Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

A company once known as "world's greatest travel system" had a lot to advertise.

Homeward Bound by Canadian Pacific

Established in 1881, the Canadian Pacific Railway quickly evolved into a business empire. Their activities stretched far beyond the railroads: the CPR operated steamships and hotels, telegraph services and radio stations, and, quite naturally, an airline.

Canadian Pacific Steamship Line. 18841884

The company played a crucial role in the colonization of Canada, bringing new settlers from England and elsewhere (you can read about it here):

Canada. 19201920

Despite its name, the CPR was very active in the North Atlantic shipping, being one of the major freight, passenger and mail carriers and offering Montreal as a sound alternative to New York.

Fast & Luxurious Service to Canada. 1910


Harry Hudson Rodmell. CPOS to Canada & United States. 1920

By Harry Hudson Rodmell. 1920

British Empire Exhibition 1924 (CP)


To Europe by the Scenic St. Lawrence Route. 1925


Dudley Ward. The St. Lawrence Route to Europe. 1925


Harry Hudson Rodmell. Only Four Days (CP). 1925

Only Four Days by Harry Hudson Rodmell, 1925

Canadian Pacific ad 1929


A fine holiday at sea. 1930


In the Interbellum, CPR Oriental connection was busy as ever:

Largest and Fastest to the Orient (CP). 1924


Canadian Pacific. 1925


E. Erny, Canadian Pacific Cruises, 1929

E. Erny, 1929

Fastest to the Orient. 1930


To the Orient via Honolulu (CP) 1933


And there were cruises, too:

George F. McElroy. Mediterranean Cruise from New York. 1924


7 Mediterranean Cruises this Spring (CP) 1930


Canadian Pacific Tours and Cruises. 1936


Norman Fraser. Sun Tan West Indies Cruises. 1936

Norman Fraser, 1936

Tom Purvis. Canadian Pacific Happy Cruises. 1936

Tom Purvis, 1936

Tom Purvis. Canadian Pacific 9-day cruises. 1938

Tom Purvis, 1938

Norman Fraser. Empress of Britain 127 day World Cruise. 1938

Norman Fraser, 1938

Norman Fraser. Great Lakes Cruises. 1939

Norman Fraser, 1938

Hotels and resorts:

Will Hollingsworth. Quebec. 1924

Will Hollingsworth. 1924

The Royal York Hotel, 1929


Alfred Crocker Leighton. Chateau Lake Louise. 1938

Alfred Crocker Leighton. 1938

Peter Ewart, Winter Sports (Canadian Pacific) 1940

Peter Ewart, Winter Sports. 1940

Peter Ewart, Canadian Rockies (Canadian Pacific) 1941

Peter Ewart, 1941

No wonder the CPR captains thought of all the world as of their "pond":

Percy Angelo Staynes. Canadian Pacific. 1929

Percy Angelo Staynes, 1929

Kennet Shoesmith. Canadian Pacific to Canada & USA. 1933

Kennet Shoesmith. 1933

The largest and most luxurious Canadian Pacific liner, the Empress of Britain, commissioned in 1931, was one of the most advanced passenger ships of the day, a direct predecessor of Cunard's Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, but in the business aspect this white beauty didn't live up to expectations. Great Depression severely decreased the influx of passengers. Nevertheless, the liner became the unofficial CPR symbol all over the world:

Empress of Britain - Canada's Challenger

Clement Dane. Empress of Britain. 1930Clement Dane, 1930s

Robert Schroder. Empress of Britain to Canada & USA. 1932

Robert Schroeder. 1932

After the war (and the painful loss of Empress of Britain), the Canadian Pacific resumed their overseas passenger services. Transatlantic route was promoted in the same stylish manner.

The seas are free again... 1946


Cruise the Great Lakes via Canadian Pacific. 1947


Roger Couillard. Sail White Empress to Europe. 1950

Roger Couillard. 1950

Straight to the point. 1956

But by the mid-'50s, the attention switсhed to the airline, operated since 1942.

And... what about trains? The question is inevitable. Strangely, I've got very few Canadian Pacific Railroad posters in my vault. We've seen a couple just recently, here. It's not enough, I know, but there are only two posters left - one with a silhouette of a steam locomotive (1931):

Canada and USA by Canadian Pacific. 1931

... the other with a beautiful diesel-powered streamliner, by Peter Ewart (1950s):

Canadian Pacific Diesel

Headline poster: Homeward Bound by le Forest, 1933

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Comment by Mark Anthony Henderson on December 1, 2014 at 5:19pm

Splendid collection of travel art.

Comment by thetrainguru on December 1, 2014 at 10:53am


Comment by Pablo J. Alvarez on September 24, 2012 at 7:21pm

Thanks, for a wonderfull and amazing post.

Comment by Kev Cudby on September 24, 2012 at 5:35pm

Fantastic. The Empress of Britain was beautiful. It reminded me of a yacht I wrote about recently. An upmarket family cruiser with high-tech composite structure, high freeboard, plumb bow and slab sides. It sailed beautifully and the safety features can't be faulted. The hull is just plain ugly. Here you've shown us a ship with high freeboard and plumb bow. Boy does it look sweet. Seems to me there's an opportunity for someone with a good eye to put that diesel era aesthetic back into naval architecture.

Comment by Dieter Marquardt on September 24, 2012 at 9:45am

Another amazing set. Simply beautiful!

Comment by lord_k on September 24, 2012 at 8:57am

To Stefan:

I'm sponsored by my own curiosity. Hope you like what you see.

To Mark:

Bon voyage!

Comment by Mark Anthony Henderson on September 24, 2012 at 8:22am

Great collection!  I feel like packing my wardrobe trunks for a glorious adventure.

Comment by Stefan on September 24, 2012 at 8:02am

Lord K. should be sponsored by the Ministry of National Education, in my opinion. How many of these wonders would remain ignored from us without his wonderful dedication to the spirit of the era?

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