Fonds F0456 - Canadian Pacific Railway Land Settlement and Development fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Canadian Pacific Railway Land Settlement and Development fonds


  • 1884-1963, predominant 1884-1940 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

40.25 m of textual records. -- 1642 photographs. -- 24 architectural plans. -- 2 film reels. -- ca. 1600 maps, plans and drawings.

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

During the Canadian Pacific Railway's construction of the national railway in the 1880s, it became involved in the sale and settlement of land. Part of the provisions made by the government to the company were 25 million acres (10 million ha) of land in a belt along the railway. Land grants were administered by the company's Land Department in Winnipeg until 1912 when the responsibility was transferred to the Department of Natural Resources. DNR had three divisions: Irrigation Projects, Lands, and Mines, and was administered by an Advisory Committee and an Executive Branch. Peter L. Naismith was the manager of the DNR from 1912 to 1927, and Samuel Graham Porter from 1927 to 1942. Settlement was closely linked to the construction of large irrigation works, which were increasingly centred in Alberta, therefore the headquarters of the department was moved to Calgary. In 1903 CPR was granted land in southern Alberta, called the Irrigation Block (divided into the Eastern, Western, and Lethbridge Sections) upon which to develop irrigation systems. Colonization of the Irrigation Block was originally administered by the CPR Land Department (Calgary office). In 1912 the responsibility was transferred to DNR, and after 1916 to the Department of Colonization and Development (subsequently called Department of Irrigation and Colonization) with headquarters in Montreal. After 1919 the Department of Irrigation and Colonization was represented in western Canada by the subsidiary Canadian Colonization Association. The nonprofit CCA was jointly formed by the CPR, Canadian National Railway and the federal government to recruit and secure settlers to Canada. CPR took over CCA after 1923. To assist in the reception and placement of immigrants, CPR encouraged the organization, and financially assisted, a number of national colonization boards. The administration of British Columbia land grants and the stimulation of settlement was originally the responsibility of the Land Department, but in 1903 a new department, the British Columbia Land Department, took over these responsibilities.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gifts of CPR, Canadian Pacific Oil and Gas Ltd., Marathon Realty, PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd., EnCana Corporation, Randy Schefer, Doug Phillips, and Alex Price, 1961-2016.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

  • The fonds consists of colonization files (including those of Department of Natural Resources, Department of Colonization and Development, Canadian Colonization Association, and various colonization boards) (1886-1940); Advisory Committee minutes and reports (1916-1958); Executive Branch files (1911-1952); P.L. Naismith and S.G. Porter correspondence (1912-1957); coal files (1904-1911); and British Columbia Land Department files (1896-1926) as well as land sale maps, building plans, plans and drawings of railway structures & equipment from the CPR Mechanical Department.
  • RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING IMMIGRANT ETHNIC GROUPS ARE IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Africans (Blacks), Americans, Austrians, Belgians, Chinese, Czechoslovakians, Danes, Doukhobors, Dunkards, Dutch, English, Finns, French, Germans, Hungarians, Hutterites, Italians, Mennonites, Norwegians, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Scots, Seventh Day Adventists, Sudetens, Swedes, Swiss, and Ukrainians.
  • RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING LAND HOLDING/COLONIZATION-RELATED ORGANIZATIONS ARE IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Alberta Irrigation Co., Alberta Railway and Irrigation Co., Alberta Railway Co., Barons Colonization Board, Bassano Col. Bd., Beiseker and Davidson Co., British Columbia Southern Railway, Blackie Col. Bd., British Reunion Association, British Ready-Made Farmers' Association, Brooks Col. Bd., Calgary Colonization Co., Calgary Hungarian Colonization co., Canada Land and Irrigation Co., Canada Northwest Land Co., Cardston United Irrigation District Col. Bd., Carmangay Col. Bd., Catholic Colonization Co., Central Women's Col. Bd., Champion Col. Bd., Clandonald Colony, Claresholm Col. Bd., Coal Creek Colony, Colonists Service Association, Columbia and Kootenay Railway, Columbia and Western Railway, Columbia Valley Col. Bd., Crowfoot Farming Co., Didsbury Col. Bd., Eastern Irrigation District, German Canadian Farming Co., German Catholic Settlement Board, Innisfail Col. Bd., Kootenay Central Railway, Lethbridge Col. Bd., Lutheran Immigration Board, Macdonnell Colony, Magrath Col. Bd., Magrath Irrigation District, Medicine Hat Col. Bd., Mennonite Col. Bd., Mennonite Land Settlement Board, Milk River Col. Bd., Milk River Hungarian Society, Nanton Col. Bd., North Western Coal and Navigation Co., Olds Col. Bd., Pincher Creek Col. Bd., Raymond Hungarian Colonization, Raymond Irrigation District, Red Deer Col. Bd., Scottish Immigration Aid Society, Southern Alberta Land Co., Standard Danish Colonization Board, Stavely Colonization Board, Swedish Col. Bd., Sylvan Lake Col. Bd., Taber Col. Bd., Western Canada Irrigation Association, and Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
  • RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE/SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Acme, Adair Ranching Co., airports, Airdrie, Alberta Coal Commission, Alterio, Banff, Bankhead, Bar U Ranch, Sir Montague Barlow, Bassano Dam, Sir Edward W. Beatty, Beddington, Beiseker, T.L. Beiseker, Black Diamond, John E. Brownlee, Randolph Bruce, Bull River, Calgary Petroleum Products, A.B. Cameron, J.M. Cameron, Canal Flats, Carbon, Carlyle, Castlegar, Chestermere Lake, Chinook Coal Co., Cluny, Coaldale, Coalhurst, James Colley, Coronation, Eugene Coste, Cranbrook, Creston, A.E. Cross, Crossfield, C.H. Davidson, A.W. Dawson, John S. Dennis, Diamond Coal Co., W.R. Dick, Duchess, East Coulee, Elko, Empress, EP Ranch, Fort Steele, Gadsby, Gem, Gleichen, Glenbow Ranch, Golden, harvest excursions, Eric Harvie, High River, Hillcrest Coal and Coke Co., General M.L. Hornby, Hosmer, Hussar, Imperial Oil Co., International Waterways Treaty, Irricana, H.S. Kent, Father Albert Lacombe, Lacombe, Lake Louise, George Lane, Langdon, Leduc, Lougheed, F.B. McConnell, Midway, Minto Ranch, Namaka, Namaka Ranch, Nelson, Oxley Ranch, William Pearce, Bishop Pinkham, potash, Priddis, Revelstoke, Ribbon Creek, Rosemary, Penrose M. Sauder, Sedgewick, Shepard, Strathmore, surveying, Duke of Sutherland, Tate Ranch, Tilley, Turner Valley, United Mine Workers of America district 18, C.A. Van Scoy, Vauxhall, Walrond Ranch, Wayne, Wetaskiwin, and Woolford.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is predominantly in English, but some of the correspondence with immigration organizations and settlers is in other languages.

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Other CPR records are held by the Canadian Pacific Ltd. Archives, Montreal.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents and provenance of records.


M 9146, from EnCana, consists of 7 m of records which are not included in any previous finding aid.


There is another 2 reel film called "Petroleum" which is missing and has not been described.


Photo accessions 1626p, 2389p, 1981n, 2139n, 3109n, 3111n, 3938n, 5867n, 6242n, 6450n are copies.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Thursday, October 25, 2018




Accession area