company had to apply to the Government for either loan or guarantee of bonds, and during
the months when these matters were hanging in the
balance, the founders of the Company and the
General Manager and Purchasing Agent, as well as
other responsible officials, passed through what can
be truly called agonizing experiences. To these
experiences they gave utterance at times. It is
anticipating somewhat and disregarding sequence for
112 Battling for Life
the moment, but during those years we have it on the
word of friends that Stephen returned one evening to
the Russell House after a vain effort to get Sir John
A. Macdonald to say that he would recommend that
a loan should be made. Stephen, upon whom, as
President, there was unusual strain, threw himself
into a chair in the rotunda and when an acquaintance
passing the time of day said, "How are you?" Stephen, without looking up, replied " I feel like a ruined
man." One day he shed tears in the office of Mr.
Collingwood Schreiber, not because he cared for himself, but because it looked as if the whole great project
of the Canadian Pacific was going to a crash that
would block the future of Canada for a time at least.
On another night Mr. Stephen, after a hopeless sort
of interview with the Government, came down the
Russell House stair grip in hand and told Senator
Frank Smith, a gallant friend of the railway, that he
was going to Montreal to make a personal assignment
of all he possessed. Even the redoubtable Van Home
wired frantically one day that the pay car could not
go out because there was nothing in it! On another
day he said to Mr. Schreiber at Ottawa, "If the
Government does not help us we are finished. " And
shortly afterwards, meeting Sir John Macdonald in
the corridor, he said, "Sir John, we are dangling over
the pit of hell and ruin." On another occasion,
when the Directors were in session, the Chairman
said, " Gentlemen, it looks as if we had to burst "
But Donald A. Smith looked hard at him and said,
" It may be that we must succumb, but that must not
113 The Romance of the C.P.R.
be as long as we individually have a dollar." And
it is related that he went out and raised on his personal security enough to meet pressing accounts
which Shaughnessy said had to be paid at once.
My impression is that Donald A. Smith, with that
craggy head and beetling brow of his, was the most
doggedly determined Director of them all, though less
able as a financier and diplomatist than Stephen, to
whom, generally speaking, those who know the history of the road quite properly give endless credit for
his masterly work as President of the Company.
After writing the preceding sentence, I came across
the following statement by Sir Charles Tupper, who
himself did so much to carry the great project through.
He said in 1897: "The Canadian Pacific Railway
would have no existence to-day, notwithstanding
all the Government did to support the undertaking,
had it not been for the indomitable pluck and energy
and determination, both financially and in every
other respect, of Sir Donald Smith. "
I can quite understand some reader putting in a
question here, as to how it was that men of such
ability, after having estimated the cost of constructing
the Canadian Pacific, found themselves at the end of
their resources within two years of their taking the
contract. It is not enough to say, although it was
true, that there was an immense amount of unexpected expenditure in battering the way through the
Laurentian rocks on the North Shore of Lake Superior, and in boring a road through the mountains of
British Columbia. There were other causes for the
114 Battling for Life
hard circumstances that came upon the railway.
The chief reasons for the financial difficulties of
the Railway Company, beyond what has been already
indicated, lay in the facts that, succeeding the boom
inflation in the West in 1881, there came a very
serious depression all over the country. On account
of this, immigration fell far short of what was expected. In consequence, both freight and passenger
traffic was very scanty. The Railway Company, for
the same reasons, could not realize anything worth
while on its land, which was for the first ten years a
drag on the Company rather than an asset, as can be
readily ascertained by a study of the question. Thus
the two main sources of expected revenue failed to
materialize. In addition, the threatening discontent
of the half-breed population which culminated in
the Riel outbreak, further discouraged the incoming
of settlers. Resolutions, passed unwisely at conventions in Manitoba, warning immigrants not to
come until there were other railways linking up with
the States, being used by immigration agents for
other countries created a bad impression as to the
Canadian West. And because investors abroad were
also influenced against the Canadian Pacific at the
financial centres of London and New York, by certain
rival railway interests, the assets of the Canadian
road could not be turned into money. In this connection it is well to recall again the bitter "Disallowance" agitation carried on against the Canadian Pacific, chiefly in Manitoba, all through the construction period.    There was persistent effort made by
115 The Romance of the C.P.R.
that Province to charter local railways, mainly linking up with the United States systems, despite the
clause in the Canadian Pacific contract with the
Government to the contrary. The charters granted
by Manitoba were promptly disallowed by the Dominion Government, mainly, first, because of the
contract with the Canadian Pacific, second, because
money could not be raised to build the main line of
the Canadian Pacific if the productive areas along
that road should be tapped by rival roads, and, third,
because it was contended that the East had made
tremendous sacrifices to build the road and that on
that account Western traffic ought to go over the
North Shore to build up the Eastern part of Canada,
rather than go southward to build up a foreign
The Canadian Pacific, in self defence, would not
yield to the granting of rival charters, and the Dominion Government said they would keep faith according to the terms of the contract. But Manitoba
would not be appeased and made many attempts,
even to violence, to break the "monopoly" clause.
I recall passing on a Canadian Pacific train to Southern Manitoba, and seeing large forces of men at a
point where a road from the south was striving to
cross the Canadian railway. A Canadian Pacific
locomotive on a switch hastily constructed, barred
the way and some 200 men stood beside it to prevent
the crossing. The agitation checked immigration,
and produced altogether a condition exceedingly
harmful to the West for a time.    But the Canadian
116 Battling for Life
Pacific was clearly within its rights and this was part
of its battle for life during that period.
One cannot remember that fiery era without recalling how fortunate it was for the Canadian Pacific
Railway that its Western representative was William
Whyte, a princely type of man, whose courage, imperturbable coolness and inflexible determination
made him a tower of strength. People might fight
the railway, but no one of right mind could dislike
William Whyte, whose high character and immense
personal popularity with all classes, including especially all employees of the road, made him unassailable. Leaving much of the administration of his
office to men like the genuine, and diplomatic, "Jim"
Manson, Whyte (who was knighted later for his services to the Empire) gave much time to the "disallowance" problem, and to preventing open trouble
as far as possible. But there was general satisfaction
when Manitoba, under the continued work of men
like John Norquay, Thomas Greenway and Joseph
Martin, in the local Government of Manitoba, persuaded the Dominion authorities to cancel the
"Monopoly" clause by giving the Canadian Pacific
compensation. The whole agitation, however sincere, had greatly hampered the development of the
country, and crippled very considerably the efforts of
the Canadian Pacific in a confessedly difficult period
of wide-spread depression.
Some railways in the wealthy country to the south
were, for various reasons, going into the hands of the
receivers during the construction period of the Cana-
117 The Romance of the C.P.R.
dian Pacific. So that, despite the consummate ability
of the Canadian Pacific financiers, it is small wonder
that the Company saw bankruptcy looming up ahead.
Even Stephen and Shaughnessy could not make
bricks without straw. And all the time Van Home
was driving ahead with construction at top speed.
He knew the situation, but declared that any stoppage
or even slackening up would lead to the Company
being pounced on by creditors, who would wind it up.
His view was that the whole undertaking must be
kept alive as a hopeful, going enterprise, and that its
position would improve immensely when it, refusing
to acknowledge defeat, spanned the continent to the
Western seas. Even then, Van Home, as after events
proved, had his eye on trade with the Orient as a
great feeder to the road. So he went ahead, and let
the others find the money, though at times he took a
hand, in his trenchant way, in letting the Government know what he thought of the whole situation.
It was late in 1883 when the Canadian Pacific,
which had been keeping the facts before the Government at Ottawa, made formal application for a loan
of twenty-two and a-half millions to ward off failure.
The situation was desperate, but the Government,
which had a lively recollection of the fight put up
against the original contract, was afraid to risk defeat
by granting the request. The security offered for
the loan was to all appearance ample, as it included a
lien on the Company's main line, the branch lines in
Manitoba, and the unpledged land grant. In addition they gave the astonishing pledge that they
k Battling for Life
would clip five years off the contract term and finish
the road in 1886. Sir John Macdonald, who always
kept his hand on the public pulse, knew that people
in the East were being persuaded by the Parliamentary Opposition that the West was being developed
at the expense of the East. Men in his own cabinet,
and many of his supporters in the House, were being
infected with that idea, despite all efforts to make
them see that, in the long run, the development of
the West would be an immense gain to the East.
Sir John, with the prospect of a divided cabinet,
possible defection amongst his own followers in the
House, as well as the bitter attitude of the Opposition
and the likelihood of a revolt in the country against
the granting of the loan, was indisposed to yield.
Things looked black for the Canadian Pacific.
Stephen was utterly discouraged after interviews
with Sir John, and it was on one of those occasions
that he was giving up and leaving Ottawa for Montreal when Senator Frank Smith prevailed on him to
wait over till they wrould have a midnight interview
with Sir John. Even that interview seemed fruitless till Mr. John Henry Pope went to Sir John and
told him that if the loan was not granted, the Canadian Pacific would go to the wall, the Conservative
party would go with it, and all Canada would be in
a panic. Sir John did not want to smash Canada nor
the Conservative party, and he explained that he was
personally in favour of the loan and would try to get
his Cabinet and party united in an effort to put it
through the House.    This was enough for Mr. Pope,
119 The Romance of the C.P.R.
who knew Sir John's powers, and at two o'clock in
the morning Pope returned to the well-nigh despairing Stephen and the rest, and uttered simply
the tonic words, "Well, he will do it."
In the meantime Sir Charles Tupper, who, while
still holding the portfolio of Minister of Railways,
was in London as High Commissioner for Canada,
had been cabled for to come to the rescue. He left
for Ottawa at once and, on arrival in Canada, found
everybody at their wits' end. He got Mr. Miall,
the expert Government accountant, and Mr. Colling-
wood Schreiber, the highly respected and able Government engineer, to work on the Railway Company's
books in Montreal. They reported everything satisfactory, and Mr. Schreiber, whose word went a long
way, recommended the granting of the loan.
But there was still the task of getting the Cabinet
united on the subject, and the caucus of the Government members in the House into a favourable and
unanimous attitude. Fortunately for the Government, the Canadian Pacific and the country at
large, the Cabinet had in its number the rare personalities of the magnetic and diplomatic Sir John
Macdonald and the formidable, fearless Sir Charles
Tupper, who made a sort of irresistible combination.
Sir John could sway by the conciliatory eloquence and
the appealing personal touches which held the devoted allegiance of his party to the "old Chieftain"
through many extraordinary vicissitudes in his long
career. Sir Charles could marshall arguments
with the consummate forensic power of which he was
120 Battling for Life
a master, and thus became a veritable regiment of
storm troops to carry his points and reach his objective. These two men solidified their own party and,
despite a fierce resistance from their opponents in
the House, the Bill authorizing the loan was carried,
as Sir Charles said, "at the point of the bayonet. "
This relief gave the Company a new lease of life
and the work, which had never slackened, even
though men had to wait for their pay, was forced
ahead by the aggressive Van Home, while Shaughnessy handled every dollar with such consummate
skill that it seemed to do the work of two. But the
terrific expenditure in construction on the North
Shore and through the mountains caused the twenty
odd millions to melt like snow before the sun. Smashing the rocks and levelling up the chasms on the
North Shore, and finding a sure foundation in shaking and almost bottomless morasses which sucked
down material like an insatiable undertow, all meant
enormous unforeseen expenditure. The Company
would not allow any careless work and, if necessary,
the contractors would stay at one spot for months
till the road-bed was absolutely secure. Van Home
was rushing to complete the railway, but he was too
thorough a railroader to sacrifice security to speed in
construction. Expense was of no consequence. He
was going to "get the work done right and send in
the bills to Stephen and Shaughnessy. "
Just at the juncture when the railway seemed in
imminent danger of coming to a sudden halt because
its coffers were again bare, and the Government was
121 The Romance of the C.P.R.
afraid that the country would not stand for any more
assistance to be given to what some thought was a
wild commercial venture, an event occurred which
threw the Canadian Pacific into the limelight as an
undertaking of immense Imperial value. That event
was the Riel Rebellion, which Van Home had foreseen as a possibility and concerning which he had
warned the powers at Ottawa when he told them that
if it did occur, he would carry troops from the East to
the prairies in the space of a few days. Sir John Macdonald and the Government refused to think such
an event possible. However, it came with sudden
and deadly emphasis when at Duck Lake, in March,
1885, on the North Saskatchewan, a small force of
civilians and police suffered heavily in a sort of rebel
ambuscade. Fifteen years before, this same Riel had,
at Fort Garry, run amuck, and then it had taken six
months for the soldiers under Col. Wolseley, coming
by land and water, to reach the scene. Now, in 1885,
with the Lakes frozen and no chance of going through
the United States with armed men, the whole middle
West might be swept by the carnage of semi-savage
rebels on the war path. The time had come for Van
Home to play a winning card, and he played it. The
Government made frantic appeal to him because
months before he had intimated his willingness to
help in such an event. But before their appeal was
actually known to the general public, Van Home had
trains ready with steam up at the centres in the East
where troops would make their points of departure.
He knew that there were gaps on the North Shore and
122 Battling for Life
that there would be hardships, but to reduce these
to a minimum he stipulated that he and Shaughnessy
and the Railway Company officials should have complete control of both transportation and commissariat. He always believed, for he had proven it by
many a test, that when men were well fed with
nourishing food and stimulated for special effort with
strong black coffee, they could do and endure greatly.
And so he would not leave the soldiers to the tender
mercies of inexperienced quarter-masters with meagre
supplies on the bleak North Shore of Lake Superior.
In one or two places the soldiers had to march
along the shore-ice on the lake. In other places they
were taken by teams and sleighs, or else on flat cars
over some hastily laid track. They had what might
well be called a hard time over part of the way, but
soldiers do not expect luxury on active service, and
they got through in fewer days to Winnipeg than it
had taken of months to accomplish in Wolseley's expedition, years before. From Winnipeg the troops,
with their Western comrades, were distributed by
rail and trail over the plains as far as the mountains,
and the rebellion was soon quelled. From that day
the most fiery opponents of the North Shore section
of the Railway, the chief point of critical attack,
found their calling gone and had to subside. Some
of them would still oppose the whole system through
force of habit, but the extraordinary and unexpected service rendered by the Railway in a crisis
time would make it comparatively easy for even a
cautious Goyernment to give temporary help to the
123 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Company, with the consent and approval of the
grateful Canadian people. Not only so, but the
Canadian Pacific Railway had thus suddenly become
of such significance and value as an all-British route
across the North American continent that men in
the Old Land who believed in the continuance of the
Empire realized as never before that a new factor in
Imperialism had come into history. This railway was
seen to be not only a commercial transportation
company which traversed a portion of an overseas
Dominion, but a great link in the chain of an Empire
that girdled the earth. It would no longer be ignored
in the financial circles of London, where the centre
of Empire stood.
Meanwhile, right on through the rebellion, the
work was being pushed ahead in the mountains,
although it was not generally known then that the
Company at first had boldly thrust its spear-head
against the embattled hills without very definite
knowledge of how it was to get through beyond the
Rockies. The Kicking-Horse Pass showed the way,
along its flashing, frothing river, through the Rockies,
but for some time there was doubt about how the
Selkirk Range was to be pierced. So anxious was the
Company about this problem that Mr. Sandford
Fleming, the famous engineer, was summoned by
cable from the Old Country to look into the situation.
He journeyed by train to Calgary and went by trail
through the Kicking Horse, but just then Major
Rogers, a hard-bitten, adventurous man, acting on
some information given by Walter Moberly years
L Battling for Life
before, discovered the famous pass called Rogers' Pass
to this day. Rogers was an American engineer who,
with his nephew Albert (after whom Albert Canyon
was called by Principal Grant of Queen's University,
Secretary to Sandford Fleming on his journeys) had
explored amid much hardships to find a pass through
the Selkirks. When he did find it, the Company was
so pleased that a bonus cheque for $5,000 was sent
to Rogers. A few months afterwards Van Home met
Rogers and reminded him that he had never cashed
the cheque. Rogers, who was well educated, but
rough at times in temper and language, evidently
had abundant sentiment withal. For he replied,
"Do you think I would cash that cheque? I was
not out there for money, but to have a hand in a big
project. No, sir, I have that cheque framed in my
brother's house in Waterville, Minnesota, where my
nephews and nieces can see it as a token of some
work their old uncle did in his time. "
Contractors who became famous later on in various
ways were at work on the mountain section. The
work on the prairies had been child's play compared
to it. A good old Scotch elder who came in to see me
at the Coast twenty years ago was amazed at the
enormous task that had been accomplished. In
political life in Manitoba he had attacked what
people called "the ruinous expenditure" on the road.
But he said to me then, in 1903, in Vancouver:
"Now that I have seen it I wonder that men ever
undertook the work at any price, and so far as I am
concerned I am  through with criticism of the expen-
125 The Romance of the C.P.R.
diture on construction." And then the good
man added, "The fact is that if the good Lord had
not bored through the mountains with rivers there
is not enough money in the Empire to build to the
Coast." There was much in what this honest man
said that day.
The expenditure was almost incredible. Where
the rivers ran, there was, for miles on end, the necessity for cutting into the solid rock to get room for the
road-bed and trains. There were miles of snowsheds
to be built, and tunnels through solid rock almost
without number. Up the mountain sides there were
built various devices to protect the road and make
it safe from slides and avalanches. Rivers were deflected from their channels and retaining walls were
built. When I first passed over the road, not
many years after it was opened, there seemed to be
leagues of trestles, now filled in or replaced by steel
or tunnels. Everywhere there was need for the
ceaseless flow of millions of money. But Van Home,
who knew all about the business, saw that nothing
was left undone to make the road beyond criticism.
And so well was the work done that once, shortly
after the road was completed, Van Home, who was
taking some arbitrators over the mountains to value
the government construction section, had the engineer
run over fifty miles an hour to show these gentlemen
"that the Company section was a real railroad even
if the government sections were not. "
It was no wonder that with the vast expenditure
indicated by the above paragraphs the Directors saw
126 Battling for Life
that they must raise some more millions or perish.
Accordingly, in 1885, when the Riel Rebellion, by
reason of the service rendered by the Canadian
Pacific Railway in transportation of troops, had been
quelled, Stephen approached the Dominion Government again for assistance. • The rebellion services of
the railway had solidified the Government support
in the House, which was then in session, and had
pretty well silenced the Opposition. The assets of
the Railway were already subject to a lien for the
former loan, but the Government, besides a few
minor concessions, finally allowed the Directors to
issue $35,000,000 stock, of which it was to guarantee
$20,000,000, the rest to be issued by the Railway
Directors. Stephen went to London, not very hopefully, to sell this bond issue. The Directors in Canada waited anxiously to hear the result, for the bankruptcy of the road and of the Directors (though they
cared less for that) was only hours away if Stephen's
mission failed. Sir Charles Tupper, then High
Commissioner for Canada in London, that steadfast friend of the road, had done some most effective
preparatory work with the famous banking house
of the Barings, of which Lord Revelstoke was the
head. Stephen had scarcely begun his explanation
of the situation when Lord Revelstoke broke in and
said, "We have been looking into the whole matter
already. We are satisfied with the outlook in Canada
and the future of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and
will take over the whole issue of your stock at ninety-
one. "    Stephen was overjoyed, because the question
127 The Romance of the C.P.R.
of the solvency of the great railway was settled for all
time. He sent an exultant cable at once to Canada.
Mr. Angus and Mr. Van Home were in the Board
Room in Montreal when it was delivered. They read
it with a sort of glad surprise too deep for words.
They were matter-of-fact men, but they shook hands
with some emotion. Then they threw some of the
chairs about and danced around the room. The
relief to the tension had come and they had to relax
somehow.    They were human.
They, knew in that hour that the road would be
completed. And out along the line in the great
mountains there would be a station called Revelstoke. And where the steel met from the East and
the West, there would be another station named
" Craigellachie, " after the Gaelic cablegram meaning
"stand fast," which Stephen, as we have already
recorded, had sent to his cousin, Donald A. Smith
(Strathcona), in the dark days some years before.
The name would remind succeeding generations of
the men whose steadfastness was like unto that of
Craigellachie, the unshaken rock in the old glen of
Ocean to Ocean
A S WE have followed the story of railway con-
**struction across the continent, over the North
Shore, athwart the vast plains and on into the mountains, our eyes have been on the Western sea. It
was to win and hold the illimitable spaces of the
North-West that the Canadian Pacific was first conceived, and it was specially to link up British Columbia with her sister Provinces to the east that the
iron horses were being driven on steel trails to drink
on the sunset shore of Canada.
But we must always keep in mind the fact that
this railway was to be transcontinental in its extent,
and that it was down by the Atlantic, first of all, that
men who saw visions and dreamed dreams forecasted
its great destiny by land and sea. They saw it spanning the continent, continuing across the Pacific, and
finally, under one system, girdling the globe. Others,
earlier, made conjectures and expressed vague hopes,
but the most clear and confident note of prophecy
was sounded by Joseph Howe at Halifax, in 1851,
in the famous speech quoted in our first chapter.
Later, in the old Province of Quebec, where in a sense
Confederation was first definitely outlined at the
Conference of the Fathers of Confederation in 1864,
this   prophetic   note   was   taken   up and rendered
129 /I^^ffl
The Romance of the C.P.R.
more emphatic.    Thus were the Atlantic statesmen
planning ahead.
Moreover, it is interesting to recall that it was Mr.
Sandford Fleming, the engineer of the Intercolonial,
peculiarly an Atlantic Railway, who was called on to'
explore a railroad way to the Pacific. It was his
secretary on that expedition, the brilliant and versatile Rev. (later Principal) George Munro Grant,
then of Halifax, who made the expression "Ocean to
Ocean" current coin in Canada, by publishing a
book under that title. And still another Halifax
writer, Robert Murray, immortalized the expression,
by composing a remarkable hymn with the same
designation. Thus were the oceans early linked
prophetically by patriotic seers and mystics.
Just now I am looking at the realization of these
dreams as portrayed in a unique picture which ought
to be found on the wall of every school in Canada.
This picture is commonly called "Driving the last
spike," and to the superficial observer, unacquainted
with the history of the Canadian Pacific, it means
simply the act of joining together the steel rails which
met at a given point in the mountains, as the tracklayers, working from East and West, finished their
protracted task. But, in reality, it means much
more than a single isolated act along the progress of
the years. It is a composite deed into which is
merged and concentrated a long series of astonishing
achievements wrought by men of brain and brawn.
It represents many mental, moral and physical forces
converging into a climax which could only have been
130 Ocean to Ocean
attained by the persistent, determined efforts of
those who believed that obstacles are thrown in life's
pathway in order that men may wax strong through
the overcoming of them.
