Former Canadian Northern Railway Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Front view of the former Canadian Northern Railway Station, 1991. (© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, Murray Peterson, 1991.)
Front elevation
(© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, Murray Peterson, 1991.)
Address : Estella Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1991-06-10
  • 1910 to 1910 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Canadian Northern Railway  (Organization)
  • Canadian National Railways  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Canadian National Railways Station  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: RS-028

Description of Historic Place

This former Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) station is a large but modest standard plan building constructed in St. James Manitoba in 1910. Although St. James was a small town outside the City of Winnipeg, this was designed as a suburban station with built-in exterior shelters for commuters. The Vintage Locomotive Society Inc. moved it to the present site in 1999 to prevent demolition. Today this station stands at mile 9 of the Oak Point Subdivision, Canadian National Railways (Inkster Blvd. and Sturgeon Rd.) where it serves as a station for the society’s steam-powered excursions to Grosse Isle.

Heritage Value

The St. James' former CNoR station was designated a heritage railway station primarily for its historical significance but also for its profile within the community of St. James.

The former CNoR station is a Second Class CNoR station. It was built on an established passenger line to serve a well-developed residential area outside the rapidly expanding City of Winnipeg. The former CNoR station has the characteristics of a suburban rather than a rural station. It did not incorporate second storey living quarters (as would a rural station), and it was more substantially constructed than the size of its host community warranted to allow for urban expansion. The presence of this station helped to ensure the subsequent growth of the community of St. James. Not only did rail-dependent industrial ventures develop in the vicinity of the station, but it also became the terminal of a streetcar commuter system, which delivered dairy products from St. James to Winnipeg markets.

The heritage character of the former CNoR station is defined by those features that relate to its overall form and massing, its plan, and the decorative features of its elevations.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, former St. James (Winnipeg) CNoR Station, RSR-028, 31 October 1991. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-028, 1991.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the former CNoR Railway Station include: the station’s rectangular footprint, block-like single storey massing, and low pitched hipped roof with its symmetrical gabled dormers, its substantial overall proportions as well as the integral proportions of the decorative subdivisions of the station body, the prominence of its roof definition from all four perspectives, the simple aesthetic design and rhythmic deployment of station body features: brackets, windows and doors, the smooth integration of features expediting passenger comfort during periods of heavy use, in particular the slightly bell-cast roof extension over the platform and its accompanying bracketed shelters at both ends of the station, any evidence of the common industrial materials used in original construction: wood siding, shingle and details, evidence of materials and forms added later as a form of fire proofing (stucco with wear strips set on original wainscot lines, asbestos shingle), the station’s platform frame construction technology, all original fabric inside the station, continuity of the 1921 functional divisions of space within the station which attest to its origin as a railway station: waiting room, dispatch area, freight and baggage rooms, any and all evidence of the building’s use as a railway station.