Donald Smith, known to most Canadians as Lord Strathcona, was an adventurer who made his fortune building railroads. He joined the Hudson's Bay Company at age eighteen and went on to build the first railway to open the Canadian Northwest to settlement. As his crowning achievement, he drove the last spike for the nation-building Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1896, Smith became Canada's High Commissioner in London and was soon elevated to the peerage. He became a generous benefactor to Canadian institutions. This eminently readable biography brings to light new information, including details about Strathcona's personal life and his scandalous marriage.
Donna McDonald is a writer and arts administrator who lives in London but works throughout Britain. She is the author of Illustrated News: The Canadian Pictures of Juliana Horatia Ewing (Dundurn 1985) and The Odyssey of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble (Editions Bim, 1986). She is married to a fellow Canadian, writer Robert McDonald.