Skip to main content

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Railway King of Canada

Sir William Mackenzie, 1849-1923

During the first two decades of this century, Sir William Mackenzie was one of Canada’s best known entrepreneurs. Spearheading some of the largest and most technologically advanced projects undertaken in Canada, he built a business empire that stretched from Montreal to British Columbia and to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil. It included gas, electric, telephone and transit utilities, railroads, hotels, and steamships as well as substantial coal mining, whaling, and timber interests. But when he died in 1923, his estate was virtually bankrupt as a result of the dramatic collapse of his Canadian Northern Railway during the First World War. In a business biography intended as much for general readers as for a scholarly audience, Fleming offers a revisionist perspective on Mackenzie. He dispels the simplistic approach of those historians and journalists who have depicted Mackenzie and his partner Sir Donald Mann as melodramatic crooks who could have stepped out of the pages of Huckleberry Finn.

316 pages

History: General History

Transportation: Railroad

Table of Contents





1 Shanties, Schoolhouses, and Townhalls, 1849-82

2 Seeking Newer Worlds, 1882-91

3 The Electric 1890s

4 Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Birmingham Trolleys

5 Dauphin Iron and Yukon Gold, 1895-8

6 Masked Ball, 1899-1903

7 “La Presse” and Other Affairs, 1904-6

8 Dark Moments, 1907-8

9 Drinking Life to the Lees, 1909-11

10 “Honour’d of Them All,” 1912

11 Fading Star, 1913-15

12 “An Unjustifiably Sanguine View,” 1915-17

13 Unsettling Affairs, 1918-23


Selected Bibliography


Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press