In this picture, "Driving the Last Spike, " there is
nothing to suggest "the shouting of captains and garments rolled in blood. " But for those who will study
and enquire, it holds the story of victory snatched
from the jaws of defeat, by a gallant constructive
army whose mission was not to destroy but to build,
for the welfare of a nation and lands beyond its
borders. That is why I say it should be on the walls
of our schoolrooms, in order that teachers might
relate to young Canadians the story of an amazing
accomplishment on the fields of peace.
Just how amazing and how dangerous was the
task of building through certain parts of the mountains, not far from the scene portrayed in the picture,
may be gathered from the experiences .of the engineering staff. As I am writing I recall that Mr.
Noel Robinson, a Vancouver newspaper man who
deserves much credit for his work in connection with
the work of old-timers, elicited once from Mr.
Henry J. Cambie, who put the road through the
Fraser River canyons, a few words on the subject.
Mr. Robinson says: "In response to some pressure
as to the difficulty of laying out the work—apart altogether from the difficulties of construction—Mr.
Cambie admitted that these were great. Mr. Cambie spoke particularly of the Cherry Bluffs section,
and said that quite a stretch of it was laid out by a
131 The Romance of the C.P.R.
few men, as there was only room for a few to work.
Two agile men, with experience on sailing vessels,
strung ropes from rock to rock or from tree to tree.
Then a few engineers, steadying themselves with these
ropes, went along in their bare feet to lay out the
work, with a precipice and then Kamloops Lake, of
unknown depth, down below them. Mr. Cambie
admitted that he was one of these engineers. One
of the engineers, Mr. Melchior Eberts, in 1881,
while climbing over a bluff covered with snow and
ice, slipped and fell head first down a steep slope, to
his death. Speaking of the difficulties, Mr. Cambie
went on to say: "We had to increase the curvature
beyond anything we had ever seen up to that time
on a main line of railway, and in order to get round
the face of some of the bluffs we had to construct
what we called grasshopper trestles, that is, trestles
with long posts on the outside, standing on steps cut
in the rock, and on the other side a very short post,
if any, because very often we had half a road-bed.
These things have since been done away with and
their places taken by retaining walls." In my own
conversation with Mr. Cambie he has spoken to me
feelingly about the loss of life through the canyons of
the Fraser during construction days. Practically all
the work was through rock which had to be dynamited in places where it was very difficult to get shelter when shots were fired. Men were drowned also
here and there along the river. Thus again we are reminded that this battle in time of peace was only won,
132 Ocean to Ocean
like other battles, by great sacrifice. These are things
we must never forget when we enjoy the results of
the struggles of others in our own or earlier days.
The spot at which the last spike was driven was
named Craigellachie, as already intimated. The
story of the name has not always been correctly told
in this connection, beyond saying that the word was
sent as a cablegram from Stephen to his fellow-directors in a crisis hour to encourage them not to give
way, though the position seemed hopeless at the
time. The expression is in reality not one word, but
two, Craig Ellachie. This was the name of a grey
rock in a Scottish glen, the home of a famous clan.
And the legend is that when the clansmen went forth
to war, the windswept pines and heather on the lonely
hilltop whispered to the forth-going men the war-cry
"Stand Fast, Craig Ellachie." And now, in a new
land, at a place where rails met through the steadfast
persistence of these Scottish men and others, the
mountains heard the echoing blow of the hammer
which is in the forefront of the picture, "Driving the
Last Spike." Contrary to a general impression,
created by the importance of the occasion and by
some writers, the last spike was not of gold, but iron,
like the other millions of them that had been driven
all along the line. The event itself was so intensely
dramatic that it needed not any conventional setting
to give it éclat. Mr. Van Home, who was not disposed to waste in any case, perhaps felt that iron was
more significant of the spirit in which determined
men had  accomplished the  apparently impossible.
133 The Romance of the C.P.R.
And so he had said in a matter-of-fact way, which was
in itself abundantly thrilling: "The last spike will
be as good an iron spike as there is between the two
oceans, and any one who wants to see it driven will
have to pay full fare. " The Directors who had passed
through the fierce fire of the economic struggle to
build the road could not afford, without a sort of
sacrilege, to have anything conventional to bring
people from the ends of the earth for the occasion.
There was grim, but splendid, simplicity about the
ceremony that was profoundly appropriate under
all the circumstances.
It was on November 7th, 1885, that the rails met
in the Eagle Pass section of the road, and a group of
men alighted from the train to be present when the
last spike would be driven. By general consensus
of opinion, the hammer to drive it was placed in the
hands of Donald A. Smith. It was a great honour,
but worthily bestowed on the white-haired veteran
and victor in a hundred fights against obstacles.
It was a far cry from the little village of Forres,
in Morayshire, to the way station of Craigellachie in
the mountains of Canada. But Donald A. Smith,
the lad who had left Forres with all his worldly possessions in a carpet bag, and endured cold and snow-
blindness in the Labrador till he rose to the higher
places in the Hudson's Bay Company, had now come
to stand on Canada's pioneer transcontinental steel
trail and drive the spike that would link up, into a
true Confederation, the scattered Provinces of the
134 Ocean to Ocean
Mr. Smith had not done much manual labour in
recent years. But he was no stranger to physical
toil. While in Labrador he had run with his dog
trains in winter, and in summer cultivated an astonishing garden and farm, which was a surprise to all who
visited the bleak locality. So, despite the years
that had elapsed since that time, Smith swung the
the sledge hammer with a will that day, and the iron
spike was driven home to forge a new link of Empire.
I have been listening in imagination to the echoes of
the hammer-blow through the passes and along the
mountain sides, and thence around the seven seas of
the Empire. For this was a right royal event, which
evoked swift messages from good Queen Victoria,
the Marquis of Lome, and many others who recognized the enormous Imperial significance of what had
taken place in the heart of the great mountains under
the British flag. And the day would come when
a great war was to break suddenly over the face of
the world. In that day of the Empire's danger she
would realize, even more vividly, the value of this
Canadian transcontinental road which, by the time
of that war, had transformed the Middle West of Canada from a wilderness into a vast storehouse of food
supplies. In that day of war the Canadian Pacific
would transport by land and sea hundreds of thousands of soldiers and labourers to the sphere of conflict,
and, from its own employees, would furnish for the
safety of the Empire not only a large quota of fighting
men, but some of the most expert railway builders
and transportation officers in the world.    All this
135 The Romance of the C.P.R.
was wrapped up potentially in the thrilling incident
of driving the last spike at Craigellachie.
So once more I look at the picture. The camera
could not take in a large group, but it is representative
in some fair degree of the men who made the event of
that day possible. Tracklayers and sectionmen,
engineers and contractors, superintendents and Directors, and others, were present, for they all had a
share in the victory. Some of them I can pick out
in the crowd; others are to me unknown. Some one,
whose face is hidden by a bystander, is holding
Donald A. Smith's overcoat, for the veteran had taken
it off in order to swing the hammer in workmanlike
fashion. The tall figure of Mr. Sandford Fleming,
his beard and hair white, with the snows that never
melt, is conspicuous near the foreground. He will
be remembered as the engineer-in-chief who blazed
the way through the mountains in the early days,
and who, though not then on the staff as engineer,
was called from the Old Country in 1883 to help in
finding a way through the Selkirks. After retiring
from the engineering staff he became a Director
of the Company and so remained to the end of a
distinguished and highly useful life. Other engineers
whom I see in the group are Marcus Smith, a quite
remarkable man who had general charge of the Coast
section; Major Rogers, the famed finder of Rogers
Pass through the Selkirks; and Henry J. Cambie, who
put the railway through the Fraser River canyons,
one of the most picturesque, but one of the most
difficult, portions along the line.    Van Home did not
136 Ocean to Ocean
always love the engineers, whose care in location did
not entirely chime in with his ideas of speed in building. But after letting them know his mind in
emphatic language, he recognized the sphere of their
responsibility, and, after discussing other possible
ways, let them have their way if they made out a case.
The three above named were near enough to be
present at Craigellachie on that eventful day,
but they represented a band of very gallant men in
the same vocation—men who often ventured their
lives in the dangerous places they were investigating.
Representing the contractors, who were a legion, we
find in the group James Ross, who had much building
to do in the mountain section, and who had witnessed
many difficulties in dealing with a large army of men
of many nationalities. Generally speaking it can
be said that the contractors gave themselves with
enthusiasm to their work, and the Canadian Pacific
was the training school for a host of young Canadians
in the business of railway building. In after years
many of these men became famous in railway work.
Their ambitions, begotten and intensified by their
experience on the pioneer transcontinental road, led
them into very large enterprises of their own in the
same line. Some of their undertakings were premature, in view of Canada's population, but some
day they will enure to the benefit of the country.
While speaking of the contractors, one would like
again to say something of the thousands of track and
tunnel men, represented at Craigellachie that day by
the hundred or two on that section at the time.
j The Romance of the C.P.R.
Their lot had not been easy as they toiled on through
summer's heat and winter's cold. Every effort was
made to the end that they should be well fed and
sheltered, where possible, but certain hardships which
were inevitable were for the most part cheerfully
borne. In the dark days they had to wait for their
pay, that being true of all the employees at times.
But thçse men had faith in the big enterprise and
took their share of the hard times, saying, as did one
business man on the North Shore, who had several
thousands coming to him for supplies, "Van Home
will put this thing through and I will wait." This
was showing a good spirit; albeit we ought to remember that the men who were undergoing the
most terrific strain were the Directors, who had not
only pledged all their private means, but were facing
at times the peculiarly unbearable possibility of the
whole vast undertaking crumbling into failure before their eyes.
Two Directors, Mr. Sandford Fleming and Mr.
George R. Harris, appear in the group when the last
spike was driven, and behind them stands Mr. John H.
McTavish, one of the famous family connected with
the Hudson's Bay Company through many years.
Just within that circle in the picture stands a little
boy with his neck craned to see the veteran nailing
the steel to a tie. He was the water boy who carried
drink for the men as they toiled on the road. I
sometimes wonder what became of that boy who had
the rare privilege of looking on when this extraor-
138 Ocean to Ocean
dinary event in Canadian history took place. He
was witnessing what might be called the birth of a
With hands in the pockets of his overcoat, in a
characteristic attitude, and apparently gazing intently
at the hammer and spike, stands the strong, powerful
figure of Mr. Van Home, the general who had
reached his objective after a desperate battle. His
favourite type of square-crowned hat is pulled well
down, and his whole posture suggests determined
strength. His face, withal, has a dreamy cast, and
one would give more than the proverbial penny for
his thoughts. His mind, no doubt, was dwelling on
the struggle through which he had fought for four
tremendous years. But he was doubtless also looking
into the future. No one knew so well as he did that
though, in one sense, the road was completed, there
was another sense in which it had only begun. Many
improvements and extensions were still.to be made,
branch lines and double tracks were to be laid, traffic
had to be developed, the land had to be peopled and
the obligations of the road, incurred for bringing it to
the last spike, had to be met. But it is a striking thing
to recall that the total indebtedness of the Company
to the Government was met within a year of the
opening of the road, and that the Company has never
had to ask the Government for a dollar since that
time. The road was to prosper immensely, and the
man who, in some trepidation, had written this same
Van Home in the darkest days, as to the Company's
139 Iff
The Romance of the C.P.R.
securities, and got the laconic telegram,"Sell your
boots and buy C. P. R. stock, " did well if he accepted
the advice.
Men who were present at Craigellachie when that
last spike was hammered home tell us that for a
while after the sound of the blows ceased there was
absolute silence. The few hundreds who had the
privilege of being there seemed, in a sense, stunned
by the enormous significance of the event. Then
some one gave a shout—perhaps it was that little
"water boy," because it is like what a boy would
do—and then the mountains echoed with a perfect
frenzy of cheering, that continued for minutes,
breaking out again and again. Mr. Van Home was
called on by the crowd for a speech. Without
changing his attitude and with his eyes still upon
the junction of the rails, the great railroader said
simply and quietly, "All I can say is that the work
has been well done in every way." It was a short
speech, but it was a profound tribute to everybody
who had taken part in this colossal enterprise.
Directors, officials, contractors, navvies, teamsters,
stonecutters, bridge builders, train men, telegraph
operators and all the rest were embraced in this terse,
but heartfelt, and richly-deserved eulogium. And
the conductor had a splendid conception of a climacteric moment when he shouted "All aboard for the
Pacific," and the train took its swift way down to
the Western sea. Two centuries had gone by since
daring British explorers had essayed in vain to go
across   the   North   American   continent   by   some
140 1
Ocean to Ocean
hitherto undiscovered waterway to the Pacific.
They were amongst the famous forerunners of the
gallant and able men who had now, after amazing
endeavour, laid the steel across prairie and mountain
where not many years before hunters and trappers,
by packhorse, snowshoe, travois or wooden cart, had
broken adventurous trails. Thus there had now
been opened up a new Empire, whose enormous extent
and productive capacity would make it one of the
wonders of the world and the Mecca for millions of
the human race.
Regular passenger service was not inaugurated
till the following spring, the first through train reaching Port Moody in June, 1886, and Vancouver in
May, 1887. Port Moody was the statutory terminus,
but the extension to Vancouver was inevitable,
although Port Moody real estate owners naturally
threw every obstacle in the way of the railway going
farther. Vancouver had been swept by the great fire
in 1886, but the courageous inhabitants started to
rebuild and there were probably two or three thousand people, under the leadership of the first mayor,
Mr. Malcolm A. MacLean, to greet the first train
with rousing cheers and an address. It was a great
day for Vancouver. A generation has since grown
up which does not fully understand, because it does
not know. But the people who know the story of the
fire-swept area of rocks and blackened stumps into
which the first Canadian Pacific train rolled that day,
thirty-eight years ago, bringing in with it the dawn
of a new day, do not forget.    It linked the cold ashes
m of the new townsite to the throbbing power of Eastern
Canada, and put a new name on the map where
Orient and Occident looked each other in the face
across the Pacific. It is rather a striking coincidence
that I am writing these words on the 23rd of May, the
anniversary of the arrival of the first Canadian
Pacific Railway train in Vancouver in 1887. And on
this day, in this Year of Grace 1924, the Empress of
Canada, one of the Company's great steamships, has
just come back to this West Coast after a five months'
voyage around the globe. The space of time between
is brief, considered as a span in history, but in that
time the Canadian Pacific has not only covered the
Dominion in all directions with its steel trails, but has
compassed all the oceans with her floating palaces.
That day in May, 1887, the prominent officials of
the road on the Pacific Division were the heroes of the
hour—a group of able and reliable men—Messrs.
Harry Abbott, Richard Marpole, W. F. Salsbury,
Henry J. Cambie, D. E. Brown, George McL. Brown,
H. E. Connon, Lacey R. Johnson, A. J. Dana, with a
faithful band, the forerunners of the present host,
in their employ.
As I am writing this paragraph on the eve of May
24th, the anniversary of the birth of good Queen
Victoria, of immortal memory, it is fitting to note
the following fine letter from the Marquis of Lome to
the Canadian Pacific authorities: "The Queen has
been most deeply interested in the account which I
have given her of the building of your great railway,
the difficulties which it involved and which have been
142 Ocean to Ocean
so wonderfully surmounted. Not one Englishman
in a thousand realizes what those difficulties were;
but now that the great Dominion has been penetrated
by this indestructible artery of steel, the thoughts
and purposes of her people, as well as her commerce,
will flow in an increasing current to and fro, sending
a healthful glow to all the members. The Princess
and I are looking forward to a journey one day to
the far and fair Pacific. " It was in keeping with the
idea running through this letter that the Queen conferred a baronetcy on President George Stephen and
a knighthood on Mr. Donald A. Smith. And out in
the great mountains which these two Scottish
men so wonderfully helped to pierce with the steel
trail, there are monuments to them in the cathedral
peaks, Mount Stephen and Mount Sir Donald,
" More enduring than brass. "
Since that day in 1887 there have been, as the
Marquis of Lome's letter prophesies, a constant
succession of most distinguished travellers. The
princes of our own Royal line, including our present
gracious King and the present Prince of Wales,
noblemen, statesmen, scientists, novelists, poets,
soldiers, sailors, missionaries and others of worldwide fame, have passed and repassed over this iron
highway, entranced and amazed at the richness, the
fertility, the resources and the incomparable scenery
of the country. Volumes could not record their
praise for the country, for the travelling accommodation and for that courtesy and considerateness by
employees for which the Canadian Pacific is known
W The Romance of the C.P.R.
the world over. It has always been the aim of the
road to see that children, ladies, old and feeble people,
can travel alone with the utmost safety and comfort,
and the testimony of travellers is that this tradition
is steadily maintained under all circumstances.
There are doubtless many travelling people who are
selfish, unreasonable and hard to please, but generally
speaking (and I have seen this exemplified scores of
times) the official or employee of the Company proceeds on the assumption that "the passenger is always
right, " and in the end everybody is satisfied.
In this connection Lady Macdonald, who went
with her distinguished husband, Sir John, on the
second regular train to the Coast, wrote in her account of it: "It was quite touching and something
new in railway life to find the brakeman grieving over
the smoke and apologizing for it." If there was a
forest or prairie fire abroad the train-hands were not
to blame. If the reference was to the old coal-burners
in the mountains, the Company now uses fuel oil.
To give another example: One day Mr. Van Home
overheard a trainman in rather sharp altercation
with an irritable and unreasonable passenger, and
speaking to this trainman afterwards Van Home
said: "You are not to consider your own personal
feelings when you are dealing with these people.
You should not have any. You are the road's while
you are on duty; your reply is the road's; and the
road's first law is courtesy. " The reader will see that
while, in one sense, this seems to suppress the individuality of the employee, there is another sense in
144 Ocean to Ocean
which it honours his position by making him, in that
connection, the accredited representative of the
Company. Mr. Van Home inculcated this in many
different ways, till employees took a pride in the road.
They felt they were part of it. Even Van Home's
faithful coloured car-porter, the well-known Jimmie
French, used to tell passengers "how we built the
C. P. R. " It will be recalled that when that porter
died, Mr. Van Home, who grieved greatly over the
passing of a friend, walked in the funeral procession
as chief mourner.    That is the spirit of the road.
It would be impossible to mention a fraction of
the famous travellers who have made the Canadian
Pacific their way of travel, but there are two of the
public men of that period who had been protagonist
and antagonist on the subject for years, whose journey to the Coast had more than usual interest on that
account. The one was Sir John A. Macdonald;
the other was the Hon. Edward Blake.
Sir John and Lady Macdonald crossed to the Pacific
on the second train that made the through trip.
Sir John, being the head of the Government, was nominally at least the sponsor for the Canadian Pacific,
although we must not forget that his Minister of
Railways, Sir Charles Tupper, did the larger part of
the fighting to get it through. Sir John, however,
was always the man who had the last word as to assisting the road, and though he tried the patience of
Stephen and Van Home at times, he was the real
originator of the plan and in the end gave it his
powerful assistance in the days of stress.    Sir John,
145 The Romance of the C.P.R.
during that trip over the road in 1886, made one of
his characteristically witty and magnetic speeches
at a great mass meeting in the Mclntyre Rink in
Winnipeg. Those were my student days, and the
chance to hear the popular Premier, who was on a
sort of triumphal trip over the completed road, was
not to be missed. My recollection is that the speech
was non-partisan, exept for a few humorous references, and not very heavy. Sir John was alert and
bright even to jauntiness, but he spoke as a man who
was through with a puzzling problem and was light-
heartedly taking a care-free holiday. His allusion to
the Canadian Pacific, a strange blending of pathos
and humour, swept the house into a hurricane of
cheers. He said "There was a time when I never
expected to live to see the completion of this great
railway. But I knew it would be completed some
day, and in that day I said I would see my friends
crossing the continent upon it as I looked down upon
them from another and better sphere. My friends
on the Opposition side of the House kindly suggested
that I would more likely be looking up from below.
But I have disappointed all conjecturers, and I am
doing this trip on the horizontal. "
It was during that pioneer railway trip that Lady
Macdonald loyally rode for part of one day in the
mountains on the cow-catcher of the engine, as a way
of advertising to the world the safety of the new road.
Mentioning Lady Macdonald recalls the story told
by that big-hearted humorist, Col. George Ham,
whom everybody knows and likes.    It appears that
146 Ocean to Ocean
Superintendent Niblock, of the Medicine Hat division of the road, had to be away from home when
Sir John's train was due to pass. But desiring to
show some courtesy he wired some one at the Hat to
send Lady Macdonald a bouquet of flowers. The
message appears to have become mangled and when
delivered had "flowers" spelled "flour" and "bouquet" contracted to "boq. " This looked unusual,
and "boq. of flour" was interpreted to mean "a bag
of flour." This was accordingly despatched to Sir
John's private car, where the porter had no room to
spare, and refused to accept it. And so both the
courtesy and the gift fell by the wayside, although
the intention was good.
The other distinguished public man, as above noted,
who travelled to Vancouver over the CanadianPacific
a few years later was the Hon. Edward Blake. He
had steadfastly, consistently and, no doubt, conscientiously, opposed the construction of the road as involving what he called "ruinous expenditure" for a
young and sparsely settled country. Mr. Blake's
memory remains as that of one of the ablest and most
high-minded statesman in the public life of Canada
and, by general consent, the most outstanding intellectual force this country has produced. But, as observed in a preceding chapter, he had never been West
before the famous railway debates took place, and
therefore underestimated the country and its possibilities. When he did come, in 1891, he made a
notable speech in Vancouver. In that speech he not
only accepted the situation in a frank and manly way,
147 The Romance of the C.P.R.
but, calling on his large vocabulary and his somewhat unsuspected sense of humour, he gave a remarkable description of the country by putting everything in words opposite to the reality. Mr. Blake
said: "As I approached this country I was struck by
the remarkable change from the rugged and upheaved
territory of the plains of the North-West to the smooth
and level slope of the Rockies ; as I ascended the slope
and came upon the somewhat level and monotonous
flats of British Columbia ; as I travelled by the languid
Bow and descended again through the valley of the
tranquil Kicking Horse; as I crossed the calm Columbia and travelled down the dead wraters of the
Beaver and along the placid Illecilliwaet and by the
drowsy Skuzzy; as I passed by the slow Thompson
and last of all by the banks between which the Fraser
meanders its sluggish way, I turned to the fertile
resources of your shores and viewed the horizon where
it spanned the meadows of the Selkirks, the fertile
level plains of the Gold Range and the broad plains
of the Coast Range, and I reached here converted."
For a while the audience, thinking that Mr. Blake
was getting things mixed because this first swift trip
was confusing him as to locality, preserved a well-
bred, silent attitude, as if much puzzled. In a little
while, as he proceeded, they saw that he was purposely
and skilfully putting everything in the converse way,
and the house simply rocked with delighted laughter
in peal after peal. When people are enjoying an uproarious laugh, they cannot cherish resentment.
