William C. Van Horne: Railway Titan
Written by Valerie Knowles.
Published by Dundurn Press, 2010.
|William C. Van Horne was one of North
America's most accomplished men. Born in Illinois in 1843, he became a
prominent railroading figure in the United States before being lured north to
Canada to become general manager of the fledgling Canadian Pacific Railway. The
railroading general pushed through construction of the CPR's transcontinental
line and then went on to become the company's president. During his time with
the CPR, Van Horne developed a telegraph service, launched the Empress line of
Pacific steamships in 1891, and founded CP Hotels.
A man of prodigious energy and many talents, he also became Canada's foremost art collector and one of this country's leading financiers. Van Horne capped his career by opening up Cuba's interior with a railway. For all of his amazing accomplishments, Van Horne was knighted in 1894. When he died church bells throughout the length and breadth of Cuba tolled to mark his passing, and when his funeral train made its way across Canada, all traffic on the CPR system was suspended for five minutes.
Author Valerie Knowles is an Ottawa writer who has taught history and worked as an archivist. In addition to writing for newspapers, magazines, and federal government departments, she has published several non-fiction works, including Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-1997.
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This page last modified: September 15, 2010
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