New World Dreams

Canadian Pacific Railway and the Golden Northwest

By (author): David Laurence Jones
ISBN 9781772034554
Softcover | Publication Date: October 17, 2023
Book Dimensions: 11 in. x 8.5 in.
448 Pages
$49.95 CAD
E-Book Price: $22.99 CAD

About the Book

Finalist, Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, Alberta Literary Awards 2024

An in-depth exploration of how a transportation company created a vision for a burgeoning nation and played a leading role driving immigration to the Canadian West.

Best known for its monumental achievements in transportation technology, Canadian Pacific Railway (or “CP”) was instrumental in constructing the concept—and the reality—of the country we now call Canada. In addition to building the railroad that connected the country from coast to coast, CP was also highly effective at selling the idea of a vast and rich land of opportunity and triggering a massive wave of immigration to what was dubbed the “Golden Northwest” (later the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta). No other independent corporation in the world made such a profound contribution to the creation of a national enterprise, nor outspent a national government in populating its frontiers with settlers from specifically targeted areas, often at the expense of Indigenous populations and their traditional territories.

Tracing the history of this highly influential corporation from the initial CP contract and land grant, historian David Laurence Jones explores CP’s involvement in carving out routes to the region, building towns, promoting Western Canada’s arable land and economic potential to Europeans and Americans, operating steamships, spearheading some of the largest irrigation projects in the world, and devising unique settlement schemes such as ready-made farms.

Illustrated with more than four hundred archival photos and colour advertisements, New World Dreams is the most extensive history of Canadian Pacific ever published.

About the Author(s)

David Laurence Jones is the former manager of internal communications at Canadian Pacific Railway. A history graduate from Concordia University, he worked for fourteen years in the railway’s corporate archives, researching and collecting stories and anecdotes about the CPR’s rich heritage. He is the author of Railway Nation: Tales of Canadian Pacific—The World’s Greatest Travel System, as well as The Railway Beat, Tales of the CPR, See This World Before the Next, and Famous Name Trains.


“A complete social history, beautifully illustrated with photos, posters, maps, letters, and ads, which bring the story of Canadian Pacific’s effects vividly to life.”
—Derek Hayes, author of Iron Road West: An Illustrated History of British Columbia's Railways
“David Laurence Jones offers thoughtful, modern insight into the CPR’s planning and construction, managing land grants, and recruiting, transporting, and settling emigrants”
—Brian Solomon, author of more than 60 books on railways and a monthly columnist for Trains Magazine
New World Dreams moves to the front of the line of books about how Canada became a notable country, one stitched together by ribbons of steel, sewn together by immigration, and held together by controversial visions.”
—Rick Antonson, author of Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer
“Few historians are better equipped than David Laurence Jones, a former CPR archivist, to recount the stories of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s schemes to ‘open’ Western Canada to non-Indigenous settlement.”
—Ron Brown, author of The Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore: An Illustrated History of the Railway Stations in Canada
“Jones’s comprehensive, lavishly illustrated book reveals the CPR’s impact on Canada’s birth, growth, and its very essence. Visually stimulating and intellectually satisfying, this is a must-read.”
—Shari Peyerl, author of Alberta’s Cornerstone: Archaeological Adventures in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park