And so when Mr. Blake, dropping the jocular vein,
148 Ocean to Oceat
went on to say, "When the railroad was built and finished I felt myself that it was useless to continue the
controversy longer, in deference to this whole country
which Canada has risked so much to retain," the
people in British Columbia forgave him for calling
their Province "a sea of mountains," and, like true
Westerners, declared that he was playing the game
in a sportsmanlike way and they would call off their
And thus was the great railway opened from ocean
to ocean. Much remained yet to be done in the way
of constant improvement of the road and increase of
the rolling stock. But the system was in operation,
and the trains passed East and West over the once
"Great Lone Land" and through the mountain
passes. Circumstances have changed somewhat
since the following fine verses were written some
years ago by the late Pauline Johnson, but in general
they still represent the situation. Born in Ontario-
in the region made famous by her great ancestor,
Joseph Brant, ally of the British people, this gifted
poetess, with the Indian blood of which she was so
proud, saw in the Canadian Pacific trains not just so
many cars and engines, but new and living factors in
the expanding life of her beloved Dominion. And
so she makes "The C. P. R. No. 1, Westbound, " say:
" I swing to the sunset land—
The world of prairie, the world of plain,
The world of promise and hope and pain
The world of gold and the world of gain,
And the world of the willing hand.
149 The Romance of the C.P.R.
' ' I carry the brave and bold—
The one who works for the nation's bread,
The one whose past is a thing that's dead,
The one who battles and beats ahead
And the one who goes for gold.
"I swing to the 'Land to Be.'
I am the power that laid its floors;
I am the guide to its Western Shores
I am the key to its golden doors
That open alone to me. "
And she calls on "The C. P. R. No. 2, Eastbound, "
to say:
; ' I swing to the land of morn—
The grey old East with its grey old seas ;
The land of leisure, the land of ease,
The land of flowers and fruit and trees
And the place where we were born.
"Freighted with wealth I come:
For he who many a moon has spent
Far out West on adventure bent,
With well-worn pick and folded tent
Is bringing his bullion home
" I never will be renowned,
As my twin that swings to the Western marts,
For I am she of the humbler parts—
But I am the joy of waiting hearts;
For I am the Homeward bound. "
From "Flint and Feather," by E. Pauline Johnson.   Published
by arrangement with the Musson Book Company, Limited. I
Guardians of the Road
\JOW THAT we have followed the main line of
^ ^ the Canadian Pacific to the coast and have
paid tribute to the actual builders it is fitting to
devote a brief chapter to a body of men who, while
not taking part directly in the work, did so much to
make that work possible that they were often officially thanked by the railway heads for their extraordinary assistance. I refer now particularly to the
part played on the stage of Western development by
that famous corps, the North-West Mounted Police.
I am giving here the original title. Since the time
when they were so designated, the prefix " Royal " was
given by King Edward, as a recognition of the great
services of these knights of the saddle. Still later,
when, shortly after the outbreak of the Great War,
they were for obvious important reasons distributed
all over the Dominion, they were given the present
name of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Names have changed, but throughout the fifty years
from their organization these riders in the scarlet
and gold uniform have done their duty as law-and-
order men, inflexible, untiring and incorruptible,
in their guardianship of life and property on the
widest frontier in the world. The fact that they became an  important factor in  the conception  and
151 The Romance of the C.P.R.
building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was foreshadowed in the famous report made by Capt. W. F.
Butler (afterwards Sir William Butler, of South
Africa) in the year 1871, when he travelled over the
"great lone land" and made recommendation
how to preserve law and order in that vast prairie
country. The railway would not have come into a
country that would not some day be populated, and
no country would be populated unless immigrants
and homesteaders were given assurance that their
lives and property would be protected in the new
country. So it was that Butler recommended the
formation of a "mobile force," because a force located at fixed points or forts "would afford no adequate protection outside the immediate circle of
these points and would hold out no inducements to the
establishment of new settlements." And Butler says
he made his recommendation because he saw "a vast
country lying, as it were, silently awaiting the approach
of the immense wave of human life which rolls unceasingly from Europe to the American continent."
Butler added that, though the Western plains were
far from the Atlantic seaboard, "still that wave of
human life is destined to reach those beautiful solitudes and to convert their now useless vegetation
into all the requirements of civilized existence."
And it is historically true to say that homesteaders
began to come to the great lone land with more confidence once the Mounted Police had taken control
of the country in the early 70's. The notable painting "Any Complaints?" by Paul Wickson, is based
152 Guardians of the Road
on this idea. It represents the police patrol riding up
to the homesteader at his plough and asking if he has
been troubled by horse thieves, or cattle stealers or
lawless Indians. It was because the homesteader
could pursue his way in peace that a railway to carry
what he imported and exported had a future. And
not only from possible human enemies, but from the
terrific danger of prairie fires and such like did the
rider of the plains stand on guard. When one, for
instance, sees Constable Conradi, despite warnings
that he was attempting the impossible, spurring his
horse through rolling clouds of smoke and saving a
family from death at the risk of his own life, one
realizes how these knights of the saddle gave people a
sense of security. Or when one sees thirty of these
gallant riders sweeping the plain till they found a lost
child and restored her to her mother's arms, he understands how the presence of these men robbed the life
on the prairies of the sense of insecurity. The element of security drew settlers to the plains and thus
encouraged railway building.
Coming to railway construction time we have the
cases in which the contractors and engineers were
terrorized by the Indians in the early stages of their
work. One chief, Pie-a-Pot, who had always been
a source of trouble on account of his ugly disposition
and his evident determination not to acquiesce
in the incoming of civilized life, took it into his head
one day to camp on the railroad right-of-way
on the prairie. The surveyors and engineers worked
up to that point and found Pie-a-Pot's tent squarely
' 153
3 The Romance of the C.P.R.
in the way. Around him were many other tents
and all supported by a big band of braves who,
mounted on their ponies, circled around, discharging
fire-arms into the air and indulging in war-whoops
and other hostile demonstrations. The surveyors
and engineers asked the hostile chief to move, but he
only laughed at them and urged his braves to more
violent exhibitions of their prowess. The men of
peaceful occupations discreetly withdrew to a safe
distance and halted their work, but at the same time
managed to send back word to the Mounted Police
headquarters as to the situation. Headquarters
sent a message to the detachment of police nearest
the scene of disturbance, though it was many miles
away. That detachment of police consisted of only
two men, a sergeant and a constable. Numbers
have never counted either way with the Mounted
Police, and so these two in the scarlet and gold uniform rode miles to Pie-a-pot's camp on the railroad
right-of-way. They told Pie-a-Pot that they were
instructed to ask him to move out of the way, but the
defiant chief sat in front of his tent and encouraged
his braves to rush the two police horses with their
ponies. The sergeant and constable, however, sat
their horses unmoved and again warned the chief,
who laughed in their faces. Then the sergeant,
pulling out his watch, indicated the minute hand
and gave the chief ten minutes to move. The Indians became more violent, but the police sat tight
and at the end of the ten minutes the sergeant,
154- throwing his reins to the constable so that the horses
would not be stampeded, leaped over Pie-a-Pot's
head and, entering the chief's tent, kicked out the
centre pole and brought it down in a hurry. He did
the same with the four tents of the chief's head-men
and then told them to get out at once. The Indians
saw the kind of men they had to deal with and so
they moved swiftly, and the Canadian Pacific surveyors and engineers -went on with their work.
Not long afterwards there was a similar case,though
it did not go so far. Eastern contractors and workmen, who had not been used to seeing war-paint,
were naturally somewhat alarmed one day when a
band of Indians rushed at them with the air of people
who owned the earth and wished to hold it for themselves. Superintendent Shurtcliffe of the Mounted
Police received an S. O. S. call on that particular occasion from a contractor who was getting out ties
from a bush, and had been forced to leave "on the
double quick" when a chief with the portentous name
of "Front Man" swooped down on his tie gang with
a band of yelling Indians. Shurtcliffe summoned
"Front Man" and told him how dangerous a thing
it was to interfere with the progress of work authorized by the Canadian Government. When Mr.
"Front Man" heard that it was practically the
Government he had been chasing, he was very
penitent and promised the Mounted Police officer
that he would behave himself in the future. Whereupon   the   contractor   and   his   men,   with   a   new
3 The Romance of the C.P.R.
appreciation of the men in scarlet and gold, went
back to prosecute, unmolested, their peaceful and
highly necessary tie business.
There was a famous riot case at the Beaver River
in the mountains, early in 1885, where several hundreds of rough men, many of them reckless aliens,
went on strike during construction, and were backed
by lawless camp-followers at that temporary terminus.
There were only some eight Mounted Police to keep
order, although many of the navvies and the disorderly characters in the place were heavily armed.
The police detachment, however, was commanded
by that redoubtable officer, Superintendent Samuel
B. Steele (later Major-General Sir S. B. Steele), with
his second in command, Sergeant Fury, a short,
heavy-set, quiet man who could be all that his name
suggested if occasion required. When the strike was
pending Steele told the strikers that he would not
interfere in the question itself as the police never
took sides, but he warned them that they must keep
the peace and not commit any acts of violence or
he would punish them to the full extent of the law.
A few days later Steele was down in bed with
mountain fever, and one of his men, Constable Kerr,
had gone to the town to get him some medicine.
When Kerr was coming back he saw a mob being
incited by a well-known desperate character to make
an attack on the barracks and to destroy the railway
property. Kerr, though alone, promptly arrested
the man, but he was overpowered by the mob and
the prisoner rescued.    Kerr reported to Fury, who
156 Guardians of the Road
in turn reported to Steele, who was in bed, as the
strikers knew. Steele said, "It will never do to let
the gang think they can play with us, " and sent Fury
with one of the constables with orders to arrest the
man. The arrest was made, but the two policemen
were again overpowered and came back to report
with their uniforms torn by the mob. The police
were not "gunmen" and never used weapons unless
as a last resort. The limit had been reached in this
case, and Steele said to Fury, "Take three men and
go back and shoot any one who interferes to prevent
you making the arrest." Fury went back with
Constables Fane, Craig and Walters, while the other
four constables guarded the barracks which were slated for attack. Johnston, a magistrate, was there to
read the Riot Act, if necessary. In a few minutes
there was a shot, and Johnston said "Some one in
that gang has gone to kingdom come." Steele
leaped out of bed and went to the window. Craig
and Walters were dragging the prisoner across the
bridge over the Beaver, the desperado fighting like
a demon and a scarlet woman following them with
oaths and curses. Fury and Fane were in the rear,
trying to hold back a mob of some three hundred
men. Steele called on Johnston to come and read the
Riot Act, and ignoring his own fevered condition,
he grabbed a rifle and started running across the
bridge calling the other men to follow. The mob
could Kardly believe their eyes when they saw Steele
and shouted with oaths, "Even his deathbed does
not scare him."    In  the meantime the desperate
157 The Romance of the C.P.R.
prisoner was struggling fiercely with his captors,
biting, kicking and shouting till they were on the
bridge, when Walters lifted his powerful fist and struck
him on the head, and, writh Craig, dragged him like
a rag into the barracks, where they left him and rushed
back to help their comrades. Johnston read the
Riot Act and Steele, rifle in hand, told the rioters
that if he saw any man of them trying to reach for
his gun he would shoot him. He told them to disperse and that if he saw more than ten of them together he would order his men to mow them down.
And the little detachment of eight policemen stood
there with magazines charged ready to carry out
orders. The riot collapsed in five minutes, and the
leaders of it were sentenced next day. The trouble
never cropped up again. The roughs at the Beaver
had tried the game of rioting with the wrong men.
And cool, daring men like these were all along the
line to keep the lawless in mind of the fact that lawlessness would not be tolerated for a moment in the
Mounted Police country.
It is not unexpectedly, then, that we come across
two special letters from builders of the great railway,
expressing their thanks to the Mounted Police.
The first is from Mr. (later Sir) William C. Van
Home, who was not given to saying gushing things.
Here it is,
"January 1,   1883.
"Dear Sir:
"Our work of construction for the year 1882 has
just closed, and I cannot permit the occasion to pass
158 Guardians of the Road
without acknowledging the obligations of the Company to the North-West Mounted Police, whose zeal
and industry in preventing traffic in liquor and preserving order along the line of construction have contributed so much to the successful prosecution of the
work. Indeed, without the assistance of the officers
and men of the splendid force under your command
it would have been impossible to have accomplished
as much as we did. On no great work within my
knowledge, where so many men have been employed,
has such perfect order prevailed. On behalf of the
Company and all their officers, I wish to return thanks
and to acknowledge particularly our obligations to
yourself and Major Walsh.
"I am, sir,
"Yours very truly,
"W. C. Van Horne,
"General Manager.
"To Lieutenant-Colonel A. G. Irvine
"North-West Mounted Police,
"Regina. "
And at the close of the next year we find the following from another very practical man, John M.
Egan, General Superintendent of the Western Line,
who did not make incursions into the realm of the
sentimental.    The letter runs as follows:
"My dear Colonel:
"Gratitude would be wanting did the present year
close without my conveying, on behalf of the Canadian Pacific Railway, to you and those under your
charge most sincere thanks for the manner in which
159 The Romance of the C.P.R.
their several duties in connection with the railway
have been attended to during the past season.
"Prompt obedience to your orders, faithful carrying out of your instructions, contribute in no small
degree to the rapid construction of the line. The
services of your men during recent troubles among
a certain class of our employees prevented destruction to property and preserved obedience to law and
order in a manner highly commendable. Justice has
been meted out to them without fear or favour, and
I have yet to hear any person, who respects same,
say aught against your command.
"Wishing   you   the   season's   compliments,
"I remain,
"Yours very truly,
"Jno. M. Egan."
Taken together these letters, written by matter-
of-fact men, are great tributes paid to the men of the
Mounted Police for the part they played in those
critical periods of the history of the pioneer railway.
In such masses of railway men of all kinds and nationalities thrown together in construction times there
was constant danger of disorder under certain conditions. There were amongst these men many adventurous agitators who cared nothing for the ultimate success of the railway. Had the whiskey-
peddlers who always hover around such camps been
allowed to ply their nefarious trade, there would have
been constant danger to the men themselves from
high explosives carelessly handled. And there
would have been the ever-present menace of unreasonable outbreaks causing delay and damage to
160 Guardians of the Road
a great and necessary undertaking. No wonder that
such highly practical and observant men as Van
Horne and Egan understood and gladly acknowledged
the co-operation of the Mounted Police in a vast
national enterprise. ft^-4
People have often wondered how this road, traversing some three thousand miles across lonely prairie
and lonelier mountains, escaped having its trains
held up by robbers, as was common in some other
similarly situated countries. In an official report
some years after the road opened Superintendent
Deane of the Mounted Police at Calgary refers to an
effort at train-robbing that year and starts out with
the following revealing statement: "It has for years
been an open secret that the train-robbing fraternity
in the United States had seriously considered the propriety of trying conclusions with the Mounted Police,
but had decided that the risks were too great and the
game not worth the candle. After the object lesson
they received last May, it may be reasonably supposed that railway passengers will be spared further
anxiety during the life of the present generation at
The special event to which Deane refers was a
train hold-up at Kamloops in British Columbia by
a notorious train-robbing expert, Bill Miner, alias
Edwards, etc., assisted by two other gunmen, William
Dunn and "Shorty " Colquhoun. A train robbery had
been committed by the same gang some months before, but local authorities could not trace the robbers.
161 The Romance of the C.P.R.
When the second robbery took place at Kamloops,
the railway heads thought they could not afford to
take more chances, although Provincial Police, especially Fernie, of Kamloops, were doing good trailing work. Mr. Richard Marpole, then Superintendent
of the Canadian Pacific Railway at the Coast, who
was always devoted to the interests of the road, wired
to General Manager (later Sir) William Whyte to
secure the help of the Mounted Police, who were not
then on duty in British Columbia. Mr. Whyte telegraphed to Regina to Commissioner A. B. Perry,
head of the Mounted Police, who, wiring Calgary to
have two detachments ready, left for that point to
take charge of the case. From Calgary, Perry
(now Major-General and C.M.G., retired after
years of distinguished service) sent Inspector Church,
an excellent officer, with a detachment, to Penticton
to cut off the escape of the robbers over the boundary-
line. Perry left for Kamloops with a detachment
under charge of Staff-Sergeant J. J. Wilson, with
Thomas, Shoebotham, Peters, Stewart, Browning
and Tabateau. The weather was bad and the horses
secured at Kamloops were poor, but, despite these
handicaps, this posse trailed and captured the robbers,
after a sharp fight, within forty-eight hours. The
effect of that lesson is still apparent, as Deane prophesied.
When the last spike had been driven on the Canadian Pacific Railway at Craigellachie, and there was
a through train to the Coast, Steele, above-mentioned,
who was back again on Mounted Police work in the
162 mountains, was given a trip to the Pacific out of
compliment to himself and the force generally. It
was a time when the railway men were trying out the
road which they knew had been well constructed.
Steele describes his trip in a semi-humorous way,
and speaks of the train going at fifty-seven miles an
hour, roaring in and out of the tunnels and whirling
around the curves. He says it was a wild ride, but
adds these fine words, "Many years have passed
since that memorable ride, and to-day one goes
through the mountains in the most modern and
palatial observation cars, but the recollection of that
journey to the Coast on the first train through is far
sweeter to me than any trips taken since. It was
the exultant moment of pioneer work, and we were all
pioneers on that excursion." And we add again, all
due honour to the law-and-order men in scarlet and
gold who had watched over the construction of the
long steel trail.
Intensive and Extensive Work
**■ terrific fighting against heavy odds, had reached
its objective in the completion of the main line from
sea to sea. It was a thin steel line reaching across
the continent. But the driving of the last spike at
Craigellachie simply gave the Company a base of
operation from which to reach out for other conquests,
in order that the work already done might prove productive of the best results. Mr. Van Horne, who had
a perfect passion for doing new things and for bringing unknown places into the limelight, saw tremendous opportunities looming up for the full play of his
abilities in that regard.
It was well for the road and for Canada that he saw
the vista thus opening up ahead with the lure of
great prospects for the exercise of his powers. Because otherwise he might have taken up work elsewhere. It is well known that more than one board
in the States was ready to throw its presidency at the
head and the feet of the man whose astonishing record on the Canadian Pacific had attracted the attention of the railway world. In fact Van Horne, on
reaching Montreal after returning from Craigellachie,
found a letter (and others followed from several directions) from Mr. Jason C. Eas ton, a great banker and
l Intensive and Extensive Work
railway man in Winsconsin. The letter expressed
the hope that as Van Horne had only agreed to stay
with the Canadian Pacific for five years, he would
soon go back to the States and take a railway presidency there.
But besides the fact that the bigness of the task
still to be undertaken in Canada held him to this
country, the truth is that he had become personally
attached to President George Stephen and his Scottish-Canadian associates. A little sidelight is thrown
upon this phase of the matter by the incident connected with the driving of the last spike by Mr.
Donald A. Smith (Strathcona). Mr. Smith owned a
country home near Winnipeg, called Silver Heights,
once the property of the Hon. James McKay, the
handsome and famous frontiersman and interpreter
who had such a large share in the making of the successful Indian treaties on the plains. After his removal to Montreal Mr. Smith allowed the house to
remain closed except for the caretaker and those who
looked after the farm stock and such like. On the
way west by special train to Craigellachie, Mr. Van
Horne thought it would be a good idea to have the
house at Silver Heights opened up and have a spur-
track laid to it from Winnipeg, as a surprise to the
veteran who was to drive the last spike. When the
train returned to Winnipeg the engine was reversed
and the special began backing out of the station.
Mr. Smith after a while noticed it, and then began to
look out of the window. In a little while he said:
"Why, gentlemen, if I can believe my eyes this ground
165 The Romance of the C.P.R.
looks familiar, and there are Aberdeen cattle just like
mine and that place looks like my house." The
train stopped and the conductor shouted "Silver
Heights." Mr. Smith was delighted beyond measure and again and again expressed his appreciation
of the courtesy and thoughtfulness that had planned
the surprise. It was just one of the ways by which
the apparently unemotional Van Horne paid chivalrous personal compliment to the men whose character and courage he had learned to respect as they
stood by him to their last dollar in the great task to
which he had given himself so determinedly for four
laborious years.
When Mr. Van Horne reached Montreal, after the
opening of the main line, he began to speed up the
plans he had been putting already in operation for the
perfecting of the road and the increase of traffic in all
directions. The quality of the road-bed was of even
higher standard than the Government contract required. It will be remembered that once, when the
road-bed was still new, Van Horne had aboard his
train a number of Eastern men who were going out
West in regard to the valuation of the Government
section of the road constructed by Onderdonk. While
still on the Canadian Pacific section in the mountains,
Van Horne walked up the platform at Field and said
to the engineer, Charley Carey, a fearless, skilful
driver, "Let her out a bit, Charlie, we will show these
fellows that they are on a railroad fit to run on, though
the Government section is not. " Charlie "let her out"
and made a fifty-one-mile run in an hour and wound
166 Intensive and Extensive Work
up by doing the seventeen miles from Golden to Donald in fifteen minutes, and all safe. When they pulled
up there, with a flourish and flashing fire on the rails
as the brakes were put on hard to prevent running
by the platform, the gentlemen from the East needed
no further demonstration. The Canadian Pacific
road-bed was all right even in those early days.
But Van Horne knew that much had still to be
done. Construction had been careful, but rapid, and
steel and stone and cement would have to replace
many wooden culverts and bridges. Trestles had to
be filled in or replaced by stone or steel. Rolling
stock, shops, roundhouses, yards, stations, wharves
and all manner of similar things had to be provided.
Branch lines to feed the main line would have to
gridiron the country, and connections would have to
be made with the big systems south of the line.
Incidentally, it was as a result of his observation
before he came to Canada at all that he insisted on
the Canadian Pacific keeping such auxiliary utilities
as the telegraph, express and sleeping car departments. These also in their several ways would be
feeders to the main treasury account. They were
not the big tent, as Van Horne said, using a circus
illustration; but the side-shows, as he called them,
went a long way to increase the receipts. It had been
the custom in other places to let other organizations
have these franchises, but Van Horne said they took
the cream of several kinds of business and "left the
skim milk to the railway." Van Horne wanted the
cream, as the road would need the money; and so the
167 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Dominion Express and the Canadian Pacific Telegraphs and the Railway's own sleeping cars got into
business for the big Company from the start. And
these, like the dining car department and others of
the same type, are marvels of service and efficiency,
as every one now knows.
