Lanarkshire Philatelic Society



Ian Stephenson FRPSL

"The Canadian Pacific"


Ian, a founder member of our society, returned, after a long absence, and gave us a truly wonderful display devoted to the "Canadian Pacific"

He started by outlining the reasons behind the company. It started life as "the" railway which joined east and west Canada, a distance of some 3,500 miles, with its principal purpose being the transmission of mail. It was built, over 15 years (1871 to 1886) by Sir Sandford Fleming, a Scot from Kirkcaldy who, co-incidentally, designed Canada's first adhesive postage stamp, on the promise of John Hay MacDonald, the first Canadian Prime Minister (also a Scot) whose election pledge was to join east & west Canada by rail.

Ian showed much material relating to the early railway's early days. This included telegraph forms, tickets, "perfin" stamps, Greetings telegrams, parcels labels and various other railway stationery.

However, the CPR was not just a railway company. They opened hotels, dating from 1876, which started life as "feeding stations" for their passengers, initially only open during the summer months they've opened all year round since the 1950s and expanded into the holiday business. Famous names in the chain include the Empress Hotel, Vancouver; Royal York, Toronto; Chateau Lake Louise and the Chateau Fontenac, Quebec where Churchill and Roosevelt agreed the "lend-lease" agreement just before America entered the Second World War.

Ian's second round was devoted to the CP ships. This display had, in fact, been entered in a competition in Denmark and was disqualified on the grounds of "lack of philatelic content". He was, subsequently, awarded a gold medal (out of sympathy), for it, at the same exhibition!

He started with the CP's "Empress" (Atlantic route) ships which were renowned as the best, fastest and most luxurious ships on that route with many of the them being built by William Denny of Clydebank. He showed "wreck mail" relating the sinking of the "Ireland", in the St Lawrence Seaway, with the loss of some 3,000 lives. When Lord Allan resigned from the CP board ships of the Elder Dempster line were purchased to supplement the fleet. During WW2 CP's ships were requisitioned and returned, after the hostilities, with some German shipping which dated from before WW1.

CP also ran North Pacific Ocean routes to Japan, Russia though its route to Australia and New Zealand (under the Canada-Australia Line name) proved a failure. CP also ran ships on the Great Lakes, and the "Inner Passage" route, from Vancouver to Alaska using their own ships, the "Princesses". Ian displayed much material relating to the ships including timetables, menus, & boarding and landing cards as well as philatelic covers bearing some rather scarce postmarks!

Finally, Ian showed material relating the CP Airline, a venture which proved rather short lived.


Bill Jardine proposed the vote of thanks to an excellent, and fascinating, display.