Series S 72 - Canadian National Railways Land Settlement Records series

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Canadian National Railways Land Settlement Records series

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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Description type


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Reference code

S 72

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • ca. 1927-1940 (Creation)
    Canada. Canadian National Railway Company
  • ca. 1927-1940 (Creation)
    Canada. Canadian National Railway Company. Department of Colonization and Agriculture

Physical description area

Physical description

3 albums (398 photographs : prints)
0.001m of textual records
7 photographs : negatives

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Canadian National Railway Company was a federal Crown corporation incorporated on June 6, 1919. The company was established through a series of mergers that united several older and financially unstable railway companies (Grand Trunk, Grand Trunk Pacific, Intercolonial, Canadian Northern, Canadian Transcontinental) that built rail lines in Canada as far back as 1850. One of Canada's first Crown corporations, the company established its head office in Montreal, Quebec in 1923. The company was commonly referred to as Canadian National Railways or CNR from its inception until 1960, when it became known as Canadian National or CN.

The company's primary mandate was the operation of an extensive railway system in Canada and the United States. During its existence, the company also operated many subsidiary businesses, including hotels, cruise ships, truck companies, telephone services and telegraph lines. In 1923, the company established the first radio network in North America that later became the foundation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In 1937, the Canadian government established a national airline known as TransCanada Air Lines and made it a subsidiary of the CNR. Several decades later, the airline was renamed Air Canada and in 1977 it became a separate company.

The Canadian National Railway Company was managed by a board of directors, appointed by the Governor in Council, and a president. In 1961, the number of members of the Board of Directors was increased from seven to twelve. The company's daily operations were managed by a variety of personnel, including directors, superintendents, station agents, mechanics, freight, ticket and passenger agents, and engineers.

The company's operations underwent many changes in the latter half of 20th century. Many prairie railway branch lines were closed after 1945 and passenger service was terminated in 1978. Many of the company's subsidiaries were sold in the 1980s. On November 28, 1995, the Government of Canada completed the sale of its remaining shares to the public and CN ceased to be owned by the Government. The company currently (2011) operates as a private-sector freight railway company with no other significant lines of business.

Name of creator


Biographical history

In 1919, the Canadian National Railway Company (CNR), a federal Crown corporation, established a Department of Colonization and Agriculture to promote immigration and land settlement in Canada. The company believed that attracting settlers to farm in Canada would increase its rail traffic in certain regions and help dispose of some of its land grants, thus increasing its overall earnings. The company encouraged immigrants to settle adjacent to its rail lines and to use the railway to transport livestock, seed, supplies and other goods and services. In 1925, the Canadian Government, who relied on the railways to promote immigration, established the Railways Agreement. Under this agreement, the company was granted authority to select, transport and locate immigrants for permanent settlement in Canada. In Saskatchewan, the districts of Prince Albert, Kelvington, Henribourg and St. Walburg were direct targets of the CNR's settlement and branch line expansion.

The department was overseen by a director in Montreal, Quebec. Departmental personnel were located in the United Kingdom, Poland, the Ukraine and Germany, countries from which the company was particularly interested in attracting immigrants. The head office of the department's operations in western Canada was located in Winnipeg, Manitoba with district offices located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Alberta. The department's western Canadian field agents researched settlement possibilities, met immigrants, assisted them in getting located and finding employment on farms and offered advice and training on Canadian farming methods.

The department continued its settlement work until ceasing operations in 1963.

Custodial history

Dr. Anna Wright donated some of these records to the Saskatoon office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 1967: 450 (S) (May 3, 1967).
Mel Scobie donated some of these records to the Saskatoon office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 1979: S79-91 (July 12, 1979).
Garry Gregory donated some of these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 1994: R94-390 (October 21, 1994).

Gilbert Wesson donated some of these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 2004: R2004-485 (December 17, 2004).

Scope and content

This series consists of records created, accumulated and used by employees of the Canadian National Railway Company relating to land settlement in Saskatchewan. The series includes a 150 pg. black and white photograph album prepared by Jack McCallum and Alex Sinclair, former superintendents of Agricultural and Land Settlement for the Canadian National Railways (CNR). The photographs consist mainly of images of European individuals and families who immigrated to Canada and settled on land in Saskatchewan. The photographs were arranged alphabetically by place name as follows: Alsask, Eatonia, Eston; Arran; Birch Hills, Melfort; Henribourg; Lintlaw, Kelvington; Maidstone, Lashburn; Prince Albert; Rabbit Lake; Shellbrook; Stenen; St. Peters Colony; St. Walburg; and Miscellaneous.

The series also includes two copies of an album entitled "German Czech Settlement in Vicinity of St. Walburg, Sask. Pictures and Data July 6th to 10th, 1939". The album includes black and white photographs and information on land purchased in 1939 by the CNR for German Czech immigrants in the Brightsand, Loon Lake and Goodsoil districts. A publication relating to Community Progress Competitions in 1931 completes the series.

No sub-series have been identified in this series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Photographs are in good physical condition. The paper they are adhered to is curled, fragile and torn in some spots.

Immediate source of acquisition


Original order maintained by archivist.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Box number(s): 1

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Records are open for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction are subject to Crown Copyright. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

Finding aids

SAFA 645 consists of a series description and item descriptions of some of the photographs.

Associated materials

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.


Conservation practices in place at the time of processing were applied to the records in this fonds.
Some of the photographs were placed in Mylar sleeves.

Alpha-numeric designations

Photographs: R-A32607 to R-A32895
Album: S-A286
Textual records: S-X19

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

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Control area

Description record identifier

S 72

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.



Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin


Content of the series.

Accession area