To speak about the creation of traffic is to use a
somewdiat peculiar, but well-founded, expression, because, in this case, it applies to traffic which had practically no existence before. Nothing escaped Van
Home's notice. In the evening hours when he would
be in camp on the prairie during construction time, he
took delight in planning sports of various kinds for
the men. "A change is as good as a rest," is an old
saying with a lot of truth in it. I have seen men
apparently fagged out with a day's march become
lithesome as kittens over a game of baseball in the
evening on the plain. Mr. Van Horne, who was a
true artist, became interested in the bleached bones
of buffaloes amongst the construction tents. And
many a great buffalo head with its wide white frontal
bone did the big railroader adorn with sketches made
in coal or pencil, to the delight of the onlookers. And
at the same time he was thinking of traffic in these
buffalo bones. In my boyhood I have ridden through
acres and miles of prairie where the white bones of
the buffalo "lay thick as the autumnal leaves in Val-
lambrosa. " These acres of skeletons were an indictment against the selfish and greedy buffalo-hunting
sporting men who had rounded up the herds, killed
them by thousands, and took nothing but the tongue
168 Intensive and Extensive Work
and the hide. Van Horne saw in these vast surface
cemeteries how the slaughtered buffalo could still be of
value. And so he had men gather up the bones and
pile them in great heaps along stations and sidings,
to be shipped by trainloads to Eastern factories that
were glad to get them. Thus the railroader, who got
the material for the cost of gathering, made good
profits for the Railway, and at the same time cleared
the land of an encumbrance. The man who could
think of such things was not likely to fail in creating
Van Horne was anxious to get the country settled
up along the great spaces in the Middle West. So he
lured many cattle-men across the line by the advertising he did for the rich grazing lands in the southern
portion of the North-West Territories, as the prairie
country was then described. He drafted some striking and rather freakish advertisements for billboards
in Eastern Canada, thus "capitalizing the scenery"
of the Great Lakes and the mountains and making a
special bid for tourist traffic. Some of these posters,
such as "Parisian Politeness on the C. P. R." and
" 'How High We Live,' said the Duke to the Prince,"
are somewhat belittled by smart modern advertisers ;
but somehow they stuck in the memory of those who
saw them, and that is the acid test of all advertising.
The stream of tourists or other travellers on the main
line was a very small rivulet in those early days, and
there are records of cars with one or two passengers.
But all passengers became enthusiasts over the comfort and courtesy of the road, so that the movement
m flrfF
The Romance of the C.P.R.
of travellers is now a steady-flowing river of humanity
which, in certain seasons, almost overflows in a great
tide of sightseers and business people.
It is interesting to recall in connection with Mr.
Van Home's endeavours to secure settlers by various
immigration plans that he studied social conditions
amongst the incoming settlers. That was before the
day of rural telephones and motor cars, and he discovered without much difficulty that one of the obstacles to settlement of the prairies at that period was
the dread of loneliness and isolation. And the keen-
minded railroader formulated a plan to offset that
dread in the minds of possible newcomers. He
thought that tracts of land should be surveyed so as
to permit settlers to live in communities at the apex of
a triangle, in order that they might enjoy the social
amenities and advantages of community life while
their farms spread out from that place of common
residence to the farther extremity of the land they
held. It is of additional interest to recall that the introduction of the rectangular system of land survey
from the United States led to considerable unrest in
the Canadian West. It gave Louis Riel a chance to
play on the emotions of the half-breed settlers on the
South Saskatchewan River, where these settlers desired to hold their land as the early settlers did on the
Red and Assiniboine Rivers, their homes near together on the river bank and the farms running back
some distance on the plain. And Riel told the half-
breeds that the Government wanted to break up their
social life and make it difficult for them to have
u Intensive and Extensive Work
schools and churches and business places near at
hand. In fact, the introduction of the rectangular
survey, with its comparative isolation, was one of the
prime reasons at the base of the Riel Rebellion. So
that Mr. Van Horne had a good idea in operation
when he advocated the settlement of newcomers
close together. The Government, however, did not
adopt the scheme. Some settlers, like the Mennon-
ites, followed the plan of community settlement, even
though the square farms made them lose time in
going backwards and forwards to their work.
Mr. Van Home's efforts for the settlement of the
country led also to his company building immense
elevator accommodation at the Great Lakes and
providing facilities for transport thereto.
There were flashes of humour in this grim fight for
the settler. Mr. Van Horne was restively asserting one hard year that the grain-buyers who were
paying only thirty-five cents a bushel for wheat were
practising highway robbery on the farmer. Mr. L.
A. Hamilton, the Company's land commissioner,
said to him, "Why not go in and outbid the grain-
buyers. " The idea appealed mightily to Van Horne
and he sent Alex Mitchell, a grain man from Montreal,
to the West to organize some agency and offer fifty
cents a bushel. No one knew that Mitchell was acting for the Canadian Pacific, but when he offered
fifty cents a bushel, grain poured in on him till all
the cars were full and bags of wheat were piled up
along station platforms on account of the car shortage.    Then the enemies of the Railway who were on
171 The Romance of the C.P.R.
the lookout for chances to find fault with the Railway and who, of course, had no idea that the Railway
owned the wheat, attacked the Company because it
could not take care of the crop and ship it out of the
country. These active enemies got photographs
taken to show the congestion of the grain at stations
and on platforms along the line. Van Horne said
nothing, but had these photographs bought up by
scores and sent abroad to show that the prairies
were so productive that the railway was caught unprepared to handle the enormous crops. All this
was great immigration material, and a boomerang
for the men who had gone to the expense of getting
the photographs.
These things indicate how eagerly Mr. Van Horne
was trying to get the country settled, and generally to
build up within its borders prosperous and successful communities. There is a theory in the minds
of some kinds of people that a railway like this has
been always bleeding the country to death. Hardly
any theory could be more asinine and ridiculous.
It could only spring from the alleged brains of the
unthinking, even though it passes muster as a piece
of stump or soap-box oratory. It may sound well
as a vote-catcher, but thinking people will not be deceived by such a manifest contradiction in terms.
The country and the railway, in such a case as this,
must stand or fall together. Each is necessary to the
prosperity of the other. Hence for one to attempt the
destruction of the other is practically a round-about,
but effective, way for that one to commit suicide.
172 m
Intensive and Extensive Work
And a business concern has sense enough not to commit suicide. In this connection there is a fine paragraph in a sort of valedictory review of the history of
the Canadian Pacific Railway, given in 1918 by Lord
Shaughnessy, then President of the Company and
Chairman of the Board. It is quoted here in advance
of the chronological order of our story, because it is
specially applicable to the point we are discussing,
namely, the interdependence of the country, and the
road. The paragraph is as follows: "The shareholders
and Directors of the Company have always been impressed with the idea that the interests of the Company are intimately connected with those of the
Dominion, and no effort or expense has been spared to
help in promoting the development of the whole country. " This statement was intended to cover the whole
record of the railway, and Lord Shaughnessy had such
an outstanding reputation for stern rectitude and
straight-flung veracity that we are fully warranted
in taking it at its face value. Hence when we recorded above the efforts of Mr. Van Horne to extend
and create the business of the road in the years immediately succeeding the completion of the main line,
we were justified in saying that Mr. Van Home's endeavours in that regard were in the interests of both
the railway and the country. The Canadian Pacific
was from its inception an integral factor in creating
and extending the social and productive activities
of Western civilization.
Mr. George Stephen (first knighted and then raised
173 ffif
The Romance of the C.P.R.
to the peerage as Lord Mount Stephen, in recognition of his great services to the empire as a railway
builder) held the Presidency of the Canadian Pacific
from the beginning in 1880 till 1888, when Mr. Van
Horne succeeded him. There was something very
fine in the deep personal friendship that existed between these two men. And there is something almost
pathetic in the correspondence carried on between
them over Mr. Stephen's desire to retire from the
Presidency, and later on, when his health and age
demanded rest, from the directorate of the road.
The President and Mr. Van Horne had been specially close personal friends from the beginning, and
their intense struggle to build the railway had cemented their friendship into a type of affection that was
unmistakable, even though these two strong men
were not of the kind to be demonstrative before the
curious onlookers by the wayside of life. Stephen,
on undertaking the Presidency in 1881, had indicated
even then his purpose to retire when the task of
building the road across the continent was completed. The greatness of this task was even then
foreseen, although the enormous difficulties that developed, as we have noted in previous chapters,
could not have been anticipated by finite vision.
The burden of responsibility carried by the President was well-nigh crushing. And there is no doubt
that Stephen, at times, felt keenly the fact that not
only did some public men in Canada actually oppose
what he was trying to do for the country, but that
even some of those who had stood as sponsors for the
174 Intensive and Extensive Work
railway undertaking were so slow to appreciate the
terrific strain upon Stephen and his colleagues that
they only came to their assistance after they were
humbly besought for aid. Stephen's nature was
sensitive under these discouragements, but he kept
his word and stayed till the main line was built.
It was largely at Van Home's request that Stephen
kept on for two years more and thus gave the General Manager a chance to consolidate and conserve
what had been accomplished as well as proceed with
extensions and branches. But in 1888 Stephen
retired from the Presidency, and Mr. Van Horne was
the logical choice to be his successor. In a fine letter
which has vivid historical interest to all who know
something of the stress and strain of his term of
office, Sir George Stephen, under date of August 7th,
1888, wrote to the shareholders of the Company his
resignation. After referring to his determination,
at the outset, to remain in office till the completion
of the main line, Sir George relates how he remained
two years more at the request of his colleagues.
Then he goes on to say, "warned now by the state of
my health, finding that the severe and constant strain
which I have had to bear for the last eight years has
unfitted me for the continuous and arduous work of
an office in which vigour and activity are essential ;
feeling the increasing necessity for practical railway
experience ; and believing that the present satisfactory and assured position of the Company offers a
favourable opportunity for taking the step I have so
long had in contemplation, I have this day resigned
j The Romance of the C.P.R.
the Presidency of the Company which I have had
the honour to hold since its organization." After
referring to the fact that he would continue to have
an abiding interest in the Company and remain
meanwhile on the Board of Directors, Sir George,
reticent and undemonstrative Scot though he was,
goes on to say an evidently heart-felt word for
the incoming President, as follows: "It is to me
a matter of the greatest possible satisfaction to be
able to say that in my successor, Mr. Van Horne,
the Company has a man of proved fitness for the
office; in the prime of life, possessed with great energy
and rare ability, having a long and thoroughly
practical railway experience and above all an entire
devotion to the interest of the "Company. " And so
Mr. Van Horne succeeded in the Canadian Pacific
Presidency his friend, who was raised to the peerage,
choosing the title from one of the lofty peaks in the
Rockies. Thus did George Stephen, erstwhile "herd
laddie" from the North of Scotland and draper's
apprentice from Aberdeen, become Lord Mount
Stephen, and retire to spend his closing years at a
beautiful country seat in the Old Country, where he
had some rest from the heavy burden of responsibility.
But Mount Stephen still remained on the Directorate of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and many
questions were still referred to him and many communications by letter and cable passed between him
and Mr. Van Horne. There was some serious effort
on the part of Grand Trunk men in London to bring
I Intensive and Extensive Work
about a unification of the two railways to be operated
under the capable direction of Mr. Van Horne and
his colleagues. But some indiscreet action on the
part of Grand Trunk Directors in regard to advancing rates in order "to get all they could out of the
people of Canada," caused Van Horne to call negotiations off and say he would have no more discussions with men at long range. He had no great
love for men who had tried to block the Canadian
Pacific in the money markets of London, and he had
no faith in the idea that a railway in Canada could
be run satisfactorily if men in London were interfering. So the negotiations were ended and the
Grand Trunk went on its extraordinary way. But
that way is not part of our story.
As we have been discussing the intimate relationship between Mount Stephen and Van Horne, it is
interesting to note that, much to the latter's regret,
the former President of the road, on account of his
health condition demanding release from business,
began to express again his desire to resign from the
Board of Directors. He had remained on the Directorate and had been actively interested, as we have
seen. But now he must have complete rest from
responsibility. He was pressed to stay on the Board
with less active participation, but he declared that
"he could not be a figurehead and give himself no
concern, " a statement which all directors of all companies should take to heart these days. And there is
something touching in the fact that Mount Stephen,
himself feeling the results of the heavy strain, began
177 The Romance of the C.P.R.
to warn Van Horne to be careful of his health and
to throw more responsibility on others. As a matter
of fact Van Horne was doing this within a short time
after he became President. For Shaughnessy was
moved up to be a Director and Vice-President and
was making his brilliant business qualities felt in the
management of the great enterprise he had seen grow
from a small beginning.
But Van Horne consented with great reluctance
to Mount Stephen's retirement. The caution of the
quiet Scot had been a fine counterpart to the intense
and almost headlong impetuosity of the practical
railway builder, and a great friendship had grown
through the years. So that we are not surprised
when we find that Van Horne had written Mount
Stephen saying, "Your withdrawal would not be the
withdrawal of a Director, but of the soul of the enterprise. " The business world is sometimes as drab
and dead and unemotional as a sandwaste, but it has
its oasis spots, and words like those just quoted mark
one of them. During those years, however, it is a
notable thing, that whenever a proposal was made
even by Mount Stephen to Van Horne that the
business administration of the Canadian Pacific
Railway should be conformed to English methods,
the bluff railroader refused point-blank. He said
that "the English methods work in England, but
they will not do here." He allowed that the English system of stabilizing the financial conditions of
a railway was the best, but when it came to operating
the road the extent and character of Canada
m* Intensive and Extensive Work
made English methods wholly inapplicable. Mount
Stephen knew that Van Horne was a past master
at administrative operation, and wisely counselled
English capitalists to trust in Van Horne and his
Canadian associates to run the road. When I say
"Canadian associates" the expression must be under
stood as meaning that men resident in Canada were
to administer and operate the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many of these men were Canadian born;
others in the early days were from outside; but
throughout the years they have constituted a wonderfully able and efficient and splendidly loyal staff.
We have gone forward of events somewhat, owing to
our discussing Lord Mount Stephen's retirement and
the relationship subsisting between him and the new
President. We may go back a little and see the work
of the railway under Mr. Van Horne in that high
office. No other name could have been suggested
to succeed Mount Stephen, but there is something
exhilarating and encouraging to all young men on
"this continent in contemplating the career of Mr. Van
Horne, who though born in another country and of
alien parentage, came into the British Dominion of
Canada and not only overcame any resentment
against his intrusion, but who "made by force his
merits known" till he came to be acknowledged as
one of the foremost citizens of Canada.
Mr. Van Horne, both before and after he became
President of the Canadian Pacific, set himself not
only to create local traffic, travel arid immigration
as already recorded, but he also very particularly
179 The Romance of the C.P.R.
began to secure branch lines and connections as
feeders to the long main line from ocean to ocean.
In this sort of work he was in his element, planning
new lines and building them, buying out old roads and
putting new life into them, getting access to the big
centres of the East and linking up with the railway
systems south of the line. This immense task of
opening new lines and establishing new industries
has been continued by all Van Home's successors till
the Dominion and a good deal of the States knows
the Canadian Pacific as it knows its city streets and
country roads. In fact the Canadian Pacific is so
ubiquitous that men take with the utmost gravity
the old joke that the clocks of the country are set
to the railway time as if the road was in control of
the calendar. All these sayings, grave and gay, indicate such a widening of the sphere of this road
since the last spike was driven that the mystic monogram "C. P. R. " is understood by every passer-by
and the houseflag of the Company's fleet is known
upon the seven seas of the world. About this tremendous expansion and a few of the men back of it
we may study more in the next chapter.
The Guiding Hands
[OTHING runs itself unless it is running down
'hill. This saying may be contradicted by advocates of "blind chance" theories, but, generally
speaking, it will be accepted as a practically accurate
statement of all movements. The Canadian Pacific
Railway Company has never allowed things to run
themselves. Strong minds and resolute hands were
always at work, and nothing was permitted to run
unguided and .uncontrolled. If this vast transportation system has become one of the wonders of the
modern world, it has not just happened, but it is the
result of a deliberate and a well-ordered plan in
which an intelligent sense of personal responsibility
for one's own share of work is recognized as imperative in order that the whole system may be a success.
A human being is not, as is sometimes said, a cog in
the wheel, but a living link in the chain of business
causation. Every one's work in every occupation is
monotonous in one sense, and in many cases it
seems to the worker that his or her task is of very little
importance. But one can never estimate the value
of work by superficial standards, for the man or
woman who gives a telephone number or raps out a
message on the key may be the means of transmitting messages that will change the face of the world.
181 The Romance of the C.P.R.
The Canadian Pacific has endeavoured, with a
large measure of success, to magnify the significance
of every worker's task and create a feeling of esprit
de corps in its great army of over one hundred thousand workers. Hence, for instance, I was not surprised to hear that in a certain city when a merchant
had made a foul public attack on the Company a host
of the Company's employees stayed away from that
merchant's store. They were of the company that had
been unfairly attacked, and they were not going to
stand for it. It was in that spirit, I suppose, that
Mr. Van Home's faithful porter, already mentioned,
used to put himself along with his "boss, " and speak
of both in the expression "we railway men." All
this means that, from the beginning, the Company
knew that it would owe its success not to any one
man, however great, but to the many who, though
guided generally by one dominating force, would be
in particular directed by the heads of the various
In the world's oldest Book, advice of a sage character was given to Moses, the greatest human leader
our world has known, by Jethro, his father-in-law.
The wise old chief saw that Moses was going to break
down because he was trying to do everything himself. And he told Moses that, in order that he might
have time and strength for the heavy task of leadership, he (Moses) should share the responsibility
with others by "choosing out of all the people able
men, and by making them captains over hundreds
and fifties and tens." The Book which contained
182 1
The Guiding Hands
that wise advice was a text-book in the schools of
Scotland when George Stephen, the first President
of the Canadian Pacific, was brought up, and one
does not need much imagination to see that such a
maxim of wisdom became almost unconsciously
part of his being. In any case, when he came to be
burdened with the Presidency of the great railway,
he practised the advice and passed it on also to others.
Hence it was that he brought Mr. Van Horne to take
over part of the burden. Stephen knew his own
limitations. He could raise money, but he could not
build railways. Hence also we find this same Stephen,
as we have seen, advising Van Horne to put some of
his load on others; and so Shaughnessy, the General
Purchasing Agent, moved up to be Mr. Van Home's
first great assistant and understudy, in line to be
"the King of Railway Presidents" in his time.
The Canadian Pacific system has now perhaps
one hundred thousand people on its payroll, with
a monthly salary list averaging about $8,500,000.*
It would be manifestly impossible to give any more
than a few outstanding names from this formidable
host, and even they would be given with the feeling
that they were only representatives of the host of
men and women who in all departments have been,
for these four decades, carrying on their work in a
splendid way.
Titles are now under the ban in Canada, but before that era of extreme democracy arrived, the Crown
*See foot note on page 234.
183 The Romance of the C.P.R.
had recognized the Imperial services of the following
men associated with the Company: Lords Mount
Stephen, Strathcona and Shaughnessy, Sir William
Van Horne, Sir Thomas Tait, Sir George Bury,
Sir George McLaren Brown, Sir Arthur Harris,
Sir William Whyte, Sir Augustus Nan ton, Sir James
Aikins, Sir E. B. Osier, Sir John Eaton, Sir Vincent
Meredith and Sir Herbert Holt. Mr. W. R. Baker,
who excelled in social qualities during royal visits,
was given a decoration by our present King.
But following out our theory as to the importance
of every place in service, my recollections swing from
the contemplation of the work done by men of such
remarkable ability and initiative as those above
named, without whom the road could not have succeeded, and I recall more men than I could possibly
mention in many volumes who out in the humbler
places did their enormously important work. Many
an hour, for instance, did I spend on the back platforms of the last coach on the old Southern Manitoba
trains with Charlie Panser, than whom no better
or more reliable roadmaster ever watched the ties
and spikes and fish plates and switches anywhere.
Nothing escaped his attention, and his little notebook recorded his observations in his own way. And
I think in that connection of all the maintenance-of-
way or section men, whose faithful labours through
summer heat and winter cold keep the road-bed in
amazingly perfect order. I have seen them fighting
blizzards on the prairie and watching washouts or
slides in the mountains, and all with such astonishing
184 The Guiding Hands
success that there is no more safe roadway in the
world than the Canadian Pacific.    I look back in
another direction and see old Gideon Swain, a big,
powerful man, who, despite his "rheumatics, ' was
general custodian and guard at the old Winnipeg
station.    He looked after everybody.    He was as
gentle as a woman in looking after children and their
travel-weary parents, but woe betide the tough or
loafer who tried to impose on the kindly old gentleman in whose big-hearted organism there slumbered
a volcanic energy against wrong.    Once I was there
when the old board platform was cracking in a forty-
below-zero   morning.    Swain * was   assisting   some
ladies and children on a train when two \ \ smart ' ' men
came into the circle and began to swear about something.    Turning round, the old station-guard, who
looked like a mountain in his coonskin coat, raised
the big stick he always carried and told them in a
thunderous voice to "shut up with talk like that before children. "    The men tried to explain, but Swain
would have none of it, and they simply had to subside and move away with the best grace possible,
to escape the wrath of the guardian of Athe children.
Possibly, like old Constable Richards of the^Windsor
Street Station in Montreal, of whom George Ham
writes so fondly, he too has found congenial work
beyond the Great Divide where they have both*gone.
Incidentally, that is a fine human story'of old^Con-
stable Richards  telling  Lord  Shaughnessy^at  the
station gate in Montreal, when the President was
returning from a trip, that he, the old keeper, had
185 jffT
The Romance of the C.P.R.
been overlooked when others had got an increase of
pay, which apparently under regulations could hot
go to Richards, who was being kept on over the age-
limit. The President, keeping some big people waiting, listened to the old gate-keeper's story attentively.
The next day Richards was delighted to get an envelope with notice of increase, and the back pay,
but he never knew that Lord Shaughnessy was paying
it out of his own pocket.
I have singled out these few men from the rank and
file, but they are representative of the loyalty and
devotion of thousands in the various departments.
Like them also in this do we find the locomotive engineers and trainmen—steady, careful, cool-
nerved men, who know their duty and do it. Gentlemanly conductors are there, also porters, waiters
and the rest, who all take pride in the road over
which they have their runs. And back of it all are
the men in the great workshops, like the "Angus, " in
Montreal, and "Ogden," in Calgary, and others all
across the continent, the roundhouses, divisional
quarters and similar establishments, where engines
and cars are builded and repairs of all kinds made.
Then we have the "live-wire" people in the telegraph
department, and so on through all the ramifications
of a vast organization ; but all enter into the life of the
system and make it a marvel of co-operative efficiency. Doubtless there are many here and there
amongst these employees who growl in regard to some
of the conditions of their employment. So have we
found men in a military regiment here and there who
186 The Guiding Hands
exercised their privilege of complaining against the
conditions of their service. But in both cases let an
outsider attack their organization and the esprit de
corps and regimental pride will assert itself, so that the
man who ventures on criticism does well if he escapes
without some injury.
We have thus taken a hurried survey of this great
host of people in the employ of the Canadian Pacific.
