Charles Louis Cooper (1933-2023) was born on 2 July 1933 in Berlin to a German father and English mother. His family hid in the Germany countryside during the Second World War. After the war, Cooper moved to England and studied at Cambridge. He moved to Canada in 1957.
He got his love for trains when lived in Europe and always wanted to work on the railway. He ended up working in insurance and trains became his pastime. He was an honorary member of the Lindsay & District Model Railroaders and had a large model train set-up in his basement.
Cooper also spent his time researching railroad history and writing books. Rails to the Lake was published by Boston Mills Press in 1980. Hamilton’s Other Railway expanded on the first book and was published in 2001.
Narrow Gauge for Us recounts the history of the Toronto-Nippissing line that partly ran through Kawartha Lakes. It was published in 1982.
After Omer Lavalleee passed away, leaving his manuscript incomplete, Cooper took on the role of seeing the book to completion, and Canadian Pacific to the East – the International of Maine Division was published in 2007. That year the book won the Canadian Railroad Historical Association’s book award.
Cooper also kept a lively website at Charles Cooper’s Railway Pages.
Cooper passed away on 13 February 2023 at the Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay.
Rails to the Lake (1980)
Narrow Gauge for Us (1982)
Hamilton’s Other Railway (2001)
Canadian Pacific to the East – the International of Main Division (2007)
Charles Cooper’s Railway Pages.
Nolan, Daniel. “Obituary: Historian Charles Cooper was fascinated by Hamilton railways”. Toronto Star. 13 March 2023.
“Honorary L&DMR member and renowned author Charles Cooper“. Lindsay & District Model Railroaders. 14 February 2023.