Saskatchewan NAC

Portraits of Canada: Photographic Treasures of the CPR


Portraits of Canada: Photographic Treasures of the CPR - Image 1
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2006, 216 pages 
Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Markham, Ontario

Few individuals have had as much opportunity to traverse the breadth of Canada as the photographers who rode the rails for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Almost from the company's beginnings in 1881, CPR hired noted photographers, first on contract, then later in its own in-house photography and publicity departments. Portraits of Canada presents the very best of their work in a visual journey across Canada in space and time.

This book is a painstaking selection of 150 of the most thought-provoking, stunning, and sometimes quixotic images from the approximately 800,000 historic images in the Canadian Pacific Railway Archives, including momentous events in Canadian history, the social changes that swept through Canada from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, and picturesque scenes from across Canada that were sent around the world by the CPR. These are postcards of a nation that allow us to see the country as it was, and how it was perceived by outsiders looking in.

"This book provides a magnificent collection of 158 of the 800,000 black and white photos from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries." 
-- Good Times (Toronto)

"Portraits of Canada offers an amazing glimpse into a world seldom seen and barely remembered: Canada, young, naive and on the move. You won’t soon forget what you see here." 
-- January Magazine

"Filled with details about the photographs and photographers, this book is treasure for anyone interested in photography, Canada, and the railway." 
-- Photo Life

"The stunning images are a small part of the Canadian Pacific Railways archival collection showing ordinary Canadians as well as famous travellers to Canada." 
-- The Standard (St. Catharines)

Jonathan B. Hanna, born in Montréal, was educated at Collège Stanislas in Outremont and graduated from Concordia University in 1979 with a BA in history. He worked in Canadian Pacific Railway’s corporate archives in the 1970s, CPR’s photographic services and advertisement departments in the 1980s, and in marketing communications and administration in the 1990s, before being appointed CPR corporate historian in 2000. Jonathan took early retirement from CPR in 2005 and was appointed corporate historian emeritus.

Robert C. Kennell pursued his interest in photography at Toronto’s Ryerson Institute of Photography before joining CPR’s photographic department in 1975. He honed his skills, criss-crossing the country for more than twenty years photographing virtually every aspect of railways operations. In 1995, Robert began applying his passion for photography and his knowledge of the CPR to the management of CPR’s 800,000-image photo collection.

Carol LaCourte immigrated to Canada from the U.S. in 1976 after having lived and taught in Finland, France and Venezuela. She received a master’s degree in library science at the Université de Montréal, and worked for several companies before joining CPR in 1989. She is in charge of CPR’s business intelligence function as well as the CPR Archives. Carol has made it her goal to share CPR’s archival treasures with the Canadian public.

ISBN: 1894856775

NAC Item Number: B0023

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