William Rees Brock, president of the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway when it officially opened in June 1893. Born in Eramosa Township, Upper Canada in 1836, Brock was a well known and well connected businessman in Toronto at the time. His company, W.R. Brock Company Limited, was one of the largest dry goods retailers in the city.
It is unknown how Brock became associated with the PAD&W as his name does appear in any railway records or newspaper reports until his election as president. It is assumed that his position on the Board of Directors of the Toronto General Trusts Company (which was managing the estate of a deceased investor) and his connections to the Bank Commerce (which had loaned the company a considerable amount of money) was the catalyst for his election, with those companies attempting to secure their interests in the line. Brock remained the president until the company was dissolved following its purchase by Mackenzie, Mann and Company and later incorporation into the Canadian Northern Railway Company.
Photo courtesy of TD Bank Group Archives.