But we must not forget that they have been, through
these years, marshalled and led by remarkable men
all over the system. It is a well-organized army with
its parts all closely linked up and related, so that
there is a place for every one and every one has to fill
that place according to the measure of his ability.
We have written in some fullness already about
Sir William Van Horne, because as General Manager
he was the guiding hand in the great days when the
construction of the main line was carried to completion, and because, both as Manager and President,
he began the big task of creating conditions for the
support and extension of the road. Branch line
feeders in the West, and Eastern Canadian, as well
as American, connections, were established and the
Pacific shipping service well inaugurated in his day.
Notable lines, such as the Crow's Nest through the
"Boundary" country and the "Soo" Line, from
near Moose Jaw on the prairies to the United States,
had been established. Van Horne had said that he
would never leave the Canadian Pacific until "it was
out of the woods. " By 1897 or so things were looking
for the Road.    Stock had run up to par and the land
187 The Romance of the C.P.R.
sales for the first time had begun to be worth while as
a source of revenue for the Company.
It was evident that Van Horne was beginning
about that time to consider modifying his relation to
the Railway, and that was so for two or three apparent
reasons. The first was that the Company was never
the same to him after Mount Stephen had withdrawn
from the Directorate. Van Horne missed him terribly on personal grounds. The second was that
Van Home's powers were more creative than administrative and he knew it. He delighted in making a new thing go, but once it was going well he had
a sort of distaste for the detail of keeping it going.
He was more interested in putting a road across the
country than in running it. He loved the Canadian
Pacific and knew quite well that his lieutenant,
Shaughnessy, could do the intensive development
work and the detailed administration work better
than he himself could. Shaughnessy was ten years
younger and much more active. In fact Van Horne
wished, for the good of the Company, to hand the
leadership of it to Mr. Shaughnessy as early as 1895,
but Shaughnessy persuaded him to stay on till the
Company was more firmly established. And besides,
Mr. Van Horne, who said he had wealth enough,
wished not only to devote more time to the fine art
of painting and other artistic tastes, but to follow up
his farm and similar hobbies. Moreover, he saw
in such places as the island of Cuba and in other industries than railroading in Canada opportunities
for exercising his restless creative habit of mind.
I The Present Management  The Guiding Hands
Accordingly we find this Sir William Cornelius
Van Horne, who had started in railroad work at
the age of fourteen in another country, and had made
such a world-record in constructive enterprises that he
received the special recognition of knighthood from
the British Crown, voluntarily resigning in June,
1899, from the Presidency of the vast transportation
system he had done so much to create and develop.
He remained as chairman of the Board and a member
of the Executive, retaining his office in the Company
headquarters at Montreal and saying to his friends,
"I shall still hang around the old stand." I recall
reading a statement made by Edward Gibbon when,
after years of work, he finished his world-famous
book on the Roman Empire. He said that when he
had written the last page he took a turn in his garden.
His first sensation was a feeling of relief over the
completion of the great task, and then a feeling of
something like exultation over what he knew to be
an important contribution to the historical literature
of the world. And then, he says, he realized a sense
of loneliness because he would no longer have his
wonderfully congenial daily work, and a sense of loss
because something had gone out of his life as a
finished chapter in his career.
I think that Van Horne felt all that, when he gave
up the Presidency of the Canadian Pacific Railway,
and to say so is much to his credit. He missed something out of his life. He began to plan trips to fill up
the blank, but not very successfully, as we judge
189 The Romance of the C.P.R.
from the following account of a visit he paid to
Monterey in his private car after having seen California.    He says, " I went out on the verandah of the
hotel  and  smoked  a  big  cigar.    Then   I   got  up,
walked about the verandah and looked at the scenery.
It was very fine.    Then I sat down and smoked another cigar.    Then up again ; another walk about the
verandah, and more scenery.    It was still very fine.
I sat down again and smoked another cigar.    Then
I jumped up and telephoned for my car to be coupled
to the next train; and, by George, I was never so
happy in my life as when I struck the C. P. R. again. "
There is humour in this, but there is pathos also.
Van Horne was too keen-minded a man not to have
foreseen this situation.    And we repeat, as a lasting
proof of his devotion to the Canadian Pacific, that
when there came the hour when he felt it was in the
interests of the Railway to transfer the growingly
intensive and complex detail of its administration to
the sinewy business hands of Shaughnessy, whose
amazing  powers  as  a  financial  administrator and
master of detail had been amply tested through seventeen eventful years of the railway's history, Van Horne
resigned from the Presidency.    And thus it was that
Shaughnessy became President in June, 1899.    From
this date,  although  Van  Horne remained  on  the
Executive, he in'large measure passed out  of the
story of the Canadian Pacific Railway.    He retained
all his financial interests in the Road, and was always
ready to assist as Chairman^at Board meetings by
counsel ; but to all intents and purposes he felt he had
190 The Guiding Hands
done his share and was now,  by his own choice,
handing the work over to his successor.
But to a man of Van Home's initiative and creative
talent, idleness was unthinkable, and so, when he had
unloaded the heavier burden, he took up some others
less weighty, for exercise to keep himself fit. Accordingly we find him going into such concerns as the
Laurentide Pulp Company and the Windsor Salt Company, and with his usual energy he made them successful. Then he went to Cuba as a free lance, and by
building railways and other industries he did more for
Cuba, as has been said, than Spain had done in centuries.
He continued to reside in Montreal, busy with many-
projects, and when the end of life was at hand he said
in • effect what Cecil Rhodes, whom he somewhat
resembled in driving power, had said : " So little done;
so much to do. " What Van Horne actually did say
was, "I see so much to do that I wish I could keep
active for five hundred years. " But this strong scion
of Netherland stock had done a great day's work, and
his high place in the temple of railway fame is secure
for all time. Though of Dutch descent and American birth, he had become a British Empire builder
under the British flag; but his dust reposes in the
old graveyard of his people in Joliet. On the day
of his funeral every wheel on the vast Canadian
Pacific system came to a stop in silent tribute to the
memory of a Napoleonic fighter in the fields of peaceful industry. His legal adviser and friend through
many years, George Tate Blackstock, of Toronto, himself a man of most unusual ability, bore testimony to
191 irtf
The Romance of the C.P.R.
"the stupendous virility of his conceptions and exertions." "He had his faults, " said Blackstock, and he
indicates an approach to egotism in many of Van
Home's sweeping statements, but it was not the
"egotism of impotence*, but of power." And there
is a place in the battle of life for self-assertion of the
right kind.
We have already met in these pages his successor,
Mr. Thomas G. Shaughnessy. In most ways he was
unlike Van Horne. Born in Milwaukee, of Irish
descent, he was tall and athletic in appearance, and
altogether different in that respect from the stocky
and heavily-built descendant of Holland. A newspaper friend of mine, Mr. Hope Ross, of Winnipeg,
in a reminiscent article on Lord Shaughnessy, has
the following interesting note on his appearance and
manner, which carries out the impression made by the
same Shaughnessy as a young man on Mr. E. A.
James and noted in an earlier chapter. Mr. Ross
"Many years ago Sir Thomas, as he was then,
arrived in Winnipeg depot with a party, and an inexperienced reporter at once picked him out as the
leader. His dress, his quick manner, his general appearance, his commanding demeanour, his
attitude, all indicated and revealed his position.
As to his dress, President Shaughnessy seemed on
every occasion that I ever saw him as though he had
just stepped from the band box. Everything he
wore looked as though put on that moment for the
first time.    No one would, however, suggest that
192 The Guiding Hands
he was overdressed, but just perfectly, as the successful head of a great corporation should be.
"In his general appearance Sir Thomas was the
incarnation of prosperous big business. In nearly
twenty years' reporting around the Canadian Pacific
depot, and later about the Royal Alexandra Hotel,
I met no Eastern banker, railway executive, manufacturer, statesman, or other who seemed to personify
and embody what is known as the business power
of the East as he did."
It was this appearance and type of the President
that gave Vanity Fair the opportunity to make the
famous cartoon, "The Canadian Pacific." The cartoon was just a fine upstanding photograph of Lord
Shaughnessy. He was an embodiment of the vast
system of transportation, and Vanity Fair had caught
the right idea.
Generally speaking, the opinion of many—perhaps
of most people, about Lord Shaughnessy—was that
he was a keen, swift and rather hard man. He could
be all that on occasion, and he was usually dignified
in his manner, as became the head of a great enterprise. But those who knew him well say he was one
of the kindest of men. Temperamentally he was
generous, and was always ready to give assistance to
those in need, or, as George Ham put it, Shaughnessy,
helped many "a lame dog over the stile," and said
nothing about it. But the fact remains that the
popular impression, as we have indicated, was that
he was keen and rather hard and that impression was
a quite wrong deduction, due to his distinguished
193 The Romance of the C.P.R.
manner and detached attitude. It is well to remember that he was head of an immense army, and that
discipline requires a certain amount of dignity in
the officer commanding.
To have that and also to possess the warm human
heart is to have an ideal officer, like "The Beloved
Captain," as painted for us in Donald Hankey's
famous book of war experiences. Here again I
quote from the article written by Mr. Ross as it
illustrates" well the many-sidedness of the dignified
railway President.    Mr. Ross says:
"A little incident of which I was apparently the sole
Winnipeg witness, in connection with Sir Thomas,
occurred on a perfect May morning. The President
was to arrive and did arrive on a special train from
Montreal, shortly before eight o'clock, and I caught
him just as he stepped from his car. As usual he was
courteous and ready to talk to the press and said that
if I would wait until after breakfast he would answer
any questions I could ask. His car, the Killarney, was
left standing on the track closest to the depot. The
rear was all glass, and all the members of his party,
seated at the breakfast table—there were not more
than four or five—were in full view. Taking no chances
I remained in close proximity, waiting for the end
of the meal when the interview would be obtainable.
There was at that time no train shed at the Canadian Pacific depot and there was a wide expanse of
board walk. At the moment of the little incident
to which I refer this sidewalk was absolutely clear.
Strange to say, there was not a red cap nor a Canadian
Pacific police or official of any kind in sight. A local
train was standing on one track, well loaded, and
ready to pull out in a few moments.
yfe- The Guiding Hands
"Suddenly I saw Sir Thomas arise and come quickly
out of the car. Believing that he was coming to
meet his appointment with me, I went forward. He
passed me by saying ' Not yet. ' I then noticed that
a slight, small, foreign woman, in a worn, discoloured
cotton dress, carrying her possessions in a white
sheet, a big package about three feet high and three
feet wide at the widest, and with four small children,
was making her way across the expanse of sidewalk.
The conductor had just given the signal for departure.
Sir Thomas hurried to the side of the woman, gave
a signal to the trainmen, took the huge bundle in
the white sheet in one hand and one of the children
by the other, helped the woman to the train, handed
the white bundle to the brakeman, lifted the four
children up the steps, aided the foreign woman up,
and returned to his breakfast. A little later he was
telling me in his private car of the plans of the Company for immigration work that year, about the new
lines that were to be built, betterments which were to
be made, and the prospects for the future in the
prairie country, then humming with prosperity and
brimming over with optimism."
I can quite imagine this scene at the old station I
knew well in the early days. It was not then so
ornate or so much protected by fences and gates, but
it afforded opportunities for deeds of the kind recorded above. It was a fine, but perfectly spontaneous
act, on the part of the famous President, who saw
from his private car the plight of the immigrant
Mr. Ross adds another story which reveals a depth
of feeling in this great President, which even the re-
195 The Romance of the C.P.R.
porter who had been in touch with him for years
had not discovered. Sir William Whyte, that princely
man who had been such a tower of strength to
the Canadian Pacific in its most difficult days, and
who had not long before retired when two years over
the age limit, had passed away somewhat suddenly
during a visit to California. The funeral was, of
course, in Winnipeg, where he had been the foremost
citizen. Incidentally those of us who knew Sir
William Whyte say a hearty amen to the allusion
made to him by Mr. Ross in the following paragraph :
"Sir Thomas Shaughnessy had none of the official
manner when I met him in his private office here on
the day of the funeral of Sir William Whyte. Sir
William had been a father to me, as he was to a good
many younger men, and his death and burial concerned me much more than as a matter of news. Sir
Thomas was obviously profoundly moved and I had
a different feeling with reference to him always afterwards. He was never again the military dictatorial
head and President of the corporation in my feeling
with reference to him. "
This mention of Lord Shaughnessy and Sir William Whyte leads me to recall an incident of which
both these railway men were part. Both held very
strongly that the use of intoxicating drink should be
pared down to the minimum if it was used at all.
Once I recall that certain saloons.in the North End of
Winnipeg were enticing the employees of the railway
to their premises by putting out notices that pay
196 The Guiding Hands
cheques would be cashed after bank hours. And one
bitter winter night a railway employee who had used
the proceeds of his cheque too freely for liquor was
found frozen to death in the back-yard of the saloon.
I saw Mr. Whyte about it the next day and he was
furious over the action of the saloon keepers. He
said, "We will change our method of payment, if
necessary, for the welfare of the men and their
families, and perhaps make drinking a dismissable
offence whether on or off duty. Trainmen and
others off duty may be called up for duty any time
and they ought to be fit in order to avoid danger to
themselves and others. " One day when both Shaughnessy and Whyte were on a train which stopped at
Moose Jaw, where the Company had a hotel at the
station, Shaughnessy saw some trainmen entering
the bar-room. He called to the General Manager
of Western Lines (that was part of Mr. Whyte's
title) and said, "Whyte, close up that bar." Whyte
asked, "Now or at the closing hour of the day?"
And Shaughnessy said, "Close it now, and do not
allow it ever to open again. " It is quite well known
that Lord Shaughnessy would not tolerate the practice of drink or any habits usually associated with
Lord Shaughnessy's power as an executive officer
lay partly in the characteristics indicated already,
but mainly in his tremendous prestige as a man of
business whose ability as such was acknowledged the
world over.    When he was General Purchasing Agent
197 The Romance of the C.P.R.
for the Company he introduced a system of accounting which is said to have been adopted by the Corporation of the City of New York. There was no
movement in the world of finance that he did not
know about, and his mastery of the complex problem
of international credits led to his being called into
the councils of the Empire both in peace and war.
During the nineteen years of his Presidency, the Canadian Pacific was brought into a system of operation
which was the last word in efficiency, so that, as
already mentioned, he was called "King of Railway
Presidents" on this continent, where the biggest
railway interests of the world are in operation. His
services in the years of the Great War are spoken of
more fully in a chapter on that special subject.
Little wonder, then, that this famous chief executive officer of the Canadian Pacific was honoured
by the King, first by knighthood and later by a
•peerage under the title Baron Shaughnessy, K.C.V.O.,
of Montreal, Canada, and of Ashford, • County
Limerick, Ireland.
A few months before the end of the Great War—
which left him with a proud, but wounded, heart because of the death of his gallant son, Fred, at the Front
—Lord Shaughnessy felt that he should relinquish the
Presidency of the Company His age and strength admonished him that he should take things easier and
call a younger man to the office to deal with the
tremendous problems of the reconstruction period.
So, after thirty-six years of service with the road,
198 The Guiding Hands
he retired in 1918 from the Presidency, which he had
occupied since 1899, but he retained to the end the
office of Chairman of the Company. Mr. E. W.
Beatty was called to the place in succession to the
"King of Presidents" and is proving that the choice
was a wise one. Later on we shall write more particularly of Mr. Beatty, this youngest President of
such an immense organization.
It was characteristic of Lord Shaughnessy to
insist, despite Mr. Beatty's protest, on the young
President taking the large and ornate office room
which Presidents had always occupied. Lord Shaughnessy kept busy at his office in the Board room
every day in Montreal, till a sudden weakness of the
heart carried him away after a few hours illness, on
December 10th, 1923. Few incidents in the thrilling history of this pioneer transcontinental Canadian
railway are so wonderfully touching and, in a true
sense, dramatic, as the incident connected with Lord
Shaughnessy's death. Mr. Beatty was in to see
him shortly before the end came, and to Mr. Beatty
Lord Shaughnessy said : ' ' Take good care of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is a great Canadian property and a great Canadian enterprise." There is
nobility and solemnity in the incident. It was a
long way from the entrance of young Shaughnessy
to the Milwaukee Railway, at the age of fifteen, to
that scene in the sick-room in his Montreal mansion.
But he had been put in charge of a great trust in the
199 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Canadian Pacific,   and to that trust he  was   "true
till death."
The passing of Lord Shaughnessy was deeply
mourned by the employees of the road, who were proud
of their great "Chief." And that mourning was
practically world-wide. Perhaps no better summing
up of his career was written than in the London
Times editorial, where, after speaking of his coming
from abroad, the writer goes on to say:
"Here lies half the romance of Lord Shaughnessy's
career. Born in Milwaukee, a citizen of the United
States, he lived to become not only a citizen of the
Dominion of Canada across the border, but most
essentially a citizen of the British Empire. Under
his administration the double track branched and
extended so as to carry new settlers every year into
the farm-lands of Ontario, through the gateways of
the West, into the wheatfields of the prairies and beyond the Rockies into the valleys of British Columbia. In building the greatness of the Company he
served, he helped to build the greatness of his adopted
country and of the Empire as well. Himself an
immigrant, he realized to the full the vital importance to Canada of a vigorous system of immigration,
and his characteristically outspoken comment on the
possibilities that might be achieved under the Empire
Settlement Act were in marked distinction to the
hesitation of some of the political leaders of the
"Of Lord Shaughnessy it may be said that he was
a living instance of the manner in which the Britons
overseas assimilate the many elements of which they
are composed.    He came to Canada from a foreign
200 The Guiding Hands
country as a servant ; he remained to be honoured by
the king to whom he gave such loyal allegiance, and
to be recognized universally among his fellow-countryman as the first citizen of the Dominion."
The mantle of Lord Shaughnessy fell upon Edward Wentworth Beatty who, on Lord Shaughnessy's
passing, became President and also Chairman of the
Board. A young man not far over the forties in
years was Mr. Beatty when he took up the mantle
and assumed the high office of the Canadian Pacific
Presidency. First of the Canadian-born to occupy
this responsible position, he bids fair to measure up
fully to all its imperious demands.
There are unthinking people in the world who have
a sort of compassionate way of wondering whether
a man can fill the place of a great predecessor.
But in reality each man fills his own place, and by the
full play of his own individuality makes his own
contribution to history. Each may do work his
predecessor could not have done, and, while keeping
up a continuity, each brings a new force into the
march of human progress. It may be interesting
in this connection to recall and summarize the work
of these men who, up to this date, have headed the
Canadian Pacific. Hence an extract from an article
by the present writer on the subject, in the press
recently, may be introduced in line with the statement just made:
"These four presidents were of different types in
many ways, and of quite distinctive talents, but they
201 The Romance of the C.P.R.
seemed to be specially suited for the work which each
was called upon to do in the given period in which
he exercised the duties of his high office.
"Stephen was a master of finance, whose authority
in that realm was recognized by every one, and whose
integrity was beyond question. In executive boldness he was not the equal of some others on the road,
but the questions he had to face were largely financial.
" It was the period when the great railway, owing to
the terrific cost of construction and practical impossibility of selling land was, financially speaking,
gasping for breath. Stephen's mastery of financial
problems and his high repute in the world of business
made him the man for the hour.
"So consummate a master of finance was he that
before he relinquished the office of President, every
dollar loaned by the Dominion Government to tide
the Canadian Pacific Railway over the sandbars of
construction time was repaid.
"Mr. Van Horne, who succeeded Stephen in the
Presidency, was particularly gifted in the powers required for the period when, although the main line
was completed from coast to coast, an enormous
amount of work was required in creating traffic, constructing branch-line feeders, as well as a large
amount of inspection of all lines, the replacement of
temporary by more permanent track and bridge
equipment and such like. In such work Mr. Van
Horne had no equal.
"Mr. Shaughnessy, who came next, brought to the
Presidency his brilliant business gifts, the experience
through which he had passed as Purchasing Agent in
the critical days, as well as extraordinary foresight
and withal a determination to maintain the financial
stability of the road.
202 1
The Guiding Hands
"Once, when a Winnipeg newspaper man asked
him why the Canadian Pacific had not launched out
into certain projects of railway building in a new direction , he said : ' The future is always uncertain, and an executive must always be prepared to meet contingencies
that may arise and circumstances that may emerge.
The Canadian Pacific is a very large enterprise, and
its success is so vital to Canada that we must exercise
due caution. The surplus assets and the liquid assets
must be kept in a condition to meet all emergencies.
"Mr. Beatty had come to the Presidency in a new
day, when legal as well as financial problems are
numerous. Mr. Beatty is an experienced railway
lawyer, as well as a keen man of business. He is
cool rather than impetuous. He has a personality as
suggestive of reserve power as an engine with steam
up ready to go when the time comes. But he will
make no hasty and premature rushes at anything.
He speaks well in private and in public and he is
thinking all the time. He has become a leading
figure, but he will never become diffuse or aimless in
his thinking or speaking. He has his powers harnessed and so under his control that he will not be
thrown off the track by outside forces. He will
go.far in the railway world."
New occasions teach new duties, and the present
railway situation in Canada is unprecedented. President Beatty is evidently treading firmly, but cautiously, along a new trail and his self-control and keen
study of the situation indicate a remarkable insight
and foresight which will make for a great tenure of a
tremendously potent position.
Biographically it may be noted that Mr. Beatty
is the son of a noted steamship operator on the inland
203 The Romance of the C.P.R.
seas of Ontario. The future President had good
opportunity for education in Thorold and Toronto
University, before he entered on the study of law in
the office of Adam Creelman, who was counsel for
the Canadian Pacific. When Mr. Creelman moved
to headquarters at Montreal, as General Counsel,
he took Mr. Beatty with him. Mr. Beatty's
ability and devotion to work made his promotion to
the position of Chief Counsel and a Vice-Presidency
rapid. He so studied every phase of the Company's
great system that his succession to the Presidency
came in natural sequence.
It goes without saying that all the Presidents were
aided and advised by an exceedingly able staff of
wise and experienced men. Where there is such a
host, it is manifestly impossible to even mention
many without seeming "to make invidious distinctions, " as a student once answered when he declined
to name the major and the minor prophets on an
examination paper. But, in addition to those whose
names appear elsewhere in these chapters, a high
place amongst the early men who helped to really
build up the Canadian Pacific is given by general
consent to David McNicoll. Once when a friend
in Ontario referred to him as "Dave" he followed it
up by saying that they went to school together in
Arbroath, Scotland, and that "Dave" always had
great ability. After some railway experience, in both
the Old Country and Canada, McNicoll joined the
Canadian Pacific in 1883. He rose steadily to be a
Vice-President and General  Manager.    He was an
204  fil
Former Officers The Guiding Hands
encyclopedia on all matters pertaining to the road,
studied maps till the whole country was an open book
to him, and he became known as an incessant worker
with all the grim determination and reliance of his race.
