Canadian Northern Railway Station
23245 Mavis Street and Glover Road, Langley District, British Columbia, V1M, Canada
Canadian Northern Railway Station
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Canadian Northern Railway Station is a two storey wood frame station built with a broad roof overhang typical of train stations from the early twentieth century. The building sits on a large corner site in the Fort Langley area of Langley District, with a recreated station garden to the east and railway tracks and the Fraser River to the north.
Fort Langley played a pivotal role in the creation of British Columbia. It was the first permanent European settlement in the Fraser Valley, the site of the proclamation of the Crown Colony of British Columbia and the first major commercial agricultural centre in B.C. The Hudson's Bay Company used the fur trade fort based here for exporting Fraser River salmon as well as agricultural products and furs to Europe and to Pacific Rim countries. In 1858, when gold was discovered on the bars of the Fraser River, the influx of prospectors caused fears of American annexation, and directly led to Britain proclaiming a Crown Colony under the direction of Governor James Douglas. The fort and the Village that grew up adjacent to it are now part of the Township of Langley.
The CNR Station is a symbol for the Township of Langley as a heritage conservation pioneer. Appreciating the many heritage values present in a 9 square block area referred to as the Village of Fort Langley and after the successful conservation of the station, the Township created a development permit area in 1989 and then adopted Façade and Sign Design Guidelines in 1993 - years before legal tools to protect heritage areas were available. As legislation changed over time, the Township used those new legal tools to formally protect the area, and ultimately created its first Heritage Conservation Area in 1997.
The station also symbolizes the first partnership that occurred between the Township and a non-profit society (Langley Heritage Society) for a community-based conservation and restoration project of an important historic place. The Township owns the building and the society restored and then continues to manage it. This partnership played a lead role in focussing the community on heritage conservation issues and created a successful partnership model that the Township continues to use successfully for other heritage properties.
The CNR Station is important for its historic transportation and commercial significance, for its architectural significance, and for its landmark status. Built in 1915 when Canadian Northern Railway felt there was enough business to warrant it, the station is a well designed and visually pleasing building. Its broad roof overhang, dominent eave brackets and irregular, dynamic massing evoke the importance and style of historic train travel. The addition of residential quarters above and the creation of a garden beside the station in 1918 added a sense of permanence. The garden was more than a place to grow food for the station master, it was also a place of pride, particularly when the station masters up and down the line would have competitions for "best garden". The garden seen now on the site is a recreation of what would have been there in the early twentieth century, even using original plant cuttings and seeds.
The station speaks to the growth and settlement of Langley and to the agricultural development that occurred due to the expansion of the railway through the area. The success of this growing community was clear enough to the railway company for it to build a total of twelve stations within a twelve mile stretch of Langley. Only this station on Mavis and Glover survives.
The station also represents an important part of the transportation network that spawned and encouraged the growth of Langley and which was, in effect, the front door to the community. This particular corner became a transportation hub where all three elements of the network converged: railroad, river and road.
Moved a hundred feet east from its original location in 1983, but still located near the centre of town and next to existing railway tracks, the station asserts how important a railway and its stations are to the growth of a local community.
Source: Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files.
Character-defining elements of the Canadian Northern Railway Station include:
Aesthetic and Architectural Elements:
-Use of standard 3rd class design typical of CNR
-Broad roof overhang
-Dominent eave brackets
-Irregular, dynamic massing
-Wood drop siding
-9-over-1 double hung sash windows on both main and second level on all four facades
-Number and placement of windows
-Location and number of chimneys: 1 straight and 1 using salmon brick with a flair to its design
Historic Transportation Elements:
-Prominent siting near the centre of town and beside railway tracks, Fraser river and historic Glover Road
-Relationship of the station to the tracks: one set of working tracks and one short set of sample tracks that are located right beside the platform
-Wooden passenger platform running length of front of building
-Ticket master office, with original finishes
-Residence for station master and currently for caretaker
-Physical relationship to historic Fort Langley
-Location within a rail-history complex that also includes relevent artifacts
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Exhibition Centre
- Single Dwelling
- Station or Other Rail Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files
Cross-Reference to Collection