One anecdote of these early years related by Kevin Patterson shows that Van Horne could be a bit of a prankster:
Once he ran a ground wire from his employer's office to a steel plate in the  railway yards - which could be seen from the office he was working in. The wire being charged with electricity, would shock anyone who stepped on it. This was an amusing spectacle for William until his boss stepped on the plate and unlike William's other victims knew about electricity. William was given a serious reprimand for his actions and shown the door. (Canadian Stories)
|Van Horne seen to the left of hammerer Donald Smith. Van Horne gazes casually down at the completion of the road.|
|Glenbow Museum Image No: NA-4432-1|
Title: Portrait of W.C. Van Horne.
Date: June 1910
"I eat all I can; I drink all I can; I smoke all I can; and I don't give a damn for anything."
Perhaps not an encouraging motto for youngsters.
|Glenbow MuseumFile number: NA-2864-1771b-6a|
Title: Van Horne students work on school mural, Calgary, Alberta.
Date: May 1967
As a final trivial tidbit, the song Van Horne, by Calgary rock band Chixdiggit!, has absolutely nothing to do with Van Horne himself, and probably refers to a teenage romance surrounding Van Horne high school in north-west Calgary.