He met difficult situations without flinching, and was
a tower of strength to the road till he practically broke
his health through excessive toil. His work is commemorated by Port McNicoll, as Mr. R. B. Angus
and Mr. I. G. Ogden are commemorated in the great
shops bearing their names.
Then we have such men as Vice-Presidents W. R.
Maclnnes, with the Company since 1885; the late
George M. Bosworth, head of ocean steamship services ;
Grant Hall, with the railway since 1886, a mechanical
genius; A. D. MacTier, who began clerking in the baggage department in 1887, and is now Vice-President,
a man of vision; Mr. D. C. Coleman, who started
as clerk in the engineering department at Fort
William and who is now Vice-President at Winnipeg, a man with much literary taste and a hobby
for collecting books; Charles R. Hosmer, who
organized the telegraph service at the beginning;
and others whose names will emerge in the closing
chapter, with some account of a few special features
in the life of the road. One does not forget the press
service embodied in Col. George H. Ham, who has
popularized the Railway in many lands. All over
the immense system I can see the faces of men in all
departments who were and are contributing to the
success and boundless efficiency of this world-wide
organization.    They do not tolerate carelessness, in
205 élfW
The Romance of the C.P.R.
themselves or others, and, to an extraordinary degree,
they are imbued with the spirit of the great leaders of
the Company who sought to make the whole system
a builder of Empire and a contributing factor to the
well-being of the world.
The Wonders of the Deep
'"THE WORLD'S literature in all the ages has much
A to say about the mystery and the wonder and the
power of the sea. In ancient days Homer made
frequent use of the expression, "the loud resounding
sea," and, in modern times, Byron apostrophizes
the unconquerable ocean and seems glad to think
that while
"Man marks the earth with ruin;
His control stops with the shore. "
But here, as elsewhere, the language of writers who
have the Theistic view of things strongly developed
is supreme for its vividness and power. Thus we
find the Psalmist saying, "They that go down to the
sea in ships and do business in great waters, these
behold the works of the Lord and his wonders in the
deep." No finer reflection of that saying has been
seen in our day that the verses,
"There's a schooner in the offing
And her topsail's shot with fire
And my soul has gone aboard her
For the Isle of my desire.
" I must forth again at midnight,
And to-morrow I shall be
Hull down on the trail of rapture
Mid the wonders of the sea. "
207 The Romance of the C.P.R.
"The Western Sea" beyond the sunset shore of
British North America always had a romantic and
fascinating attraction for explorers and navigators.
As indicated in a previous chapter, the hope of discovering a north-west passage by a sea channel from
the Atlantic to the Pacific had lured some of the most
dauntless navigators to hardship and death a few
centuries ago. There is a picture somewhere of an
old sea-rover in uniform and decorations, studying a
map of British North America on which his clenched,
determined hand rests, and underneath he is represented as saying, in this regard, to his eager little
grandson, "This must be done, and Britain must do
it." Well, Britain's seamen discovered, after endless persistence, that there was no north-west passage by sea. But gallant British explorers who remembered the motto on a famous battle-axe, "I
either find a way or make one, " rested not till they
forced a pathway by land to the ocean of their dreams.
For nearly a century after Alexander Mackenzie,
the indomitable Stornaway Scot, made the pioneer
trail to the West Coast, "from Canada by land in
1793," a limited trade was carried on laboriously,
by trail and canoe and packhorse, in the mountain
region. But when Canada was brought into a Confederation by linking together the old Provinces
in the East, men of vision saw the vast possibilities
of the Western seaboard. In 1851, as already noted,
Joseph Howe, in Nova Scotia, had outlined the future
in a vivid word-painting and caused others to see
the   ever   expanding   destiny   of   British   America.
208 The Wonders of the Deep
He pictured the day when not only would "the whistle of the locomotive be heard in the heart of the
Rocky Mountains," but when Canadian enterprise
would reach out to trade with the teeming millions of
the Orient that lay facing the Pacific shore. Nor
should we forget that Sir Hugh Allan, the master-
trader on the Atlantic out of Montreal, long ago
coveted for Canada a business not only trans-Atlantic
and trans-continental, but trans-Pacific as well.
These visions of trans-Pacific trade and passenger
traffic came to swift realization soon after the Canadian Pacific Railway reached tide-water at Port
Moody, on the West Coast, on July 4th, 1886.
Port Moody, as we have seen, was the legal terminus
of the steel trail across Canada. The Company sent
a live-wire agent to Port Moody to look after the
freight and passenger traffic. This agent was a
young man named David E. Brown, who now lives
retired in a beautiful home in Vancouver, appropriately named "The Bunkers," and appropriately
situated in the locality called Shaughnessy Heights.
Brown was born of Scottish parents in the County of
Grey, in Ontario, and still retains, on occasion, the
distinctive accent of his people. He learned the way
of Western railroading under that soldierly man,
Mr. Robert Kerr, then in charge of freight traffic
at Winnipeg, and Brown made such a place for himself
in the esteem of his chief that he was assigned to
the farthest strategic point where the rails struck
tide-water at Port Moody. It was a great chance
for a young man, and Brown had the will and the
209 The Romance of the C.P.R.
ability to make the most of it. Accustomed to handling freight inland, he was now to tackle coast traffic
all along British Columbia and up to Alaska, for
his line. And, to add to his responsibilities, he was
only three weeks at Port Moody when a sailing
brig, the W. B. Flint, an 800-ton clipper with a " Blue-
nose skipper," tied up at the wharf with a cargo of
tea from Yokohama, to be shipped over the new
Canadian Pacific Railway to the East. In some
places and at some periods in our day the arrival of
a brig with 800 tons of cargo would seem a quite
insignificant event, but the prow of that particular
brig clove open a new doorway to world commerce.
She did not belong to the Canadian Pacific Railway,
but led the way from the Orient for the Company's
steel-clad coursers which now bridge the oceans and
link four continents under the ensign of the greatest
transportation system in the world. But all that was
not done in one day.
Following the path finding W. B. Flint to Port
Moody in that July of 1886 came two other sailing
vessels with similar cargo, only that the Oroyo, the
last of the three, had its cargo so badly damaged by
water, through imperfect hatches, that it was not
worth much. Brown, the young agent, had some
things to learn as to what constituted delivery and
acceptance of cargo in'such a case, but he met the
situation so well that the Railway came out safely
in the end. It was perhaps this resourceful handling
of a new.kind of business that so attracted the attention of headquarters at Montreal to the young agent
210 The Wonders of the Deep
at Port Moody that they sent Brown to the Antipodes
and the Orient to work up business for the Railway
from those regions.
This was an eventful commission, but before we
follow Mr. Brown on the trip let us go back and see
how the traffic from the Orient began with the three
sailing vessels that came to Port Moody in 1886.
It was through the New York firm of Everett,
Frazar & Co., who had some connection in Yokohama, that Montreal headquarters of the Canadian
Pacific Railway brought this about. It looks like
the work of the persistent, courageous and far-seeing
Van Horne. He used to say that he was "going to
make it possible to send a traveller around the world
on one ticket over one system. " And, no doubt, he
also determined that as much as they could secure
of the world's freight traffic would be routed over the
same far-flung lines of travel. He must have planned
with his usual daring, because the tea clipper reached
Port Moody on July 26th, 1886, and the first through
train from Montreal had only arrived there on July 4th.
It would have been awkward if the cargo of tea from
Japan had to be dumped on the primitive wharf with
no train in sight to carry that cargo to its destination
in Eastern Canada. Perhaps, too, it was Mr. Van
Horne who, through Mr. George Olds, General
Traffic Manager, sent Brown to the Orient. Anyway,
I have had the privilege of seeing a sheaf of personal,
intimate autograph letters from Van Horne to Brown,
extending over many years and discussing in the
most delightful and self-revealing way such artistic
211 The Romance of the C.P.R.
subjects as Chinese vases, pottery, antiques and
curios, in which both were interested. Mr. Van
Horne did not throw money away by any means, but
here and there in the letters he asks Brown to purchase some special rarity at what looks to most of
us very generous figures.
Mr. Brown established connection for the Canadian
Pacific Railway with New Zealand and Australia also.
Australia was rather hesitant, though interested, but
Brown appealed to them on grounds of Empire
loyalty—"hands across the sea and let the kangaroo
shake hands with the beaver." Brown waited in
Australia and took part in a celebration that gave
a hearty send-off to the first steamer on the way
to Vancouver.
Mr. Brown made his headquarters at Hong-Kong
for fourteen years, and in that time combed the
Orient for traffic for his line. He made successful
visits as far as Bombay and Calcutta, to establish
connections, and called at the Island of Ceylon in
the same connection.
A typical case was that of his call at Ceylon. He
ascertained that the authorities were contemplating
sending a large exhibit to the World's Fair in Chicago
in 1894. They did not know just how best to ship to
points beyond New York. But Mr. Brown went to the
Commissioner in charge and said "I represent the
Canadian Pacific Railway, and I can give you transportation right into the exhibition grounds at
Chicago." They thought this was daring for so
young a man, but they talked it over and finally
212 The Wonders of the Deep
Brown got the business, shipping over a P. & O.
steamer to Hong-Kong, thence on his own line to
Vancouver and on to Chicago by rail. It looks
simple now, but it was a bold venture at the time.
It was beginning to fulfil Mr. Van Home's expectations of sending people around the world on one ticket.
One great thing which makes travel desirable is the
opportunity of meeting with interesting and famous
people. During one of his trips in the South Seas
Mr. Brown met and travelled with Robert Louis
Stevenson, his wife and daughter. And what could
be more interesting than to meet and talk with " R. L.
S.,of Scotland and Samoa, " and visit him in his own
island home under the hill, where the dust of the
great writer now reposes on the summit?
Incidentally, I might add, " R. L. S. " made special
reference to Mr. Brown, as appears in one of his
books, saying characteristically, "I am the general
provider for my household (wife and daughter).
I have just supplied them on deck with the company of the Canadian Pacific Railway agent, and
so left them in good hands."
Mr. Brown, as mentioned above, remained fourteen years in the Orient with headquarters in Hong-
Kong, but after having had three serious illnesses
there he was ordered by doctors to leave that climate.
So he returned to Vancouver, where the Company
gave him the position of General Superintendent of
Trans-Pacific Steamships, a position he retained till
his retirement on pension in 1906.
Mr. Allan Cameron, who has had very wide ex-
213 The Romance of the C.P.R.
perience in several departments of railway service in
different parts of the world, in now in charge of the
Oriental end of the Canadian Pacific Steamship
Service, with headquarters at Hong-Kong, and is
making special study of inter-trade relations between
Canada and the F"ar East. At the Vancouver end of
the business no one of the old-timers is better known
and better liked than the highly competent ships-
husband, Mr. James A. Fullerton. He is now retired,
but still haunts the waterfront and takes great interest in the fleet that he has seen grow from very
small beginnings. Captain Beetham, a practical
sea-faring man himself, is in control of the Pacific
shipping, with headquarters at Vancouver, while
Captain Troup, who knows the coast-wise and inland lake and river business like a book, is in general
charge of that important department. With efficient
help in the offices and special agents at home and
abroad, the business in a generation has kept constantly expanding, as the next paragraph specially
In the meanwhile, as the years passed from the
arrival at Port Moody of the first "tea clipper" from
Japan, the Company's trans-Pacific business had
grown by leaps and bounds. Following the "tea
clippers" from the Orient to Port Moody, the Company in 1887 chartered three steamships, the Batavia,
Parthia and Abyssinia, from Glasgow ship-builders,
to go on a regular trans-Pacific run from Vancouver;
and the latter's first outbound cargo was only forty
tons of freight.    In  1890 the  British Government
214 The Wonders of the Deep
contracted to .give the Company a subsidy annually,
on condition that three twin-screw steamers were
put on the route between Vancouver, Japan and China.
It was to fulfil this contract that the famous Empresses first made their appearance from the Barrow
shipyards, specially built for the Canadian Pacific,
namely the Empress of India, the Empress of China,
the Empress of Japan, and they began their work in
It was not until 1903, under direction of Lord
Shaughnessy, that the Canadian Pacific went into
the shipping business on the Atlantic. The business
on the Atlantic did not have to be created by the
C. P. R. in the same sense as the Pacific trade, and
I dwell less upon it for that reason. The Company
purchased fifteen ships from a going concern, the
Elder Dempster Line. This was a good beginning,
but more ships soon became necessary, and the
Empress of Britain and the Empress of Ireland were
added in 1906, when the Monteagle joined the Pacific
fleet. The popularity of the short route between
Vancouver and the Orient was such that additional
ships were necessary, so in 1913 two steamers, the
Empress of Russia and the Empress of Asia, were
added to the Pacific fleet. Then, in 1914, the
Metagama and Missanabie were added on the
Atlantic,' the latter being later torpedoed in war time.
The Melita and Minnedosa came on in 1917 and 1918,
In 1916 the company took over the management of
the old-established Allan Line, thereby acquiring
eighteen   ships, of which the most famous is that
215 r-—
The Romance of the C.P.R.
now known as the Empress of France. More recently the largest ship of all in the Canadian Pacific
service, the Empress of Scotland, has been added on
the Atlantic, and the Empress of Canada and the
Empress of Australia began the run on the Pacific.
These last-named three are/ literally and without exaggeration, floating palaces. There are single, double
and family rooms, suites and special rooms with
every possible convenience, reception rooms, gymnasium, nursery, swimming pool, concert and motion
picture halls, and practically everything necessary
to the comfort of travel. In 1922 the Montcalm,
Montrose and Montclare, popular recruits to the "M"
type of cabin ships, were added on the Atlantic,
later followed by the Montnairn. During the past
few years, the Empress of Canada, Empress of Scotland, Empress of France and Montroyal (which is
the new name for the Empress of Britain) have
made very popular winter cruises, the objectives*
being variously around-the-world, to the Mediterranean, and to the West Indies. The Empress of
Australia, built in Germany and coming to the
Canadian Pacific as a result of the War, is most
ornately and beautifully finished and furnished
throughout. This superb vessel, under command of
Captain S. Robinson and a gallant crew, in 1923 was
just casting off from the wharf at Yokohama when
the terrific earthquake upheaved that city and overwhelmed it with tidal waves and fire. The Australia became voluntarily a refugee vessel, saved many
hundreds of lives and, cancelling her trip to Vancouver,
216 The Wonders of the Deep
took the refugees to Kobe, besides giving practically
all her stores of food and clothing to the destitute.
For this gallant act, which involved the Company
in very heavy financial loss, I heard the Captain and
crew specially thanked by President Beatty and
other officials of the organization. In so doing these
officials showed not only their pride in their men, but
their desire to magnify the human side of business.
More recently Captain Robinson has been decorated
by His Majesty King George V with the Order of the
Commandership of the British Empire, and has been
lionized and decorated at many points on the world
tour of the Empress of Canada, to which he was transferred. The Captain has said little to the public
about the fearful incident of the earthquake and the
sea blazing with burning oil around his vessel. But
he had to make his official report to Mr. Bosworth
of the Canadian Pacific, and despite his efforts to
minimize the greatness of the exploit of himself
and his gallant crew, the incident is fully abreast
of the noblest traditions of British seamanship.
In order to indicate in a brief way the wide ramifications of the Canadian Pacific Steamship service,
we add that there are a number of vessels exclusively
for freight on the high seas in all parts of the world,
and there are many vessels, some of them palatial,
doing business on the coasts and inland lakes of
Canada, in some cases as links to the rail services,
in others as extensions or feeders of the same. On
the Great Lakes of Canada are five splendid steam-
217 The Romance of the C.P.R.
ships; on the coasts of British Columbia, and from
Seattle to Alaska, there are twenty-five more staunch
vessels, while on the lakes and rivers of British
Columbia there is nearly another score. There is
steamship service also between St. John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia, while the Canadian-
Australasian Line, one result of Mr. Brown's pioneer
efforts, operates between Vancouver, Victoria and
the Antipodes.
All this sounds like a formal list of facts, but it is
an amazing record of achievement in the course of
less than two score years. From the tea-laden clipper
of eight hundred tons that tied up to the wharf at
Port Moody in 1886, the tonnage has rolled up to the
vast total of considerably over half-a-million. The
Railway Company which in 1886 chartered three
tramp steamers for the Pacific Ocean trade now has
an immense fleet of its own on the great oceans, and
with its well-known round-the-world winter cruise
now proudly adopts the slogan " Spans the world! "
From the small beginning the Canadian Pacific has
become the world's greatest transportation system
under one management by sea as well as by land.
Back of all that material and visible result is the
astonishing story of the thought and action of strong
men which is difficult to put down on paper. There
have been master minds as well as courageous hearts
and willing hands at work during all these years,
thinking, planning and executing daring things for
the expansion and extension of this vast enterprise.
It has been my privilege to know many of these men
218 The Wonders of the Deep
in almost all branches of the service. My judgment
is that, on the whole, these men were singularly free
from any desire for personal gain. They had the far
mightier stimulus of being engaged in a world business
for the development of hitherto unrealized natural
resources in many lands, and, subconsciously perhaps,
they felt that the main object of their endeavours
was the ultimate advantage of all mankind. In
that frame of mind giants toiled in the early days, and
there is no reason to think that their type is not reproduced in the men of to-day.
War Service
A and is a triumph of constructive endeavour in the
days of peace. We have spoken of the army of men
at work, from the turning of the first sod, all through
the grading, the tracklaying and the operation of the
road, as a peaceful mobile army which moved with
tireless tread in the march of civilization. It was
the business of these men to build and not to destroy,
to gather together and not to scatter abroad, to
conserve and not to dissipate the natural assets of Canada. In doing this work the Railway would be performing a great task in relation to the stability of
human society and would send coursing through the
arteries of commerce that national and international
trade which has so much to do with the calm health
of the world. But, alas! there are times when the
peace of the earth is rudely interrupted by some
megalomaniac who kicks the anthill of the world's
population and sends the inhabitants into wild confusion. In such times it becomes necessary to resist
and subdue the disturber, if need be, by force.
Pacifism is a high ideal if all would seek to work it
out together; but, changing to another figure of
speech, we all know that it is useless to reason with
a mad dog -running amuck on the world's thorough-
220 War Service
fare. Hence there are occasions, unhappily, when
the peaceful have not only to stand on the defensive
but to carry war into the enemy's country, so as to
compel the inciter to war to remember that other
people have a right to life and liberty and happiness
on this round globe. On such occasions the machinery of traffic has to be temporarily diverted, in some
degree, from its accustomed employment and swung
into the conflict for ultimate peace.
In this regard the great railway of which we are
writing has done its startlingly large share at home
and abroad. It will be remembered that the road
was not finished over the North Shore of Lake Superior when Mr. Van Horne, who had, months before,
offered help in such a possible emergency case, transported troops to the scene of the Riel outbreak on
the North and South Saskatchewan. We spoke
specially of the North Shore in relation to bringing
troops from the Eastern Provinces, but we must also
bear in mind that troops were rushed from Winnipeg
westward with pronounced effect. Those were my
student days in Winnipeg, but it was my privilege to
be one of the Winnipeg Light Infantry which was
specially raised and rushed on the new road by troop
train to Calgary. This was an exceedingly important movement, because the massacre at Frog Lake,
down the North Saskatchewan from Edmonton, had
taken place and the Indian tribes were very restless
all over the vast area from the boundary line away to
the north. We left some companies at points in
what is now Southern Alberta where the warlike
221 -V-
The Romance of the C.P.R.
tribes of the Blackfeet, Piegans, Bloods and others
had their habitat. Their great chief, Crowfoot, befriended in the early days by the Mounted Police, was
loyal, but young braves under the prevailing excitement might break away and were none the worse of
seeing a few red-coats in the locality. From Calgary
the rest of our regiment, along with the 65th of Montreal, and a few splendid Mounted Police and Scouts,
marched north to Edmonton. We passed through
some tribes that were very much agitated by Riel's
runners, and on to Edmonton, which, but for the
timely arrival of our column, would have shared the
fate of Forts Pitt and Victoria, not far away, which had
already been looted and burned by the Frog Lake and
other Indians under Big Bear and Wandering Spirit.
Similarly were troops rushed westward from Winnipeg to Swift Current, whence they marched for the
relief of Battleford, which was beleagued by Indians,
and farther east others went on the railway till they
came to the point nearest Batoche, where Riel and
Gabriel Dumont were at the centre of revolt. Riel
had sent his runners out in all directions, saying to
the Indians that there were only a few Mounted Police
in the country and that the Queen's soldiers could
not reach the Far West. My own recollection is that
the Indians amongst whom we came were positively
amazed at the suddenness of our appearance in their
remote districts. Prevention is better than cure,
and there is no doubt at all but that the effect of the
inflammatory appeal of Riel was headed off by the
swift arrival of soldiers.    But for this  the whole
222 War Service
prairie might have been overrun by maddened Indians, who would have made many massacres like
that of the nine unfortunate white men whose mangled bodies we buried on the Frog Lake Indian Reserve. After the rebellion was crushed, the Government at Ottawa took many Indian Chiefs to the
Eastern Provinces in order that these Indians might
see the strength of "the Queen's people." This trip
was an effective deterrent on any more uprisings and
not the least of the influences for peace were the
"fire wagons" that drew trains along steel trails with
such swiftness that the Indian ponies were left hopelessly behind. The Riel outbreak was not a great
war, but it might have led to massacre, pillage and
ruin only for the demonstration of powder made possible by the railway transport before the flame of
revolt got fairly started. For that service, of enormous value to Canada and the Empire, we who knew
the situation will always be grateful for the work of
the Canadian Pacific in a critical hour. The swift
suppression of the Riel revolt put the all-Canadian
railway conspicuously on the map of the Empire as a
new element of power in her far-flung battle-line.
When the Great War broke over the world so suddenly in 1914, the Canadian Pacific had, in the interval since Riel's outbreak and the primitive line of
that day, grown into the world's greatest transportation system by land and sea. It is remembered
now of course that the War took most people unawares, so that they acted in the emergency according to the attitude their manner of thinking had de-
223 The Romance of the C.P.R.
veloped. It is a striking comment on the thinking
of President Shaughnessy, of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, that while others in various places hesitated
he at once put the resources of the Company, with
its world-wide system on land and sea, at the disposal of the Empire. This was all the more remarkable
when we recall that he was foreign born and had only
come to Canada when he had grown to man's
estate. The fact was that he had become intensely
Canadian. It seems a law of human life that people
come to love the cause for which they make sacrifices. Shaughnessy had sacrificed much for Canada
and its progress. He had left his own country and
his home at an age when these mean much and
when for him certain promotion on well-established
roads was within reach. He had come to a new enterprise in a comparatively new country with an
uncertain future and he had passed through circumstances that imposed upon him, for some years, a
mental strain which amounted to positive suffering.
