There was a time in the Jazz Age when sure-footed Canadian businesses dared tread amongst the world’s titans, and even declared themselves to be of the first rank. One of these was the Canadian Pacific Railway, which operated a full-blown vertically integrated empire encompassing a railway, steamship line, airline, and hotel chain. CP gave itself the grandiose title of “World’s Greatest Travel System”, and buttressed the claim with a sheaf of beautiful ad posters.
The powerful Hudson 4-6-4 steam locomotive. Several remain operable; CP Rail still runs one (#2816) on sightseeing tours through the Rockies.
An idealised view of Lake Louise from the Chateau of the same name.
RMS Empress of Britain, 42,348 gross tons. Construction started 1928, launched 1931. Carried 1,195 passengers (in two classes) in the summer, converted to 700 all-first-class berths in the winter. Torpedoed and sunk by U-32 off Northern Ireland on October 26th, 1940.
I don't think anyone has ever had as much fun on a Great Lakes tour as this woman appears to be having. Also, don't slip.
They may have been the world's greatest travel system then. Today we would settle for an airline aspiring to be world's greatest at something other than frustration and delays.
CP would have been the third airline to operate Comets, and actually lost one in service—albiet not on the Pacific routes, and not due to the famous problem with metal fatigue. On March 3rd, 1953, a CP Air's second Comet 1A crashed on takeoff from Karachi on March 3rd, 1953, killing all 11 passengers and crew. It was in the process of being delivered to the airline; CP's first Comet was subsequently sold to BOAC.
Canadian Pacific’s railway business still survives, of course, while the airline (sold to Pacific Western in 1987, merged with Air Canada in 2000) and steamship line (merged with Hapag-Lloyd in 2005) were not so lucky. The CP Hotels chain, however, was wildly successful—to the point where it bought up American competitor Fairmont in 2001 and operates under that name today.