Donald Mann

Last updated
Sir Donald Mann
Donald D. Mann (1907) [1]
Donald Daniel Mann

(1853-03-23)March 23, 1853
DiedNovember 10, 1934(1934-11-10) (aged 81)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Resting place Acton, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Canadian Northern Railway
Toronto Suburban Railway
Jane Emily Williams
(m. after 1887)
[2] (1858-1945)

Sir Donald Daniel Mann (March 23, 1853 – November 10, 1934), who was also referred to as "Dan" or "D.D." before his knighthood, [3] was a Canadian railway contractor and entrepreneur.



Born at Acton, Canada West, Mann studied as a Methodist minister but worked in lumber camps in Parry Sound District and Michigan for eight years [4] before moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1879. [5] During the 1880s he worked as a contractor for the Canadian Pacific Railway under James Ross and Herbert Samuel Holt, building sections of rail across the prairies and through the Rocky Mountains. [5]

Partnering with William Mackenzie in 1886, [5] Mann built railway lines in Western Canada, Maine, and Chile. They also went to China to pursue opportunities, but found the red tape there too great an obstacle to overcome. [5] While there, he was challenged to a duel by a Russian count, who later withdrew when Mann advised him that he would choose to use the broadaxe, claiming it to be Canada's national weapon. [5]

By 1895, the effects of the CPR monopoly on freight rates in Western Canada, together with its refusal to build branch lines into the northern prairie, prompted Clifford Sifton to offer federal bond guarantees to any other enterprise that wished to construct railways there. [6] Mackenzie and Mann took up the offer, and began the process of purchasing and building such lines. [6] They would later be consolidated in 1898 to become the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR), a line which would stretch from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Montreal, [7] with other unconnected lines as far east as Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, which would form Canada's second transcontinental railway system. [6] The CNoR would be the first railway to reach Edmonton, Alberta, and the full line was completed in 1915, upon the driving of the last spike in Basque, British Columbia. [6] In recognition of their contributions to the development of Canada's railways, both Mann and Mackenzie were knighted in 1911. [8]

Financial difficulties eventually resulted in the insolvency of the CNoR. It was nationalized by the federal government on September 6, 1918, [9] and became the Canadian National Railway. [10]

Mann developed other business opportunities on his own, which included coal mines and a related railway in Inverness County, Nova Scotia, the Winnipeg Street Railway, and multiple public utilities in Monterrey, Mexico. [11]

Mann turned to oil drilling. He leased land in the Township of Vaughan, near the village of Concord, and sank a well in November 1922. In the spring of 1928, instead of oil, he found mineral water. Under the name Ontario Mineral Waters Ltd. he bottled and sold it as a health tonic named "Raysol Radium Water" effective against a variety of ailments including diabetes, angina, tuberculosis and rheumatism. $1 a bottle or $3 a gallon. The venture failed ostensibly because the water was very salty. [12]

Mann died in 1934 at the age of 81, and was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Acton. [5]


In 1969, a park was named for Sir Donald Mann in Acton, Ontario, the land of which once formed part of the farm on which he grew up. [13] It is adjacent to the CNR track, and not far away from the former right of way once occupied by the Toronto Suburban Railway controlled by Mackenzie and Mann.

He, along with Mackenzie, was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2002. [14]

He is also known for the Mann Cup, the trophy awarded to the senior men's lacrosse champions of Canada. [3] The cup is made of solid gold, and it was donated in 1910. [15]

Related Research Articles

John A. Macdonald 1st prime minister of Canada (1867–1873; 1878–1891)

Sir John Alexander Macdonald was a Canadian politician who was the first prime minister of Canada, serving from 1867 to 1873 and from 1878 to 1891. The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, he had a political career that spanned almost half a century. Macdonald was born in Scotland; when he was a boy his family immigrated to Kingston in the Province of Upper Canada. As a lawyer, he was involved in several high-profile cases and quickly became prominent in Kingston, which elected him in 1844 to the legislature of the Province of Canada. By 1857, he had become premier under the colony's unstable political system.

