Canadian National Railway Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

McBride, British Columbia
Corner view of Canadian National Railway Station, showing the track side elevation, 1991. (© Heritage Research, Ann Holtz, 1991.)
General view of the place
(© Heritage Research, Ann Holtz, 1991.)
Address : First Avenue and Main St., McBride, British Columbia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1991-06-10
  • 1919 to 1919 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Canadian National Railways  (Organization)
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Station  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: RS-030

Description of Historic Place

The picturesque Canadian National Railway (CNR) station at McBride, British Columbia is a modest 1 ½ storey wooden building with a distinctive hipped and slightly bell-cast roofline. It stands between reserves of park land as a landmark at the south end of Main Street.

Heritage Value

Tha Canadian National Railway Station at McBride has been designated a heritage railway station for its historical and environmental significance, as well as for its architectural qualities.

The Canadian National Railway (CNR) station at McBride was constructed in 1919 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR). The town of McBride flourished for many years as a GTPR divisional point containing extensive railway service and maintenance facilities. Development of McBride was controlled by the GTPR, its founder and major employer. The railroad laid out the townsite, framing the station with parkland as the terminus and focal point at one end of Main Street. McBride’s station is a substantial, specially designed building in keeping with the community's status as a railway centre and divisional point. It remains in excellent condition and its future is the centre of intense local interest.

The heritage value of the McBride station resides in its exterior massing, fenestration and extant historic finishes and detailing; in those elements of the interior which recall the historic layout; and in its strong visual relationships with the park reserves on either side of the building and the neighbouring commercial and residential streetscapes.

Heritage Character Statement, McBride GTPR Station, RSR-030, January 1992. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-030, 1991.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the McBride’s Canadian National Railway Station include: the irregular rectangular footprint, 1 ½ storey massing, and medium-pitched, bell-cast roof of the station with gables and dormers, its substantial proportions, the inherent balance in its vertical definition, the rhythmic placement of its apertures and brackets, the intricacy and prominence of its roof definition from all four perspectives (gables trackside and streetside, dormers on the building ends), the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a projecting telegrapher’s bay and broad eaves to provide passenger shelter, the picturesque inspiration of its details: irregular roof forms, multi-paned paired windows, prominent brackets, broad eaves, varied gables and dormer forms, distinctive gabled dormers on the front facade, the varying textures of its original materials: stucco walls, false half-timbered gables, shingle roofing, smooth glass windows, wooden doors and trim, the station’s platform frame construction technology, all original fabric inside the station, in particular surviving maple floors, 'V' joint finishes and fir trim, continued legibility of the station’s original functional and spatial configuration, particularly public, restaurant and operational facilities on the ground floor, accommodations and offices on the second floor, utilities and storage in the basement.