I do not suppose that either he or Van Horne ever
became less attached to their native land to the south
of the line, but the stupendous undertaking of
Canada's pioneer transcontinental railway so absorbed the intense devotion of all their energies that
they became profoundly Canadian. They did not
love the United States less, but the immense enterprise to which they gave the best years of their lives
in Canada bound them with unmistakable loyalty
to their adopted country. When the War broke out,
Mr. Van Horne had retired from active service in
224 War Service
the Canadian Pacific and was in poor health, but his
heart was in sympathy with Canada and he exerted
himself to do what he could. Shaughnessy, as we
have said, wheeled the whole system into line to help
win the War. The transcontinental trains had to be
kept moving with precision, to transport troops and
to rush to the front stores of food from the granary
of the Empire on the Western plains. But the huge
workshops were turned into shell factories and became
hives of industry for the manufacture of the destructive enginery of war. Shaughnessy, at the request
of the Home Government, loaned to the work of war
transportation some of the ablest officials of the
Company in that department. • In an effort to reorganize the broken-down transportation of Russia,
Shaughnessy sent to that strange land one of the
keenest minded officials of the Canadian Pacific
in the person of George Bury, who was knighted for
the efforts he made there in a period seething with
discontent and revolution.
Although it would not do to cripple the system at
the home base, every facility was given to employees
to enlist for military service abroad. I have seen
with Mr. F. W. Peters, the popular and efficient
General Superintendent of the Railway in British
Columbia, a copy of the instructions issued by Shaughnessy and sent out to leading officials all over the
system. It was intimated therein that to all employees who enlisted their full pay would be continued for six months (many thought the war would be
brief) and that places equivalent to those they had
225. If
The Romance of the C.P.R.
occupied when they enlisted would be given to
those who returned. There were over eleven thousand enlistments and of these about eleven hundred
were killed in action. So well was the promise as to
re-employment kept that former employees to the
number of nearly eight thousand were taken on
again, and in addition some fourteen thousand other
returned soldiers were given situations—a most
remarkable showing. It is quite well known that
the Company also did all it could for the dependants
of those who did not return.
In tribute to the unreturning brave the Canadian
Pacific erected, permanent memorials in bronze and
tablets all over the system in order that succeeding
generations might not forget. Upon each bronze
monument and each tablet are these fine words:
"To commemorate those in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, who, at the call of
king and country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardship, faced danger and finally passed out
of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live
in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that
their names be not forgotten.    1914-1918."
We have been thus far studying the war service of
the Canadian Pacific with our minds principally upon
the forces drawn from the land portion of the system.
But there is in some respects a more wonderful
record on the sea. Not that the men on the sea were
more valorous than those on the land ; but the men
on the sea, being located in ships, were more easily
^_ War Service
followed than the men who in the land or the air
forces were scattered in various localities on many
battle fronts.
Almost every ship of the Canadian Pacific fleet
went on war duty, and fifteen of these were lost by
torpedoes or mines or other similar causes on the high
seas. These lost vessels represented over a third of
the tonnage engaged. Behind this simple statement
are many tales of heroism of which there is no permanent record, and there are achievements of thrilling importance done in practically all parts of the
world. It is possible for us to give only an outline
which can be filled in with deeds of gallantry and
valour by the imagination of any reader who knows
the traditions of our British men on the high seas of
the world.
"If blood be the price of Admiralty,
Lord God, we have paid it full:
We have strawed our best to the world's unrest,
To the shark and the sheering gull."
By following the log of some of the Canadian Pacific
vessels we get at least some of the bare facts.
The Empress of France had barely reached the
dock at Liverpool, two days after war was declared,
when she was requisitioned for special service by
royal proclamation. Within a few days after her
cargo was unloaded, all passenger accommodation and
other wood work was removed. Armed with eight
six-inch guns, she was sent out, manned by a naval
crew, to patrol in the North Sea between Shetland
227 The Romance of the C.P.R.
and Iceland, and became, a few months later, the flagship of the patrol squadron, in which service she
intercepted 15,000 ships. Later, she was transferred
to convoy service in the North Atlantic route. In
that service she escorted nine convoys of twenty
vessels each, carrying per convoy about 30,000 troops,
mostly Americans on their way to the front. Some
indication of the extent of the war service of the
Empress of France may be gathered from the fact
that while in commission she steamed 267,000 knots
and consumed 170,000 tons of coal. These figures as
to only one vessel out of many tell little of the services and the hardships of a gallant crew, but they
shed some light on the frightful monetary cost of war.
The Empress of Britain, after a year's service in
patrol, was fitted out as a transport, carrying troops
to the Dardanelles, Egypt and India; also from Canada to the Western Front. Besides her own crew
she accommodated 5,000 officers and men. During
one of her trips across the Atlantic with a full complement of "crew and soldiers, a German submarine
launched two torpedoes, one of which missed the
bow by three feet and the other passed some ten feet
astern. It was all in the day's work; but that was
a close shave "between the devil and the deep sea! "
The splendid new steamer, the Calgarian, of the
Atlantic service, was one of the many Canadian ships
sunk by the enemy during the War, but not before
doing some notable work. Along with the famous
Vindictive, the Calgarian blocked Lisbon to prevent
German ships sheltering there from coming out on
228 War Service
raids into the Atlantic; and later, for nearly a year
of continuous service, was stationed outside New
York to prevent the escape of German ships interned
there. Then, when she was convoying thirty vessels
across the Atlantic, she was torpedoed and sunk with
the loss of forty-nine men.
Our Pacific Coast friend, the Empress of Russia,
had a thrilling experience as an Admiralty cruiser.
She left Vancouver for Hong-Kong on her usual run
in August, 1914, but she was already designated for
war service. At Hong-Kong her interior fittings were
taken out and replaced by coal bunkers, and eight
guns were mounted fore and aft. British Naval
Reservists and French gun crews were put aboard in
place of the Chinese hands, and the Empress started
out to work. Shortly afterwards she met the pride
of Australia, the cruiser Sydney, after that gallant
ship had smashed the wicked German rover, the
Emden. The Russia took off the prisoner members
of the Emden crew, including the Captain, Von Mul-
ler, and put them out of commission by landing them
at Ceylon. With the help of some Indian troops, she
captured the Turkish fort of Kamaran on the Red
Sea. Then, for twenty-three days, she and her
sister Canadian Pacific vessel, the Empress of Asia,
guarded the British port of Aden until the arrival of
British warships. After some more dangerous experiences, the Empress of Russia, the Empress of
Asia, the Empress of Japan, the cruiser Himalaya,
and the destroyer Ribble kept in blockade the Port
of Manila, where fifteen  German ships were hiding
229 The Romance of the C.P.R.
in the hope of getting out with supplies to their war
vessels. Finally the Russia spent a year cruising
in the East, and then, when the War was over, slipped
back quietly on to her old peaceful run out of Vancouver to the Orient.
One can only sum up in a wondering way the enormous service done for the Empire by this great railway company by saying that during the War, Canadian Pacific ships carried over a million troops and
passengers on war business. They carried over four
millions of tons of cargo and munitions of war, and
many thousands of horses and mules for transport
service on the field. And perhaps one of the most
amazing and least-known feats of the Canadian
Pacific was the carrying to and from Flanders and
France, through Vancouver, of what seemed a numberless army of Chinese from the North of China, who
went out to do the unskilled labour on the field and
thus released thousands of the allied soldiers for the
fighting line, who otherwise would have had to do
this highly necessary non-combatant work.
Letters from Mr. David Lloyd George, the dynamic
war-time Premier of Britain, and others, to the Company and to officials, conveyed the appreciation of the
Old Land to the Canadian Pacific for its unique
assistance in a crisis hour. Many decorations worn
by Canadian Pacific men who served on land and sea,
and the scars of battle on many of her ships, attest the
unique way in which President Shaughnessy (one
of whose soçs fell in action) and his wide-reaching
organization came to the assistance of the Mother-
230 War Service
land when vital things were in danger. Let this great
service not be lost sight of when petty matters and
little controversies in commercial life have their
A peculiarly striking sidelight is thrown on the
general subject of war by the changing attitude to the
subject of Sir William Van Horne, who lived only a
year into the war period, but who studied it all with
the thoroughness so characteristic of the man. Some
years before the Great War he had written to Mr,
S. S. McClure, in New York, almost in praise of war
as a creator of heroisms and an inspiration to valiant
endeavour. But as he studied the Great War, with
its horrible engines of destruction, high explosives and
silent, stealthy weapons of death on land and sea and
in the air, he began to see the monstrous side of such
a method for settling international differences. He
saw the frightful annihilation of some of the brightest
young men whose record he knew in his own organization, and whose services to the country, had they
been spared, would have been beyond price. One
would like to have had his changed attitude put into
words by himself in his own vivid and vigorous way.
Perhaps he would have left us an expression of assured
hope that the day would come
"When the war-drums throb no longer
And the battle-flags are furled
In the Parliament of man,
The Federation of the world. "
But, despite all its horrors, war has, for human
231 The Romance of the C.P.R.
society, some compensation in the fact that it reveals
suddenly certain elements of good in the world
whose existence we had only dimly realized before.
I remember how, as a boy, riding on horseback over
the prairie in dark nights, I used to conjecture in a
vague way as to the character of the trail ahead and
as to what life of man or animal might be shrouded
in the blackness. And I recall how fascinating it
was to have flashes of lightning break recurrently
now and then from the clouds, each flash burning its
way into the darkness, revealing the trail, showing cattle and horses and the humble homesteads
of pioneers who were beginning to settle on the plain.
It has sometimes seemed to me that war is a flash of
lightning which reveals much hitherto only dimly
imagined as existing in society. That it reveals
many mean and disquieting features and qualities
in human life goes without saying. But that it also
\ reveals many noble characteristics, is amply demonstrated. The recent Great War, for instance,
revealed the greatness of the common man who, from
some unspectacular occupation, where these qualities were present but unnoticed by the community,
went out where the lightning flash of war disclosed to
the world marvels of heroism and self-sacrifice.
Similarly, we often discovered in the common business
world and amidst business organizations at home
a readiness to serve and sacrifice which before had
only been dimly understood as existing at all. The
War revealed it.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, which had overcome
232 War Service
early difficulties on the road to success, was probably
regarded by the average Canadian with some patriotic pride as a prosperous organization, but possibly
he thought it was not much concerned about things
beyond its own welfare. Yet it is not too much to
say that the War suddenly revealed in it vital qualities of loyalty to the Empire and showed the Company
personified as a good citizen of Canada. As a citizen
it threw itself into the business of helping to defend
the country and to assist in making conditions as
good as possible in war times.
The recent incident in the earthquake in Japan will
illustrate my point as being in keeping with the traditions of the Company. There at Yokohama the
Canadian Pacific steamship, the Empress of' Australia, as related elsewhere, was just casting off, when
the earthquake took place. Taking interest in the
safety of themselves and their ship mainly as a
means of helping others, Captain Robinson and his
gallant crew became a band devoted to heroic rescue.
We need not detail the story here, but the captain
and men, knowing the traditions of the Company, -
did not consider for a moment the immense expense
and loss they were incurring in cancelling a voyage
and placing the ship and all their stores at the disposal of the suffering and destitute.
The War gave the Canadian Pacific many opportunities of living up to these traditions, and the Company did not fail. While its ships were being sunk
in service on the high seas and its general business on
land was being dislocated, the Company did its part
233 r
The Romance of the C.P.R.
as a citizen in the enlistments, as already recorded.
But, in addition, every good cause which aimed at
alleviating human suffering and administering to
human comfort found what to some must have
seemed a surprisingly large support from the Company. Hospitals at home and field hospitals abroad,
Red Cross movements, nurses' homes, returned
soldiers, disabled men and their dependants, Y. M.
C. A's, Salvation Army efforts, and all such persons
or organizations were on the list for assistance in a
big way. The War brought this out more distinctly,
but it was part of the Company's tradition. It is
trustee for the funds of its shareholders, and cannot
throw these funds away to improvident people or
undeserving causes; but it uniformly seeks to help
the community in the interests of the general weal.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, owning and maintaining in Canada an enormous amount of property
and employing an equally enormous number of
people,* is manifestly an extraordinary contributor
to the upkeep of the Dominion in the ordinary business way. When we add to this the fact of the Railway's support of all worthy causes, we are able to
estimate in some degree the value to Canada of its
*The permanent salary-list of the railway company only, excluding the
Canadian Pacific Steamships Company and all subsidiaries, and also excluding the large element of "floating labor," is about 75,000. Including
all these, employees number roughly 100,000.
The Floodtide of Wheat
OUT FOR the fact that it is verified by actual
-^tabulation, the statement that the Canadian
Pacific Railway during the autumn of the year of
grace 1923 carried two hundred and fifteen million
bushels of grain over the steel trail, en route to feed
the hungry in all parts of the world, would seem, to
some of us, incredible. This huge scale of grain
transportation means that about one hundred and
thirty thousand cars were charged with the duty of
taking to the world's markets the magnificent product and offering of the vast prairie country of Canada. In the above sentences we personify both the
cars and the prairies, because it does not require much
imagination to speak of such prolific soil and such
burden-bearing rolling stock as if they were instinct
with life. The fact that behind them both is the
splendidly strong endeavour and the passionately
devoted skill of faithful men and women seems only
to add force to the personification of the elements
of production and distribution, which, under Providence, they use for the good of the world. To some
of us who look back to earlier days in the West, there
is vivid romance in this development, and there is a
sort of Aladdin-lamp wonder in the transformation
which the above statements indicate.
235 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Agriculture is the oldest and the most distinctively
fundamental industry in human society. It is by
no means the easiest. It knows scarcely any limitation in the hours of toil, and its most strenuous and
imperative duties come at a time of the year when
city dwellers seek the cool shades of the holiday
season. But it has some strong compensations.
There is the consciousness of being in an occupation
absolutely essential to the existence of humanity, and
one that involves dwelling near to Nature's heart,
unafraid of privation and want. Rural life has opportunities and spaces for meditation, which is in
danger of becoming a lost art in some other spheres.
Farms are feeders of cities in more ways than one.
They give leaders to the public life and learned professions of the nation, and but for the fresh blood
that farms pour into cities every year, these centres
would die of pernicious anemia. Those of us who
were born on farms and recall our boyhood days can
understand how, in the nerve-wracking anxieties
elsewhere, men can enter into Whittier's fine picture
of the country lad who knows nothing about insomnia and indigestion :
'Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy with cheek of tan,
With thy turned up pantaloons
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lips, redder still,
Kissed by strawberries on the hill ;
With the sunshine on thy face
Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
236 The Floodtide of Wheat
From my heart I give thee joy—
I was once a barefoot boy. "
As suggested above, some of us have seen much development since the railway came. I recall the small
fields of grain in the original colony along the Red
River and the somewhat larger ones that began to
open out on the prairie. When reaping was done
with the sickle and cradle, and threshing with the
flail and the two horse treadmill, the acreage under
cultivation could not be large. And though, in my
time, our people began to bring in reapers from St.
Paul by cart-train, even to that wonder which we
called the "self-raker," there was little inducement
to grow much, because there was only a small local
market and no way of exporting. Things were in
that condition when the Governor-General, Lord
Dufferin, and Lady Dufferin, visited Manitoba and
drove the first spikes in the Pembina Branch of the
Canadian Pacific Railway on September 29th, 1877.
That branch was on the east of the Red River and
some years went by before the steel crossed at Winnipeg and reached the prairies. But even in 1877
there was more grain being grown than could be
marketed at home. And the eloquent Dufferin referred to the situation in his own sympathetic way
when he said, near the conclusion of his famous address in Winnipeg, "You have been blessed with
an abundant harvest, and soon, I trust, will a railway
come to carry to those who need it, the surplus of
your produce, now, as my own eyes have witnessed,
imprisoned in your storehouses for want of the means
237 The Romance of the C.P.R.
of transport. May the expanding finances of the
country soon place the Government in a position to
gratify your just and natural expectations. "
Meanwhile, as they waited for the longed-for and
greatly needed railway to come, some of the early
settlers were experimenting in growing grain that
would be adapted to the soil and the climate. There
were some who thought that wheat could not be
grown to perfection very far west and north of the
Red River. But there were others who felt differently.
I recall that excellent man, eloquent of speech and
graceful in manner, J. W. Taylor, the United States
Consul at Winnipeg, often called "Saskatchewan"
Taylor, by reason of his personal knowledge of our
North-West country. Despite the fact that some of
his countrymen to the south might not like it, Consul
Taylor persisted in saying that north of the international boundary was "the very home of the wheat
plant. " And had he lived to see it, his kindly heart
would have rejoiced when wheat grown at Fort Vermillion on the Peace River, a thousand miles northwest of Winnipeg, took the first prize at a World's
Fair in his own country.
In any case the good consul did much to bring
about this present day by helping the settlers to
select suitable grain. Many a time, for instance, did
he bring, in envelopes, to my father on the old Red
River homestead, samples of wheat he had received
from different parts of the States. And he and my
238 The Floodtide of Wheat
father, who were great friends, would plant these in
garden plots and wait through the summer to see
which would come to perfection during the season
before the frost arrived. Some of this same
wheat was given to others till the original contents
of the selected envelope produced a harvest in many
Later on came benefactors like the painstaking
Professor Saunders and Seager Wheeler, and others
who, through careful seed selection, transformed the
face of the country by making it possible for harvests
to ripen where nothing of that type ripened before.
Thus it became possible in the year 1915, when our
Empire was at war, for the great prairies to pour
out their millions in wheat and flour to help in the
battle for freedom. The soldiers in uniform at the
front were supported by the soldiers in overalls
at home, or the War could not have been won. And
of these at home the soldiers of the soil deserve to be
mentioned in despatches for their strenuous work in
the greatest feeding industry of the world.
And now, beside the stations along the pioneer
Canadian Pacific and its endless gridiron of branch
lines on the prairie, we have been seeing in these
recent autumn months of 1925 the teams with the
drivers, waiting their turn at a thousand elevators.
The river of wheat on the main line is being swollen
into flood-tide from the tributary branches. Back of
the railway and headed towards it, we have seen
apparently   interminable   lines   of   wagons    laden
239 The Romance of the C.P.R.
with grain. Like a long procession of industrious
ants we have seen these wagons coming along the
level plain, then up and down the ridges, to empty
their loads at the capacious elevators. Thence the
grain is poured into the cars which stand by on the
steel trails behind panting locomotives—iron horses
that chafe and tug with impatience to get way.
And they must get away as quickly as possible, for
other trains are ready to use the sidings to relieve the
pressure caused by the wagons pouring their load
into the elevators. A great army of men are at work
and thousands of horses. But it is a beneficent,
constructive army of men, with their lumbering artillery of horses and wagons engaged in the gigantic
task of sending food supplies to the great centres
of population all over the world. The elevators are
the peaceful headquarters of a great staff employed
to transfer foodstuffs from these prairie commissary
stores to the railway trains which carry them in
rushing torrents of speed to the great lakes, the canals
and the open sea. It is in great and wonderfully
significant contrast to the scenes from which we take
this illustration, when militarism made its way unchecked, and, on a hundred battle-fields, we saw
wounded men and tortured horses and derailed trains
in the havoc of war—"rider and horse, friend, foe,
in one red burial blent." Canadians have proven
their mettle, as a peace-loving people will always do
when aroused to resist wrong, but ours is not a militaristic nation. And we should take a noble pride in
240 The Floodtide of Wheat
seeing in these peaceful, industrious hosts on Canadian
plains some fulfilment of the promised time, when
"men shall beat their swords into ploughshares and
their spears into pruning hooks and study war no
more. "
The scenes in the time of the grain marketing
movement to the railway and the elevators suggest
massed formation for peaceful ends. But back of this
massed formation is the individual home on whose
character and success the future of the country depends. Tales, more or less mythical, perhaps, but
with some foundation, are told of city-dwelling lads
who thought of milk and bread as the product of the
milk-wagon and the baker's cart. But it is probably
quite true that there is not enough thought given to
the household on the plain, where the origin of food
products is better understood through the toil of the
day. The homesteader on these great wheat areas
had no easy task. The breaking of the land, the
struggle to make ends meet till the farm became productive, the endurance of summer heat and winter
cold, were all part of the daily round and the common task, and no human pen will ever fully portray
the heroism of the pioneer women who bore their
share of every burden and kept their homes in order
without many of the comforts and facilities that are
available to city dwellers. Then there came later on
the care of stock, the sowing, reaping, threshing
and marketing—in all of which there is need for tremendous persistence—these are elements in the in-
241 The Romance of the C.P.R.
dustry of the farm ; and one is sometimes appalled to
think of what would happen if those employed in
that industry should go on strike !
A recent and interesting development has taken
place in the flowing of the river of wheat for export.
It is a far cry from the days when special seed was
brought by Consul Taylor in envelopes and sown in
garden plots on the Red River to these days when the
plains are dotted with vast farms all the way from
the scene of those garden plots to the Rocky Mountains and from the international boundary-line to the
Sub-Arctic. Now it is becoming evident that other
outlets must be found for the floodtide of wheat in
addition to the old course eastward to Fort William
and beyond. It looks as if there will be somewhere
on the prairies, ere long, a new watershed, a sort of
"Great Divide" such as we see in nature along the
Canadian Pacific in the Mountains, where the rivers
begin to flow both east and west to different outlets
on the way to the lakes and the sea. After this manner also the rivers of wheat will run to either ocean.
A few days ago I was talking with that genial and
experienced railway man (now retired) Mr. E. A.
James, in Vancouver. Mr. James when a lad was
the private telegraph operator for that master railroad builder, Van Horne, and went with him on a
trip to the West Coast when the end of steel was not
to its present terminus. Mr. James relates that one
day Mr. Van Horne, Mr. L. A. Hamilton, and himself were standing on rocks and stumps where Has-
242 The Floodtide of Wheat
tings and Granville Streets now intersect at the Post
Office, in the business heart of Vancouver. Mr. Van
Horne took out a piece of paper and sketched the
location. Mr. James, a mere boy, had nothing
wTherewith to purchase any rocks and stumps and
ventured a rather sceptical opinion as to the future of
a city in such a locality. Mr. Van Horne said, "My
boy, there will be a very great city here. To this
place will come steel tracks carrying endless trains of
passengers and freight. And from this place, an all-
the-year-round port, will sail fleets of vessels engaged in trade all over the world. "
Now, since the Panama Canal has been opened,
it is evident that trains of wheat will come to the
Pacific in ever-growing number from some economic
watershed on the plains. Outlets, both East and
West, will be increasingly necessary to carry the produce of the vast prairie section to the food markets
of the world. For many years Fort William and
Montreal have struggled to handle the immense
burden of this growing wheat traffic. Now the Pacific
route has come to relieve the abnormal pressure on
Eastern ports and lead to further developments in
agriculture on the prairies. And from Vancouver and
other points on the West Coast this wheat will go by
vessels of all kinds to the ends of the earth—to the
over-crowded centres of Europe and Asia and Africa,
as well as to the islands of the sea. Thus shall the
forecast made that day on the site of Vancouver City
by Mr. Van Horne, the  builder of  the  Canadian
J The Romance of the C.P.R.
