Canadian Pacific Railway Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Cambridge, Ontario
Exterior photo (© (A. M. de Fort-Menares, Toronto, 1991.))
Exterior photo
(© (A. M. de Fort-Menares, Toronto, 1991.))
Address : 10 Front Street, Cambridge, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1991-06-10
  • 1898 to 1900 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Edward Maxwell  (Architect)
Research Report Number: RS-056

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian Pacific Railway Station at Cambridge is comprised of two brick and stone buildings: a one-and-a-half storey railway station built in 1898-99; and a one-storey, express shed built in 1900. It is located in the city of Cambridge, formerly known as Galt, in southern Ontario. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station and the express shed.

Heritage Value

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station at Cambridge (formerly Galt) reflects the importance of the railway to the growth and social and industrial development of Galt. The building of a new CPR station in 1898-99, affirmed the existing mutual significance of town and railway. When a local electric railway system was created, the electric trains met the steam trains at the new CPR station, giving it an even larger social and economic role in the community.

The Cambridge station illustrates the extensive CPR rebuilding and improvement program of the period 1896-1914 and is an example of the work of Montréal architect Edward Maxwell. Reversing a previous corporate trend to hire prominent American architects for important commissions, the CPR began to look to Canadian architects for most of their projects. Maxwell was the first Canadian to contribute significantly to the CPR system and the Cambridge station dates from an early stage of his relationship with the CPR.

The design of the station building and the adjacent express shed reflects the accepted turn-of-the-century vocabulary for railway stations: large, overhanging roofs; a station agent’s bay; and a quiet, domestic quality to the spaces. More unusual features include: the sophisticated use of dark colours; the use of rough, natural materials; and the fine detailing borrowed from the Richardsonian Romanesque style and from an emerging interest in the Arts and Crafts movement.

The Cambridge station retains significant site features, including: the tracks; a circular drive to the west; and the sense of open space.

Source: Heritage Character Statement, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Cambridge (formerly Galt), Ontario, 5 November 1991; Anne M. de Fort-Menares, Railway Station Report 056, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Cambridge, formerly Galt, Ontario.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Canadian Pacific Railway Station at Cambridge evident on the railway station building include: features which conform to the accepted turn-of-the-century vocabulary for railway stations, including: a large, overhanging roof; a station agent’s bay; and the quiet, domestic quality of the spaces its unusual characteristics, including: the sophisticated use of dark colours; the use of rough, natural materials; and the fine detailing borrowed from the Richardsonian Romanesque style and the Arts and Crafts movement the strong, battered-stone base with delicate beading at the corners, capped by a curved, weathering course carefully modelled at the openings to provide sloped sills the upper walls of fine brick, typical of the period, with red mortar and black tuck pointing the stone quoins visually reinforcing the corners of the building and one track-side doorway the recessed entrance porches at the street side corners, in which the roof structure is supported on square piers built up of alternating bands of brick and stone the above-average quality of the masonry work the asymmetrical but carefully balanced arrangement of door and window openings the composition of door and window openings, including: small divided lights in the transoms and upper sashes; single large panes in the lower sash and lower sidelights; and matching divided lights in the upper door panels the roof support structure, reflecting the growing fascination with Japanese joinery as part of the larger Arts and Crafts movement, including: the large sheltering eaves carried on projecting rafters; the large, supporting cross-beams on built-up, cantilevered wooden brackets; and the square timbers of the brackets tied with metal straps; and the projecting stone corbels which support the wooden brackets the large hip roof, highlighted on the street elevation by a broad gable with two pairs of small, four-light windows set into false half-timbering

Character-defining elements evident on the express shed include: its design and detailing, similar to that of the station, including a wide, overhanging roof, a domestic quality, and contrasting trim around the openings its materials, including the same brick found on the station building, with concrete substituted for stone in the base and in the trim around the openings, reflecting its more utilitarian nature its simpler openings, consisting mostly of large doorways