Ski High in the Canadian Rockies

The photo on the cover of this 1955 Mountaineer dinner menu shows “wood’n’wooly” skiers (wood skis, wool clothes) near Banff. But a caption on the back also notes there is fine skiing near Revelstoke and on Grouse Mountain near Vancouver. The famous Whistler resort would not open for another ten years.

Click image to download a 1.7-MB PDF of this menu.

The table d’hôte side of the menu offers salmon, sirloin steak, prime rib, baked chicken and ham pie, cold meats, or fresh asparagus omelet. The steak dinner was $4.25–about US$33 today–while the salmon was $2.60–under US$20. All of these entrées were also available on the a la carte side for $1.25 to $1.40 less than the full-meal price. Multiply prices by 7.5 to get today’s U.S. dollars.

Mount Assiniboine Dinner Menu

One more dinner menu from someone’s 1950 Alaska steamship journey. This one features a cover painting by Carl Rungius. Rungius was a German painter who immigrated to the United States in 1896 to specialize in wildlife art, then opened a studio in Banff in 1921.

Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

This particular painting, of course, does not show wildlife, unless those brown spots in the distance are elk. The inside front cover has photos of Lake Atlin in northern British Columbia and a fisherwoman toting a huge load of salmon or some similar fish.

Banff 1950 Dinner Menu

Here’s another dinner menu from the Alaska steamship service. The inside front cover has a photo of a herd of caribou swimming in the Yukon River and one of a flower garden in Skagway.

Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

Entrées included halibut, salmon, French pancakes (apparently crepes was not yet a popular term), boiled mutton, mixed grill, roast beef, and roast capon. Naturally this came with appetizer, soup, salad, vegetables, dessert, and beverage.

The Dominion Dinner Menu

Here’s a dinner menu from what was probably the same Alaska steamship trip as yesterday’s tiffin menu. The cover proudly features what is no doubt Canadian Pacific’s flagship train, the Dominion, in the Canadian Rockies. The inside front cover has photos of White Pass and Yukon Route trains.

Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu itself is only a little more elaborate than the tiffin menus. There are a few more entrées and a choice of two soups (rather than just one on the tiffin menus). Perhaps the portions were smaller for tiffin, but dining room patrons ended up receiving just as many courses of food for tiffin as for dinner.

Another Tiffin Menu

Here’s another tiffin menu that must have been used on a different day on the same steamship trip as yesterday’s. The soup, salad, entrées, and desserts are all a little different.

Click image to download a 496-KB PDF of this menu.

Both menus are decorated with a 1936 drawing of “a totem at Prince Rupert” by M.S. Osborne. I can’t find any information about Osborne on line, though he or she is apparently listed in a Dictionary of Canadian Artists. I vaguely recall seeing the signature on another CP or CN item; I’ll update this if and when I track it down.

CP Skagway Service Tiffin Menu

Tiffin is a British Indian term for a light morning or mid-day meal. However, says Wikipedia, “When used in place of the word “lunch”, it does not necessarily mean a light meal.” This 1950 menu for CP steamship service from Vancouver to Skagway appears to use the term in place of “lunch.”

Click image to download a 443-KB PDF of this menu.

In fact, this appears to be a regular table d’hôte lunch menu, unpriced as meals were included in the price of the ticket. In addition to appetizers, soup, and salad, diners could have their choice of entrées including a cold sideboard of various meats. A variety of desserts and beverages are also listed.

Canadian Pacific Hotels in 1949

This booklet has a page or more on each of eighteen hotels from the Lord Nelson in the east to the Empress in the west. The largest hotels, such as the Royal York, get three pages, while smaller ones, such as Devils Gap in Kenora, Ontario, get only one. There’s also a page devoted to four Canadian Pacific mountain lodges and three tea houses in the Rockies, some of which still exist but are no longer owned by Fairmont, the successor to CP hotels.

Click image to download a 7.9-MB PDF of this 32-page booklet.

Prices for the main hotels are generally on the European plan (meaning meals not included), while the smaller chalets and lodges are on the American plan, and a few offer a choice. The Columbia Icefield Chalet offered a single room with a bath for $5.50 on the European plan and $10 on the American plan. Multiply 1949 Canadian dollars by nine to convert to today’s U.S. dollars.

Westbound Through the Rockies

Most railroads gave away their along-the-way booklets, but the Canadian Pacific News Department sold this one for 35 cents–nearly US$4 in today’s money. Except for the quality of the paper it is printed on, there is nothing special about this booklet, as it is the usual combination of photos, maps, and descriptions of the sights and towns between Calgary and Vancouver (with an extra few pages on Victoria).

Click image to download a 27.3-MB PDF of this 68-page booklet.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Canadian Pacific publication without some cross-advertising. This one mentions all the major CP hotels in the region as well as coastal British Columbia steamship service, which again raises the question of why CP expected people to pay for advertising.

Canadian Pacific 1943 Timetable

Canadian Pacific introduced the transcontinental Canadian in 1955. But, according to page 18 of this timetable, the railroad had a train of the same name in 1943. That train, however, only went between Toronto and Detroit.

Click image to download a 59.5-MB PDF of this 68-page timetable.

Hundreds of other trains are also included in this timetable, along with Great Lakes and coastal British Columbia steamships and Canadian Pacific hotels. While yesterday’s 1943 menu said that Chateau Lake Louise would be closed but Banff Springs Hotel would be open in 1943, this timetable says they were both closed.

Indian Chief 1943 Menu

This is another portrait by Nicholas de Grandmaison. Unfortunately, there’s no identification of the names of either this Blackfoot chief or yesterday’s matron. However, the University of Lethbridge does have several interesting audio conversations between de Grandmaison and Alberta Indians. In one of them, de Grandmaison notes that, when he painted some of the Indians, he “wasn’t able at the time to get their even proper names” because they didn’t speak English, which may explain the lack of names for these two portraits.

Click image to download a 1.5-MB PDF of this menu.

Perhaps reflecting wartime conditions, this menu has a beverage list in place of a table d’hôte menu on the left, and an a la carte menu, which could serve for either lunch or dinner, on the right. The back has Canadian Pacific’s usual list of hotels and lodges, but notes that many, including the Chateau Lake Louise, were closed in 1943.