William Cornelius Van Horne (Entrepreneur)

William Cornelius Van Horne

Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, succeeded Lord Mount Stephen as president of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1888. He was a prominent member of the Whitney syndicate that created the Cuba Railroad Company, incorporated at Trenton, New Jersey, in 1900 with a capitalization of $8,000,000. He lived at the Van Horne Mansion in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile.

Born: February 3, 1843, near Frankfort, Illinois, U.S.
Died: September 11, 1915, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Spouse(s): Lucy Adaline Hurd (m. 1867 – 1915, his death)
Children: Lucy Adaline Van Horne (1868-1941), William Cornelius Van Horne, Jr. (1871-1876), Richard Benedict Van Horne (1877-1931)

About William Cornelius Van Horne

Businessman and railroad pioneer who greatly expanded the Canadian railway system.

Before Fame

He worked on the railroads for Michigan Central Railway and Chicago and Alton Railway. He was appointed the Canadian Pacific Railway’s general manager in 1882.


He was one of the first to acquire French Impressionist artwork in Canada.

Family Life

He grew up in rural Illinois with his family.


He and Edward Harriman were both influential railroad company executives.

Information related to William Cornelius Van Horne

  • Canadian Pacific Railway executives
  • American railroaders
  • Canadian art collectors
  • Canadian Unitarians
  • Canadian business executives
  • Canadian Knights Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
  • American expatriates in Canada
  • Persons of National Historic Significance (Canada)

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