Tiny Brochure for the Spectacular Canadian Rockies

Horning in on Canadian Pacific and Canadian National territory, this brochure invites travelers to take the Great Northern Railway to visit Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. To get from the Great Northern to these parks, says the brochure, travelers would take a bus tour from Glacier Park or ride the Great Northern Internationals from Seattle to Vancouver and then take Canadian trains to the parks.

Click image to download a 1.8-MB PDF of this brochure.

The brochure dedicates two panels each to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and the Columbia Icefield, which is on the border between Banff and Jasper national parks. Sadly, there was no room in the brochure to say anything about Yoho and Kootenay national parks, which are as spectacular as Banff and Jasper but not as well known.

It wasn’t unusual for railroads to urge people to take their lines to destinations that were, in fact, hundreds of miles off their routes. But the rivalry between the Great Northern and Canadian Pacific extended back nearly a century when this brochure was published.

James J. Hill, the Great Northern’s founder, was an early investor in the Canadian Pacific, but he expected that railroad to go south of the Great Lakes and use his Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway to get to Winnipeg. He even handpicked the Canadian Pacific’s chief engineer, Cornelius Van Horne, expecting Van Horne to recommend the southern route. When Van Horne instead recommended an all-Canadian route, by-passing Hill’s rail line, Hill built his own line to the West Coast, intruding on Canadian Pacific territory whenever he could.

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