The Main Men of the Railway


Match the facts to the man…

“ancestor of a famous CBC radio host, Peter”

“spied on the dock workers from the tower of his Westmount mansion”

“drove the Last Spike”

“Prime Minister of Canada & loved a drink or two”

“mixed beer & steamboats”

“saw railways as the key to Canada’s development”

“son of a Scottish novelist, John”

“his mansion in Montreal became the Centre for Canadian Architecture ”

“President of the CPR & builder of a beautiful mansion in Montreal”

“helped finance the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal”

“introduced the 24 hour clock and Standard World Time”

“ Confederation man and national railway advocate”


Casimir Gzowsky (1813-1898)

Born St. Petersburg, Russia. Son of Polish Count Gzowsky. Exiled from Russia as a rebel and came to Canada in 1841. Civil engineer and financier. Obtained the contract to build the Grand Trunk from Toronto to Sarnia, built the International Bridge at Niagara (1871-1873). Died in Toronto. Survived by his Great Grandson, Peter.


Sir George Etienne Cartier (1814-1873)

Born in Lower Canada, he cooperated with John  A. MacDonald to play a leading part in Confederation.  Supported the building of the Grand Trunk (1853-1860) and the proposals for the Canadian Pacific Railway to cross Canada.


Sir William Van Horne (1843-1915)

Born in the USA, became General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway and pushed construction of the line to completion. Became President of the CPR and died in Montreal. Built a beautiful mansion in Montreal that will be treasure and preserved.


Sir George Stephen (1829-1921)

Born in Scotland. Came to Canada in 1850. President of the Bank of Montreal then of the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. (1881-1888). With his cousin Lord Strathcona, he financed the Royal Victoria Hospital (Montreal), the largest single philanthropic gift up to that time.


Sir Francis Hincks (1807-1885)

Born in Cork, Ireland Dec. 14, 1807. In 1851  became prime minister in the Hincks-Morin administration which sponsored the Railway Guarantee Act to stimulate railway construction in Canada. Was convinced that railways were the key to Canadian economic development and played a role in promoting what was to be the largest railway in the world at that time, the Grand Trunk (now the CNR).  Died in Montreal on August 18, 1885.


Sir John A. MacDonald (1815-1891)

Born in Glasgow, Scotland. Came to Kingston with his parents, 1820. Played a leading role in the unification of  British North America into Canada in 1867. Persuaded British Columbia to join Canada and was the prime political force3 behind the CPR, the first railway across the country. Defeated electorally after the “Pacific Scandal” which saw him taking bribes for his party in return for railway contracts. Returned to power and died in office. Known to have taken a drink or two.


John Molson (1764-1836)

Born in Lincolnshire, England in October of 1764. Established his famous brewery and pioneered steamboats in Canada. Helped fund the St. Lawrence and Champlain, the first railroad in Canada to link with his steamboats in the St. Lawrence and Richelieu Rivers. Died in Montreal (1836) just before the railroad opened in 1837. Survived by many heirs and business interests.


Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona 1820-1914)

Born in Scotland. Emigrated to Canada in 1838. Became Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Co., and President of the Bank of Montreal. Elected for Montreal West in 1887-1896. Purchased the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway with his cousin, George Stephen. His efforts caused the CPR to survive and he drove in the Last Spike in 1885. Philanthropic gifts to McGill University, Royal Victoria Hospital, and YMCA. Outfitted the Canadian Mounted Regiment “Strathcona’s Horse” at his expense.


Thomas Shaughnessy, became a Baron (1853-1923)

Born in Milwaukee, son of Thomas Shaughnessy of Limerick, Ireland. President of the Canadian Pacific Railway 1898-1918.  Was made a Baron, a Peer of the Realm, and became known as “the Peer that made Milwaukee famous”.  The Shaughnessy mansion in Montreal became the Canadian Centre for Architecture.


Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915)

Born in Scotland. Came to Canada in 1845 in service of the Northern Railway. Chief Engineer of the Inter-Colonial Railway, surveyed the route for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Pioneered cable communication and  the 24 hour day system of time, introduced Standard World Time based on the Greenwich Meridian. Director of the CPR. Died Halifax, Nova Scotia.


John Young (1811-1878)

Born March 1811 at Ayr, Scotland.  A Montreal businessman, entrepreneur, and politician. Advocated the dredging and bridging of the St. Lawrence, the digging of canals, and the building of railways to encourage trade. He promoted the rail line from Montreal to Portland, Maine., an ice free port. The first to see the need for a bridge at Montreal to link the railway to the sea.  Member then became Chairman of the Montreal Harbour Commission. His Westmount mansion had a tower from which he oversaw the building of the Victoria Bridge. Personal business interests frequently influenced policy. He died in Montreal.


Sir Alexander Galt (1817-1893)

Born the son of the Scottish novelist, John Galt in 1817. He represented the British American Land Company that was settling the Eastern Townships and was elected to Parliament for Sherbrooke, Quebec. A Canadian Minister of Finance, he became interested in railway development as a method of promoting settlement. Was one of the backers of the Grand Trunk Railway and a supporter of Canadian Confederation in 1867.  Died in Montreal in 1893.