Peter Pigott is Canada’s foremost aviation author. Among his accomplishments are the histories of Air Canada, Trans Canada Airlines and Canadian Airlines. He is the author of From Far and Wide, Sailing Seven Seas, Canada in Sudan, and many more books. He lives in Ottawa.
Sailing Seven Seas
Under Canadian Pacific’s red-and-white-checkered flag, the company’s founders, George Stephen and William C. Van Horne, created a rail-sea service from Liverpool to Hong Kong. Boasting sternwheelers, Great Lakes bulk carriers, ferries, and luxurious ocean-going liner leviathans, the Canadian Pacific shipping line sailed around the globe. In both world wars the entire fleet served gallantly as Allied troop carriers. After the Second World War, the company staved off the realities of the jet age for as long as it could, replacing liners with container ships, until what was left of the legendary maritime operation was sold off in 2005.
With a witty and informative style, author Peter Pigott evokes not only the nostalgic heyday of ocean travel but reveals a slice of almost-forgotten Canadiana. From the stifling steerage quarters of immigrant ships to the elegant drawing rooms of nautical titans such as the ill-fated Empress of Ireland and the Empress of Asia, from U-boat-haunted convoys to container ships, shore dwellers and old salts alike will be delighted with Sailing Seven Seas.
The author is a superb writer, and the story is an engaging one.
Commencing effectively in 1893 and finally withering away in 2001, the CPL operated for most of a century. It was an exciting and fascinating voyage. The author describes it well. The book is also a useful case study of a business dominated by an inability to adapt to technological and generational change. There’s a lot to be learned from this history.