Best known for its monumental achievements in transportation technology, Canadian Pacific Railway (or “CP”) was instrumental in constructing the concept—and the reality—of the country we now call Canada. In addition to building the railroad that connected the country from coast to coast, CP was also highly effective at selling the idea of a vast and rich land of opportunity and triggering a massive wave of immigration to what was dubbed the “Golden Northwest” (later the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta). No other independent corporation in the world made such a profound contribution to the creation of a national enterprise, nor outspent a national government in populating its frontiers with settlers from specifically targeted areas, often at the expense of Indigenous populations and their traditional territories.
Tracing the history of this highly influential corporation from the initial CP contract and land grant, historian David Laurence Jones explores CP’s involvement in carving out routes to the region, building towns, promoting Western Canada’s arable land and economic potential to Europeans and Americans, operating steamships, spearheading some of the largest irrigation projects in the world, and devising unique settlement schemes such as ready-made farms. Illustrated with more than four hundred archival photos and colour advertisements, New World Dreams is the most extensive history of Canadian Pacific ever published.