It’s Black History Month – and Michael Gordon adds this contribution:
Those of us old enough to remember can recall being hosted by a Black porter in a sleeping car on a CPR transcontinental train between Toronto or Montreal and Vancouver. I do, and they were wonderful hosts – a good memory to reflect on this month.
This week at the Vancouver Archives I discovered the CPR Porters’ Quarters at 1227 Richards Street. It was near Drake Street, which was the entrance to the CPR rail yards where the transcontinental passenger trains were prepared for journeys east to Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Minneapolis-St Paul
View photos and train schedule:
1227 Richards today
At that time three transcontinental trains departed from the CPR Vancouver station (now our Waterfront Station).
- 9 am – Toronto Express
- 2:30 pm – Minneapolis-St Paul (via Moose Jaw – the ‘Soo’ Line)
- 7:30 pm – the Imperial Limited for Montreal (and on to Halifax)
The porters would have been hosting on one of those three trains and, when having a break in Vancouver, they stayed at the CPR Porters’ Quarters.
The train fare to Toronto for a lower berth was $16 and $56 for a ‘drawing room.’