Canadian Pacific Railway Company

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Canadian Pacific Railway Company

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Description area

Dates of existence



The company originated on October 21, 1880 when a group of Scottish Canadian businessmen formed a syndicate with the aim of constructing a transcontinental railroad. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company was incorporated on February 16, 1881, with George Stephen as its first president. The railway — completed in 1885 — connected Eastern Canada to BC and facilitated communications and transportation across the country. In the late 1890s the CPR established its presence in BC's southern interior, with its rail link through the Crowsnest Pass from Alberta. In 1896–97 the CPR purchased the Columbia and Kootenay Steam Navigation Company’s fleet of inland sternwheelers, tugs and barges, based in Nelson. The CPR developed this into their BC Lake and River Service – and expanded their fleet in the BC interior, with vessels and barges working on Kootenay, Trout, Slocan, Arrow and Okanagan lakes, and boatbuilding and repair facilities at Nelson, Rosebery, Nakusp and Okanagan Landing. In 1901 the CPR purchased controlling interest in the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company (CPN) and its ships. Formal transfer took place in 1903, and the CPR began operating its BC Coast Steamship Service (BCCSS) -- which served the transportation and shipping needs of the coast of B.C. with its "Princess" line, built into a fleet of thirty-two ships. It operated passenger services until the 1970's.


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Related entity

Canadian Pacific Limited (1971-2001)

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Canadian Pacific Limited

is the successor of

Canadian Pacific Railway Company

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Source of name: Central Name Authority File; Catalog Cards.
Source of history:
CP website (Accessed October 16, 2015).
Touchstones Nelson; Museum of Art and History; (Accessed Oct. 27, 2015).

Maintenance notes

Modified: PWASHINGTON 2015-10-27

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