The Beaver Line was formed in 1867 as the Canada Steamship Company. The company had first ordered four 1,000 tons sailing ships, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. They were partly replaced by the second hand ship Lake Saint Clair. In 1872, they chartered steamers on an experimental basis for passenger and cargo use. These vessels included the Redewater, Harold, South Tyne and Atholl. The company started to order their own steamships in 1874. Because of the Beaver on their flag, the company soon became known as the Beaver Line. It was not a very well known line by Norwegian emigrants before in 1883. The line was then often called Bæver Lilien or just "Bæver". The line maintained a service from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal. Because of this, Norwegian emigrants had to travel via England, to embark the Beaver Line ships there. The most comman route was via Hull by the Wilson Line ships, and from Hull to Liverpool by train.
In 1875 the Canada Shipping Company, Limited, ran a service from Liverpool to Canada, also to Portland, Maine & Baltimore. There were occasional voyages from London. In 1881 a New York service was inaugurated and intermediate calls at Boston began in 1887. In 1883 the agent in Kriatiania, Ths. C. Hansen, was authorized to convey emigrants from Norway via Liverpool by the Canada Shipping Company's - Beaver Line steamships to America and on to the final detinations.
The company experienced difficulties in the early 1890s, and in 1894 liquidators, under Canada Shipping Company Limited (D. & C. MacIver, Managers), took control. They suspended sailings until the spring of 1895 when creditors received a payment. A new company, Beaver Line Associated Steamers was floated in November, 1897 and operated a weekly service from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal in the summer and Halifax and Portland in winter, with a call at Moville (Ireland). In December, 1898 Elder Dempster & Co settled Beaver Line's outstanding claims. There were two sailings from Batum in the Black Sea to Halifax in December, 1898 and the company made their last transatlantic sailing on 20th May, 1899. Services resumed later in May, 1899 under the title Beaver Line of Steamers (Elder Dempster & Co).
In 1903 the ships and service of the Beaver Line was taken over by the The Canadian Pacific Railway Company for their Canadian Pacific Line.
Their authorization was to convey emigrants via England from Liverpool (or Bristol) to Quebec, St.John NB, Halifax, Montreal or Boston and to the final destinations in America. The inland voyage naturally by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The police department in Kristiania was informed on oct. 13th 1903 that the Beaver Line had changed the name to Canadian Pacific Railway Co's Atlantic Line.
Their main transatlantic routes were:
Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal (summer)
Liverpool - St John, NB (winter)
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Some companies may have had additional ships in their fleets to those mentioned above. They might not have been included if the ships were not engaged in the conveyance of emigrants. Some ships mentioned in the fleet lists may have been chartered from other companies, see the ship's description and history for more details.