William Van Horne

(1843—1915) railway builder and financier in Canada

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1843–1915). Born at Chelsea, Illinois, Van Horne began his railway career at the Illinois Central Railroad in 1857 and worked for several American railroad companies before being appointed general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1882. The most difficult portions of the CPR's transcontinental main line were built under his supervision. While president of the company (1888–99) he expanded its operations to include telegraph, express, steamship, hotel, land development, and mining operations. The company was run efficiently and profitably, but Van Horne did not find the operations as challenging as building the railway had been. He resigned when senior shareholders failed to support his strategy of aggressive competition with rival American railroads.


From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.