On the North Shore, Published 31 March 1947I have received a letter from Mrs. C, who writes with great interest, and more than a touch of nostalgia, about the old days on the North Shore line to Montreal. This railway is the one that goes down through Thurso, Montebello and Lachute. Mrs. C.'s letter is sufficiently brief to be quickly read.
First of all. she said the CPR (note it was the QMO&O which built this line) began building a line through her grandfather's farm, about 70 years ago, and she remembers many stories about it.
"The building of this road" she writes, "cut many farms, leaving a north and a south section ... A number of engineers employed in building this line boarded at grandfather's. They were Scottish, clever, interesting men who told many tales relating to their work in many parts of the Empire. One of these, a man named Mackay turned up here about 20 years ago from New York, to renew acquaintances and to look over his work of long ago.
'The first engines used on this road were very small in comparison with present day standards. They were trimmed with copper or brass and this kept bright could be seen a long way off glinting in the sun.
"The fast train which people then called the "Soo" used this line about 50 years ago and I have a vague memory as a small child seeing a funeral train trimmed with purple and black. A former premier died while visiting England and was being returned to Canada. Am I right in thinking it was Thomson?
(As far as I know, this was the funeral train of Sir John Thomson, who dropped dead at Windsor Castle.)
"I also remember seeing the troop trains on their way to Montreal with the soldiers who fought in the South African war.
"Thurso was settled by Scottish and United Empire Loyalist families and named by the late Robert Sutherland after his old town in Scotland. Very few members of the families of early settlers remain there now. They have scattered far and wide over Canada and United States where more opportunity presented itself to the clever brains and hands of some of the very best of our early Canadian settlers."