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PosterCo Ltd

Allan Line Royal Mail to and from Canada (Ship) - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"


The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) negotiated with the Government of the United Kingdom to establish a trans-Pacific steamship routes between Vancouver and the Far East. The trans-Pacific services of Canadian Pacific were begun by Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, the Canadian-American builder of the railroad network in 1887.

Three vessels were chartered from Cunard Line; the SS Abyssinia, the SS Parthia, and the SS Batavia and these were the beginning of the CP fleet.

In 1891, CPR adopted a new name — the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company (CPSC). The CPSC became one of the many shipping companies operating in and out of Liverpool. The company expanded as people emigrating from Europe to North America provided a larger number of passengers and the company also started holiday cruises.

In the late 19th century, CPR initiated an ocean-going service between the port of Vancouver, British Columbia and Hong Kong, with calls at Japan and China, and later at Manila, Philippine Islands and Honolulu, Hawaii. This service provided a link for CPR's transcontinental railroad passenger and freight services. Passengers could travel from England to Eastern Canada, travel across the railway to Vancouver, and on to Asian destinations. During 1887, temporary steamship service was initiated on a Vancouver-Yokohama-Hong Kong route.

From 1887 through 1941, the Canadian Pacific Railway provided steamship service between Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and Hong Kong with calls at Japan and China, and later at Manila, Philippine Islands and Honolulu, Hawaii.

In 1891, CPR and the British government reached agreement on a contract for subsidised mail service between Britain and Hong Kong via Canada. The route began to be serviced by three specially designed Empress liners—the RMS Empress of China, the RMS Empress of India and the RMS Empress of Japan. Each of these "Empress" steamships sailed regularly in the period from 1891 through 1912.

In 1903, the company took over the ships and services of the Beaver Line and began operating ships on the Atlantic between Halifax, Nova Scotia and the United Kingdom. In 1906, two vessels were built in Scotland: the RMS Empress of Britain and SS Empress of Ireland.

In 1914, Empress of Ireland sank after a collision with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad in the St. Lawrence River. In just 14 minutes after the collision, this accident claimed 1,012 lives making it the deadliest maritime disaster in Canadian history. Only 465 survivors were rescued. A board of inquiry found Storstad responsible for the sinking.

In 1915, CP changed the name of its shipping business to Canadian Pacific Steamships Ocean Services Ltd.

Canadian Pacific was an important contributor to the Merchant Navy (United Kingdom) in World War I. Like other shipping companies, Canadian Pacific provided ships to carry troops in both World Wars. CP lost 18 ships in the war.

CP purchased eleven new steamships to replace its losses during the war. New ships included RMS Empress of Australia, RMS Empress of Britain, SS Duchess of Richmond (RMS Empress of Canada), SS Duchess of Bedford (RMS Empress of France) and SS Duchess of York. The company continued to carry passengers, freight and mail across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In 1939, the CP Ship RMS Empress of Australia transported King George VI and his royal consort, Queen Elizabeth from London, to Quebec City for the 1939 royal tour of Canada. This was the first ever visit by the monarch to a dominion. The King chose to visit Canada using a Canadian luxury liner rather than an established English royal yacht. Empress of Australia was considered to be a royal yacht after her use by the King.

In World War II, the CP fleet carried over a million tons of cargo and a million troops and civilians during the Second World War.

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