TheCanadian Pacific Railway(CPR) (reporting marksCP,CPAA,MILW,SOO), known asCP Railbetween 1968 and 1996 and simplyCanadian Pacific, is a historicCanadianClass I railwayincorporated in 1881. The railway is owned byCanadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001.
The railway was first built between eastern Canada andBritish Columbiabetween 1881 and 1885 (connecting withOttawa ValleyandGeorgian Bayarea lines built earlier), fulfilling a commitment extended to British Columbiawhen it enteredConfederationin 1871; it was Canada's firsttranscontinental railway. Primarily afreightrailway, the CPR was for decades the only practical means of long-distancepassengertransport in most regions of Canada, and was instrumental in thesettlementanddevelopmentof Western Canada. The CPR became one of the largest and most powerful companies in Canada, a position it held as late as 1975.Its primary passenger services were eliminated in 1986, after being assumed byVia Rail Canadain 1978. Abeaverwas chosen as the railway's logo in honor ofDonald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, who had risen from factor to governor of theHudson's Bay Companyover a lengthy career in the beaver fur trade. Smith was a principal financier of the CPR.staking much of his personal wealth to the venture. In 1885, he drove the last spike to complete the transcontinental line.