Pacific Railway, be justified, even though that forecast was made at the rough-looking outpost of
"A great new land,
Half-wakened by the wonder
And the prophetic thunder
Of triumphs yet untold. "
Special Features
A N ALIEN traveller in this country, looking for
**an expression in which to indicate the extent and
character of the Canadian Pacific Railway, finally
settled on "The Dominion of Canada on wheels" as
sufficiently descriptive. This, of course, is overdoing
it very considerably, but one who passes through
the length and breadth of the country and finds this
great organization ministering to his comfort and
convenience at all points on land and water can be
excused for his exaggeration. So popular and universally known are the letters "C. P. R." that there
has been a general popular tendency to use them
without authority for commercial advantage. Behind the letters there has come to be a guarantee
of value and efficiency which trades of various kinds
have been quick to see. The Company had to put
a stop to this monographic proclivity on the part of
the public, lest the practice of some should lower
their reputation for efficiency. But Colonel George
Ham tells us of an attempt to stop the unauthorized
use of the letters on a barber-shop on the prairie,
which ended in a truce. An Irishman who ran what
he called "The C. P. R. Barber Shop" received a note
to desist from the use of the famous letters. He
replied,  "I  don't want no lawsoot with your big
245 The Romance of the C.P.R.
company. The letters on my shop don't stand for
your ralerode, but for something better. I left a
mother in Ireland. She is dead and gawn, but her
memories are dear to me. Her name was Christena
Pearson Riordon, and what I want to no is what
you are going to do about it." To prosecute that
man under the circumstances would be a sort of sacrilege, and so the Company let it go, secretly doubting
the witty story, but rather pleased that the repute
of the Company made it worth while to use the letters
and write the legend about their origin.
Of course so far-flung a system as the Canadian
Pacific must have many places where the traveller
shall find rest and refreshment with a stop-over on
the way. And so, amongst a few special features
to be noted in this closing chapter, are the palatial
hotels in the big centres of population, the chalets
and bungalow camps in the mountains and by the
streams and lakes all across Canada.
The names of some of these big hotels, which are
not only stopping places for the traveller, but social
centres and community service, club meeting places
in most localities, have an element of romance about
them. Several indicate the devoted loyalty of
the Company to the sovereigns of Britain, such as the
Hotel Empress, of Victoria, the Royal Alexandra of
Winnipeg, in honour of the Queen and the Queen-
Mother, two of the greatly beloved women of the
Empire. The Hotel Vancouver, in the city of that
name, commemorates Captain George Vancouver, the
illustrious  British  sea-rover who sailed his wooden
246 Special Features
vessel into the harbour one hundred and thirty-two
years ago. In Calgary the Hotel Palliser recalls the
famous explorer of that name, who was sent years
ago to explore the mountains and report on the
possibilities of a railroad being built through to the
Coast. He reported that a railway could not be
built across the continent on British soil. Years
afterward the Canadian Pacific proved that Palliser's
conclusion was incorrect. Nevertheless the big Company recognized the greatness of the man, and named
the hotel under the shadow of the mountains after
him. In those mountains a chain of hotels and chalets and camps, at Banff, Lake Louise, Emerald
Lake, Glacier and Sicamous, supply accommodation
amid the cathedral mountain peaks where the scenery
is conceded to surpass anything of that type in the
world. At the Atlantic gateway, in the ancient
fortress city of Quebec, stands the Chateau Frontenac,
on the site of the chateau of a very famous Governor
in the old French regime. The architecture of this
hotel is of the seventeenth century, and so magnificent are its proportions that as high as fourteen
hundred guests have sheltered under its roof at one
time during the tourist season. Up in Montreal the
Place Viger Hotel stands at the heart of the historic
site of the ancient Montreal, a city that was old
when our Western cities had not been born. The
Hotel Algonquin, down at St. Andrews-by-the-sea, in
New Brunswick, swings an Indian name into the
orbit of the fashionable tourist traffic of Canada and
the United States.    Bungalow camps all through the
247 The Romance of the C.P.R.
mountains furnish for the tourist resting places at
points so amazingly splendid from a scenic standpoint that they summon annually hosts of tourists who
wish to get "near to nature's heart " and "far from
the madding crowd's ignoble strife." Thus has the
pioneer Canadian transcontinental, built by toilers
who slept under the open sky or in the tent by the
right of way, erected palatial and romantic resting-
places for travellers who desire relief from the rush
of modern business, or recreation, in the true sense,
after social dissipation of energy in the crowded
haunts of fashion. So popular as a wonderful
mountain playground have the Canadian Pacific
Rockies now become that visitors are reckoned by
hundreds of thousands, drawn not only from Canada
and the United States but also from Europe, from
Asia, and from Australasia.
In this chapter on some special features on the
Canadian Pacific, we are claiming the liberty of
swinging from one subject to another as they come
our way. And so we get back to the land and the
foundational occupation of tilling the soil. It has
always been the policy of the Company to encourage
this fundamental industry and to help build up the
agricultural side of life on the great Western plains.
This, of course, in turn builds up the traffic without
which railroads cannot operate anywhere. To this
end, apart from the ordinary means of securing settlement and cultivation of land, Mr. Van Horne
• years ago started a large farm at East Selkirk on the
Red River, and the Company, in more recent years,
248 Special Features
established a well-known farm at Strathmore in the
irrigated region of Southern Alberta. Besides experimental work which has been carried on at this
farm, particularly in regard to irrigation development, the Company now uses it as the base of supply, both from its own production and by purchase
from surrounding farmers, for the western dining-car
system and hotels for such things as cream, butter,
eggs, poultry, vegetables, etc. For many years the
Company has carried on campaigns of propaganda
amongst western farmers, particularly in regard to
improvement of live stock—for after all the prosperity of Western Canada is based upon mixed
farming, and the better the breeds the greater the
This reference to irrigation leads us to a paragraph or so on the remarkable work done by the
Canadian Pacific in order to make the dry spaces of
Southern Alberta blossom like the rose. In years
when rain is plenteous the need of irrigation is not
so apparent, but on the average there are some areas
of that southern portion decidedly dry, although fertile
if watered. In days far gone by, these areas were the
habitat of the buffalo, and in later years ranchers held
thousands of acres under rental from the Government
for great herds of cattle and droves of horses. From
buffalo to the tame species seemed a reasonable
transition, and, barring accidents or untimely weather
in winter or summer, the ranchers did business of
great value to the country, and in most cases, with
249 The Romance of the C.P.R.
reasonable management made money. Then the
Government decided that these great spaces should
be thrown open for homesteading, and the wide-
reaching range has given place to numerous farms
over the same area. This was well enough in wet
years, but when the dry years came crop failure stared
/the homesteader in the face. This led Colonel J. S.
Dennis, civil engineer and surveyor, who (like his
father of the same name and vocation) has been from
early times intimately connected with Western Canada in peace and war, to study the whole situation.
There had been some limited areas around Lethbridge
irrigated by the old Gait Company, and Colonel
Dennis advised the Canadian Pacific to go into the
business on a large scale. It took a bold man to give
. that advice and a determined man to carry it through,
at a cost to the Company up to date of the huge sum
of sixty millions of dollars. Dennis knew that the
Bow River, fed by the eternal glaciers of the Rockies,
was an inexhaustible source of water supply if it
could be properly harnessed for the task of giving
sufficient moisture to the dry spaces of the plain.
And this was what Colonel Dennis and his assistants
proceeded to bring about by turning the waters of the
Bow River in directions where it would do most good
in making the wilderness rejoice. It is the biggest
irrigation movement on the continent, and for pure
romantic interest dwarfs the ancient tale of Hercules
into insignificance.
The perfection of the engineering arrangements
ensure the settler against interruption of the water
IÊM Special Features
service and so against worry in regard to his crops.
He is sure of the sunshine and in the irrigation area
he is sure of the moisture. The Western section of
this area has its centre at Calgary, where, through
concrete headgates, the water is admitted from the
Bow River as desired. A dam is also provided for very
dry seasons and at any time water can be sent seventeen miles into an immense reservoir three miles long
and one-half wide. Out of this reservoir are three
secondary canals having a total length of 246 miles.
These canals supply water to 1,113 miles of distributing ditches, and when the Company brings the
water to the highest point on the boundary of a man's
farm, he can then have it run through his ground as
he desires.
To irrigate the Eastern section was a greater problem, but near the town of Bassano the immense dam
was built which raised the water of the Bow about
forty feet above its usual level. This Bassano dam is
a costly structure with sluice gates operated by electricity. Then there are canals and reservoirs, including the famous artificial Lake Newell, about
twenty-five square miles in extent and containing
water enough to cover 185,000 acres of land one foot
deep. There is in this same locality, near the town of
Brooks, the great concrete aqueduct over a depression
of the prairie. This huge water carrier is two miles
long and, at places, fifty feet above the ground. It is
a unique and startlingly modern sight from the train
on the great plains where once the lordly buffalo
roamed in vast herds with earth-shaking tread.
251 The Romance of the C.P.R.
The results of all this enormous irrigation system
are being slowly worked out, and settlers who are
intelligently availing themselves of it are finding
increased production, especially in grain and root
crops, as well as particularly large yields in
alfalfa and timothy hay. The irrigated farm affords
endless opportunity for cultivating all that goes to
make up a prosperous and variegated homestead.
It will yet grow to be a new and large factor in Western Canada. It has cost the railway Company much,
but will yield its returns to the honour and credit of
the men who made waters flow through vast dry areas
and proved the truth of the parabolic saying of the
Scripture vision, "everything shall live where the
river cometh. "
It is rather a far cry from the irrigated areas of
Southern Alberta to the more or less aristocratic
residential hill at Vancouver city. But both at
least are alike in this, namely, that thev exemplify
special ways of dealing with land. In the one case
the land is a great prairie section which we measure
by miles, in the other it is a city section which we
measure by feet. The residential hill at Vancouver
is appropriately called Shaughnessy Heights after
Lord Shaughnessy. Properly speaking, Shaughnessy
Heights is in the Municipality of Point Grey, where
the Canadian Pacific is the heaviest taxpayer. But
the residents on the Heights are leading business and
professional men of the city, and hence it is popularly,
though not correctly, thought to be part of it.    The
252 ■es^sas
sr'. i>        ^H    Bassano Dam
ij     Canadian Racih
■      Docks aï Ou
Recent Developments Il Special Features
treasurer of Vancouver, with an eye on tax receipts,
would not object to its being in the city!
Shaughnessy Heights at one time was intended by
the Company to be a separate municipality. But the
way was not open, and the next best thing was to
make the area a sort of last word in town planning,
and so secure a good sale for the lots therein. The
district is largely the result of the foresight of Mr.
Richard Marpole, who, as executive agent for the
Company, felt that unless something was done to
clear the land and make the district attractive for
residences, the residential area would settle in another
direction and the " hill " would be left high and dry on
the Company's hands. Mr. Marpole's project for
clearing and planning a new residential section was
not received with enthusiasm by the Board, on account of the large expenditure involved. But he
persisted and finally got his way, to have the land
cleared by a new process and a town-planning movement inaugurated under the guidance of a specialist
from Europe. At present Shaughnessy Heights has
an area of about a thousand acres, though not all
cleared, and the expenditure by the Company irr
developing a residential district there has involved
the neat sum of two million dollars.
The district was laid out not in rectangular blocks,
but by roadways following the contour of the ground,
thus providing an easier grade and giving to the
maximum number of residents the best view possible
of the mountains and the sea. Both the type and the
cost of residences and the location as well as the
253 The Romance of the C.P.R.
architecture of all buildings, are subject to the Company's approval. If any intending residents feel
restive under these requirements, their feelings are
mollified by the knowledge that the Company not only
aims at the best results for all who are intending to
build, but, in addition, makes liberal terms for the
land and loans money to build the houses. The aim of
the Company is to prevent uniformity and sameness
in style of residences, and, as to street lines, avoid the
straightness which means monotony. By Provincial statute the whole district is to be held till
1935 for residential purposes only, except that provision is made for churches, schools, government
buildings and recreation grounds. Some seven hundred houses are already erected on Shaughnessy
Heights, and the locality is one of Vancouver's leading
attractions to tourists owing to the fine class of buildings, the wonderful flower gardens, and the rather
labyrinthine character of the streets. It is a beauty
spot above the general level of the city, and a desirable
place of residence for those who can- afford it. It is
presumed that those who cannot afford it will not try
the impossible. Mr. Newton J. Ker, assistant executive agent for the Company at Vancouver, and formerly city engineer in Ottawa, is in charge of the
Heights and the further development that will be
necessary as the city grows. He has the combined
qualities of an expert and an enthusiast in the work.
And now we swing back to take another look at the
ever-fascinating and impressive track through the
mountains, where we saw the last spike driven at
254 Special Features
Craigellachie in 1885. It will be remembered that
Mr. Van Horne, during all those difficult months
when it looked as if the Company, owing to the unexpected and terrific cost of construction, was facing
financial disaster, refused to stop or even lessen the
work. When times were darkest he put on more
men and made a bigger effort to get ahead. As long
as Stephen and his associates could raise any money
and Shaughnessy handle it to the best advantage,
Van Horne turned a deaf ear to all admonitions to
slow up in construction operations. He said that to
do so would only bring creditors around them like a
nest of hornets, and that the road completed from
ocean to ocean, or in.steady course of completion,
would not only make appeal to financial men as
something worth investing in, but would soon do a
carrying trade which would meet the Company's
obligations. So he drove ahead and rested not till
the last spike was driven, as related.
But no one knew better than the big railroader
that there remained much to be done. He had seen
to it that the work was well done and the track
secure and safe for travel. The result of the swift
completion was early operation of the road, and
justified Van Home's view by bringing in revenue at
once to meet obligations, and by putting the new
railway definitely on the map of the world as a worthwhile business enterprise.
But the speed in construction made much temporary work necessary. Wooden trestles were not permanent structures, and neither were wooden snowsheds.
255 The Romance of the C.P.R.
g i
Grades would require to be reduced in places to meet
the demands of growing traffic, and curvatures would
have to be modified. Hence engineers and contractors of the highest class have been throughout the
years engaged here and there in bringing the whole
line to greater perfection, with the result that the
Canadian Pacific is wonderfully free from danger or
delay. The ordinary passenger through the mountains is conscious that he is travelling amidst splendid scenery on a solid road-bed, but only the practical
builder and roadmaster can estimate with what constant skill and care the road has been built up and
kept to such a high standard of excellence. But
even the ordinary passenger can appreciate things so
plainly evident as tunnels, and on the Canadian
Pacific through the mountains he will find the most
interesting system of spiral tunnels in existence, and
he will also enjoy the novelty of speeding in comfort
through the longest tunnel on the continent. A
word on these famous tunnels may fittingly find a
place in this chapter on special features.
Previous to 1908 the grades between Hector and
Field, in the mountains, were difficult. For some
three miles a grade prevailed which was ten times the
maximum grade permitted on heavy prairie work.
This involved much difficulty in operating, as it
necessitated the use of extra locomotives to pull the
train up the grade and prevent it going too fast on the
way down. In fact these grades involved the use of
spring switches along that portion of the line for
safety.    Unless the engine-driver of a descending
256 Special Features
train signalled to the switchman that his train was
under control, the setting of a safety-switch would
divert the train to a catch siding and so bring it to a
stop. This system was operated for twenty-four
years without a single accident to a passenger train.
To say that is to magnify the trustworthiness of the
men who operated on the "Big Hill," and who evidently lived up to the admonition of the time cards on
this division, which read "Obey the rules; be watchful; run no risks."
But the increase of traffic as the years passed necessitated the construction of the famous spiral tunnels
through or under Cathedral Mountain and Mount
Ogden and the building of special bridges over the
river. Leaving technical points and figures aside,
it may be sufficient to say that trains entering these
mountains climb or descend in a spiral way with less
than half the former engine power and with the utmost degree of safety. In my observation it has been
a constant delight to passengers to watch how the
train loops inside these mountains and comes out at a
different level from that which it entered. It is all so
novel and free from danger that travellers, enjoying
the sensation, are loud in their praise of the engineers
and workmen who thought out and constructed these
remarkable spirals through the eternal hills, even
though it cost the Company over a million to make
this change for the pleasure and safety of their guests
over the road.
Still more notable as an engineering feat is the great
Connaught Tunnel, five miles long, between Glacier
257 and Stony Creek. It is called after a well-beloved
Governor-General of Canada, the Duke of Con-
naught, son of Queen Victoria, of immortal memory.
This tunnel was built to avoid the climb over the top
of the famous old Rogers Pass, through a gorge subject in winter and spring to snow-slides, against
which the railway was protected by four miles and
a half of heavily built snowsheds. These snowsheds
were built of wood, and wood is not an everlasting
material. Occasionally sections of this long shed
would be carried away and all of it would show wear
in the process of time. Taking this along with the
heavy grade, the Company concluded to tunnel
through Macdonald Mountain and solve all the
problems at the same time. The construction of
this double-track tunnel, the longest on this continent,
as noted above, was begun in August, 1913. It took
over two years ' ' to make a hole through the mountain," but another year saw the tunnel open for regular
traffic. In addition to eliminating AXA miles of snowsheds, the tunnel shortens the distance across the
Selkirk range by over four miles, lowers the summit
attained by the railway by 552 feet, and reduces
track curvatures by an amount corresponding to
seven complete circles. Perfect ventilation is attained by powerful fans.
The work was done by contract by a noted
builder of big things—railways, canals, wharves, etc.
—Mr. J.W.Stewart. Perhaps he is better known to
thousands as General "Jack" Stewart, who left his
business in Canada and served during the Great War
258 Special Features
as the builder in France and Flanders of the light
railways up to the battle front, which had much to
do with the victory of the allies. Stewart had a
strenuous time building the Connaught tunnel,
Mr. George Bury, then Western Vice-President of
the Company, giving active co-operation and being
often on the ground.
To recapitulate in some measure the significant
things about this tunnel, in which the world's records
for such work were several times exceeded, one can say
generally that the building of it is another evidence
that the Canadian Pacific Railway will not consider cost in its efforts to eliminate grades, snow
troubles or anything else which stands in the way of
the efficiency and safe operation of the road. Though
the tunnel was opened for traffic in December 1916,
the Company has kept on making such improvements
as preclude all danger from loosened rock or such
like. With that in view a large number of expert
workmen have been kept in the tunnel in regular
shifts, and these men are now completing the fine
work of lining the whole tunnel, roof, sides and all,
with concrete, in such a way that nothing more can
be thought of to make the great "bore" through the
MacDonald Mountain safe, secure and scientifically
sound.   The original contract cost has thus been stea-
increased for some years,
gh the
tunnel was
safe for traffic when it was opened, until it
is probably
in the limit to say that
has cost the Company
close to ten millions.
what some of the early c
of the
cost of the
259 The Romance of the C.P.R.
Canadian Pacific, who thought a bonus from the
Government of twenty-five millions in addition to
a grant of land was excessive, would think of a case
like this, must be left to some one with vivid imagination to say. In this single instance we find the
Company, after expending an immense sum on crossing
through the Rogers Pass in early construction days,
building then nearly five miles of expensive snowsheds and having everything in running order,
abandoning the whole thing, and at a cost of nearly ten
millions more going on to make their line more useful
and more safe. No doubt the early engineers in the
80's saw that some such tunnel might be possible,
but the railway was then battling for life and could
not spend nearly half its total cash bonus on a space
of five miles in a road that would measure three
thousand miles or so across Canada.
There are other special features that might be noticed in connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway,
which has now a mileage of over twenty thousand
miles of road and its house-flag on all the seas. It
is a large factor in our modern civilization. It has
numberless auxiliary organizations, and has the good
habit of backing up industries that tend to build up
the country. We do not claim that its motives are
entirely disinterested in thus assisting other industries and undertakings, but its readiness to do so
indicates the truth of Lord Shaughnessy's statement
that what helps to make Canada helps the Canadian
Pacific, and vice versa. Present conditions in this
yast organization can be studied by actual observa-
260 Special Features
tion, and therefore do not come within the scope of
this work, which was begun mainly to keep alive the
facts that should not be left unrecorded in the history
of Canada.
And now, therefore, the agreeable task of preserving, in some humble and imperfect way, the record
of a great Canadian achievement is coming to an end.
It was not our intention to write in any detail of the
present-day operations of the world's greatest transportation system as a prosperous going concern.
The Canadian Pacific Railway is an outstanding
factor in the life of the modern world. And one is
sorry for any one in the employ of this company who
does not realize the importance of having a share,
however microscopic to one's self, in the affairs of an
enterprise which belts the earth as a contributing
element in the onward march of the human family.
There is still romance and fascination in the countless activities of an organization with whose continued
prosperity is wrapped up the welfare of numberless
homes and uncounted legions of human beings.
The contemplation of the future of this world-encircling enterprise introduces us to a realm of mystic
adventure whose limits are undefined, because beyond the power of finite intelligence to estimate.
So we shall not essay what was beyond our purpose
from the beginning of this present writing. The
purpose we had in view was to prevent the older
generation from a calamitous forgetfulness of the
things heroic and impressive they have witnessed
in connection with the building and operation of the"
261 The Romance of the C.P.R.
pioneer steel trail across Canada. And, even more
specially, was it our purpose to transmit to the coming
generation some pen portraits of giant men whom
they are not to know in real life. One regrets the
impossibility of placing on these pages a full roll of
honour on which is emblazoned not only all those
more or less conspicuously connected with the enterprise, but the names of the unknown warriors who,
in a great host, moved gallantly forward in as brave
a fight against obstacles as the world of industry has
ever known. Thousands of these men were under the
stress and strain of intense endeavour, or engaged in
work where their lives were constantly in danger.
They not only went forward undismayed, but solemnly handed on to others the task they could not
themselves finish. Like Sir Walter Scott's wounded
knight who, when carried dying from the field, still
heard the roar of the conflict and cheered his comrades
on to victory, these brave men did their part and
encouraged others to persevere. The task they accomplished in the making of Canada into a great
Confederacy of Provinces, linked indissolubly together as a noble Dominion, must not be allowed to
pass into oblivion. The coming generation must not
miss the tonic power that comes from a knowledge of
great achievement in a nation's life. In ancient
Egypt it was when men arose who knew not what
Joseph had done to give a new and great trend to
their history that the land of the Pharaohs began a
journey towards decadence. Our hope is that this
book and similar records of life in Canada will help to
1 Special Features
put iron into the blood of the coming generations, in
order that this new land by their consecrated labours
may shine with ever-growing lustre in the firmament
of human life and history.
263 mW  rfW\
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