Canadian Pacific Historical Association

Genearl Archival Material

The following list of museums and archives hold documents and/or photographs that may be of interest to anyone interested in CPR history. They do not necessarily provide research services, however, most have staff who can be helpful finding specific documents. Most of the documents are not available online, however, institutions will usually scan or make copies of requested material for a fee.

  • The Glenbow Western Research Centre at the University of Calgary has a very large railway collection including CPR's Department of Natural Resources files, labour documents, photographs and thousands of drawings. Most of this is accessible online, however the drawings are a recent donation and have not been listed online as of yet.
  • The following documents summarise the railway drawings in the Glenbow collection:

    Drawings and Plans

  • The Penticton Museum and Archives holds collections from three famous CPR authors; Gibb Kennedy, Joe Smuin and Barrie Sanford. The museum's railway collection concentrates on material related to CPR's southern BC mainline. These collections are not accessible online so a personal visit or consultation with an archivist will be necessary to access the documents and photos.
  • The Chung Collection at the UBC Library's Rare Books and Special Collections Department contains approximately 25,000 documents, many of which relate to Canadian Pacific. This includes maps, promotional material, rule books, appropriation records etc for the railway as well as an extensive collection of CP Ships and coastal vessel material. Much of this collection is available online.
  • The University of Missouri St-Louis holds the St Louis Mercantile Library and Barringer Library Special Collections. This is one of the largest railroad oriented collections available anywhere consisting of over 40,000 books plus other items such as photographs. While predominantly focused on US railroads, there is some overlap with CP and Canada. Only the catalog is available online.
  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds an immense collection related to railways. This includes government records, photographs, railway engineering drawings and the Van Horne letter books.. For about 100 years, railways were required to file detailed drawings of their routes and major structures such as bridges and buildings with federal regulators. As a result, LAC has a very large drawing collection. Little of the collection is online, however, copies of almost any record or photograph in the collection can be purchased. Due to the size and complexity of the collection, researchers would be well advised to contact LAC for help narrowing their search down or pay a personal visit to LAC in Ottawa.
  • Canadian Railway Historical Association- ExpoRail
  • The Saskatchewan Railway Museum

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you know of an organization please let us know.