Mackenzie, Sir William National Historic Person

Kirkfield, Ontario
Portrait of Sir Wiliam Mackenzie (© Library and Archives Canada | Bibliothèque et Archives Canada / PA-)
Sir William Mackenzie, 1917
(© Library and Archives Canada | Bibliothèque et Archives Canada / PA-)
Address : 1011 Portage Road, Kirkfield, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1976-11-06
Life Date: 1849 to 1923

Other Name(s):
  • Mackenzie, Sir William  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1998-02, 1994-48

Importance: Railway entrepreneur, built the Canadian Northern Railway (1915)


Existing plaque:  1011 Portage Road, Kirkfield, Ontario

An outstanding entrepreneur, Sir William Mackenzie with his partner Sir Donald Mann built the Canadian Northern Railway, opening large areas of the West to settlement. Born in present-day Kirkfield, Mackenzie excelled in financing and constructing railways. He diversified into mining and shipping, developed Ontario's first major hydro-electric power system, and electrified streetcar lines in Toronto and Winnipeg, as well as in Brazil. His major work, the transcontinental Canadian Northern Railway, completed in 1915, later formed a large component of the Canadian National Railways.