Acton, Ontario Rural area in Ontario, Canada

Acton is a community located in the town of Halton Hills, in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada. At the northern end of the Region, it is on the outer edge of the Greater Toronto Area and is one of two of the primary population centres of the Town; the other is Georgetown. From 1842 until 1986, the town was a major centre for the tanning and leather goods industry. In the early years, it was often referred to as "Leathertown".

Grand Trunk Railway British-owned railway in Canada and New England

The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system that operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and in the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, with corporate headquarters in London, England. It cost an estimated $160 million to build. The Grand Trunk, its subsidiaries, and the Canadian Government Railways were precursors of today's Canadian National Railways.

Canadian Northern Railway

The Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) was a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its 1923 merger into the Canadian National Railway, the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.

The National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) was a historic railway between Winnipeg and Moncton in Canada. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.

William Mackenzie (railway entrepreneur) Canadian railway entrepreneur (1849–1923)

Sir William Mackenzie was a Canadian railway contractor and entrepreneur.

David Blyth Hanna

David Blyth Hanna was a railway executive with the Canadian Northern Railway and the Canadian National Railways. Born in Thornliebank, Scotland, he emigrated to Canada in 1882 where he was employed by the Grand Trunk Railway. In 1896 he joined William Mackenzie and Donald Mann who organized the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) in Western Canada.

Toronto and York Radial Railway

The Toronto and York Radial Railway was a transit operator providing services to the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was a subsidiary of the Toronto Railway Company. The company was created by merging four Toronto-area railway operations. The company was part of the empire of railway entrepreneurs Sir William Mackenzie and Donald Mann which included the Canadian Northern Railway and the parent Toronto Railway Company.

The Toronto Suburban Railway was a Canadian electric railway operator with local routes in west Toronto, and a radial (interurban) route to Guelph.

Charles Melville Hays American businessman (1858–1912)

Charles Melville Hays was the president of the Grand Trunk Railway. He began working in the railroad business as a clerk at the age of 17 and quickly rose through the ranks of management to become the General Manager of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway. He became Vice-President of that company in 1889 and remained as such until 1896 when he became General Manager of the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) of Canada.

Mount Royal Tunnel

The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The tunnel is the third longest in Canada, after the Mount Macdonald Tunnel and the Connaught Tunnel, and connects the city's Central Station, in Downtown Montreal, with the north side of Montreal Island and Laval and passes through Mount Royal.

Goodwater, Saskatchewan Village in Saskatchewan, Canada

Goodwater is a village in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan within the Rural Municipality of Lomond No. 37 and Census Division No. 2. The village is located approximately 50 km (31 mi) south of the City of Weyburn. Goodwater is located on Treaty 4 land, negotiated between the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assiniboine first peoples, and Alexander Morris, second Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba (1872–1877). Goodwater is currently part of the Souris - Moose Mountain federal riding.

Marine Transportation Services

Marine Transportation Services (MTS) formerly Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL) is a marine transportation company operating primarily in the Mackenzie River watershed of the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta, and the Arctic Ocean using a fleet of diesel tug boats and shallow-draft barges. NTCL filed for bankruptcy in 2016 and its assets were acquired by the Government of the Northwest Territories later that year.

Port Mann Town in British Columbia, Canada

Port Mann townsite was created in 1911 in the municipality of Surrey, British Columbia. The new town was to adjoin the new railway yard and roundhouse forming the terminus of the new trans-national rail-line operated by Canadian Northern Railway. It was named for Donald Mann, a partner in the building of the Canadian Northern Railway. Newspaper quoted that the town was intended to be a model town. Purchase of sections had been completed by 1911 and clearing of the forest had begun. The sale of lots began in March 1912 and by June 1912 all land in the townsite had been sold. Four million dollars worth of land was sold in Port Mann. Borrowing from mid-nineteenth century notions of Baron Haussmann’s Paris, Port Mann was laid out by landscape architect Frederick S. Todd with streets radiating from a central circus in the residential section. The business sector was to cluster around a large open square. In June 1912 the Toronto World also published that Port Mann would be the site of a large scale steel mill by Carnegie Steel Company of Pittsburgh as well as the site of flour mill, and grain elevators by International Milling, and the site of a large dry dock and shipbuilding yards.

