Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

CUNNINGHAM, Grandville Carlyle, b.27 April, 1847, Edinburgh, Scotland; d. 18 December 1927, Farnham Common, Bucks, England. Educated at the Edinburgh Academy, he took charge of location surveying for the Inter-oceanic Railway, Honduras, in 1870, and from 1872 to 1875, conducted surveys for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Between 1875 and 1879, he was engineer-in-charge of the Prince Edward Island Railways and Harbours. For the next four years, he worked on the Canadian Southern Railway (promoted chief engineer, 1881) until 1883. Then he was appointed general assistant to the manager of construction of the CPR's Rocky Mountain division, and from 1886 to 1889, held a contract for part of the Temiscouata Railway, Riviere de Loup, Quebec. In 1889 he became assistant city engineer, then chief engineer (1892), of Toronto. During the next five years, he was general manager, then chief engineer of the Montreal Electric Street Railway, before returning to England in 1897 to become managing director of the City of Birmingham Tramways until 1899, finishing his career as general manager of the Central London Railway in 1911. An active member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain, he was a charter member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (1887), serving on its council in 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. At a time when electric streetcars were thought to be practical only in mild climates, Cunningham proved that they could be effective in harsher environments.

Trevor A. Corless