James Colledge Pope
Described as a man of “great push and energy,” James Colledge Pope was born at Bedeque in 1826. The establishment of Pope’s shipyard shortly after his 1851 arrival in Summerside heralded the solid entry of the community into the shipbuilding industry. By the end of the boom some 30 years later, J. C. Pope had constructed 98 vessels, half the total of all ships constructed by Summerside and Bedeque builders during that era.
In 1872, he built his largest vessel, the “Railway King,” a 789-ton barque launched at Summerside highlighting his commitment to the coming railway. Pope had earlier entered politics and eventually served as Premier three times between 1865 and 1873. The costly and inefficiently planned Prince Edward Island Railway almost cost him his political career when he lost the election of 1872.
Re-elected in April 1873 he negotiated PEI’s union with Canada and secured terms that paid off the crippling railway debt and guaranteed a continuous connection with the mainland. This was a significant bonus for Summerside which was the port connecting the Island by steamship to Pointe du Chene New Brunswick and the railways of continental North America.
Later in 1873 J. C. Pope resigned as Premier and joined the Dominion Cabinet as Minister of Marine and Fisheries under Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald. He held his cabinet post until 1882 when, burdened with illness, he retired to Summerside where he died on May 18, 1885.
Location: The Services Canada building at the corner of Central and Church Streets
Facts: Mural # 9. Measures 8 x 12 feet. Erected January 2001 with funding from the Canada Millennium Partnership Program (CMPP).
Mural Artist: David Langley