Credit Valley Railway

The Credit Valley Railway was a railway located in Ontario, Canada from Toronto to St. Thomas. Chartered in 1871 by Ontario railway magnate George Laidlaw, it operated as an independent company until 1883 when it was leased by the Ontario and Quebec Railway, a Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) operating company building a network of lines in southern Ontario.

Lake Manitoba Railway and Canal Company (LMR) was a historic rail line in Manitoba, Canada, between Gladstone in the south and Winnipegosis to its north.

Central Ontario Railway Former railway in Ontario, Canada

The Central Ontario Railway (COR) was a former railway that ran north from Trenton, Ontario to service a number of towns, mines, and sawmills. Originally formed as the Prince Edward County Railway in 1879, it ran between Picton and Trenton, where it connected with the Grand Trunk Railway that ran between Montreal and Toronto. After being purchased by a group of investors and receiving a new charter to build northward, the company was renamed the Central Ontario Railway in 1882, and it started building towards the gold fields at Eldorado and newly-discovered iron fields in Coe Hill.

The Hudson Bay Railway (HBR) is a historic rail line in Manitoba, Canada to the shore of Hudson Bay. The venture began as a line between Winnipeg in the south and Churchill, and/or Port Nelson, in the north. However, HBR came to describe the final section between The Pas and Churchill.

The Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa Railway (IB&O) was a short line railway in Central Ontario, Canada. The line was originally opened in 1878 as the Myles Branch Tramway, a horse-drawn wagonway connecting the Snowdon Iron Mine to the Victoria Railway a few miles away. The line was taken over by a group looking to build a northern extension of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway (T&N) as the Toronto and Nipissing Eastern Extension Railway. This extension was never built; instead, the company rechartered as the IB&O and used the Tramway as the basis for a new line with the ultimate aim to connect Orillia to the Ottawa area.

The Carillon and Grenville Railway (CAGR) was a 5 ft 6 in broad gauge portage railway in Quebec, running approximately 12 miles (19 km) between the towns of Carillon and Grenville on the north bank of the Ottawa River. It provided a through-route from Ottawa to Montreal via steamships on either side of the Long Sault Rapids. It was one of Canada's earliest railways, opened in 1854, and was the last operational broad gauge railway in Canada when it closed in 1910.


  1. Fraser 1907, p. 540.
  2. "Personals". The Acton Free Press. March 24, 1887. p. 2.
  3. 1 2 Elstone, Eric (September 17, 1980). "Mann Cup donor just a capitalist?". The Acton Free Press. p. 1.
  4. Fraser 1907, p. 542.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Sir Donald Mann Died on Saturday". The Acton Free Press. November 15, 1934. p. 1.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Canadian Northern Railway". The Canadian Encyclopedia .
  7. "Final Work on C.N.R. Before End of Year". The Journal of Commerce. Montreal. November 6, 1914.
  8. "No. 28469". The London Gazette . 24 February 1911. p. 1462.
  9. as a consequence of arbitration under An Act providing for the acquisition by His Majesty of the capital stock of the Canadian Northern Railway Company , S.C. 1917, c. 24
  10. An Act to incorporate Canadian National Railway Company and respecting Canadian National Railways , S.C. 1919, c. 13
  11. Fraser 1907, p. 543.
  12. Raysol: radium in solution, Ontario Mineral Waters, Ltd., Northern Ontario Building, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [Oct. 24, 1929][ not specific enough to verify ]
  13. "Patricia Jordan names Sir Donald Mann Park". The Acton Free Press. March 5, 1969. p. 1.
  14. "Sir Donald Mann (2002)". Canadian Railway Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  15. "The Glory of the Mann Cup". Retrieved 2020-10-14.

Further reading