Canadian National Railway Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Kelowna, British Columbia
View of the trackside elevation of the railway station, 1991. (© Heritage Research, Ann Holtz, 1991.)
General view of the place
(© Heritage Research, Ann Holtz, 1991.)
Address : 520 Clement Ave., Kelowna, British Columbia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1991-06-10
  • 1926 to 1926 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Canadian National Railways  (Organization)
Research Report Number: RS-031

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian National Railway (CNR) station in Kelowna, British Columbia was built in 1926. It is a picturesque single storey wooden station with eyebrow gables on its roof, both town and trackside . Today it stands in an open parklike setting off Ellis St. in the northwest part of town where its former yards stretched to Lake Okanagan.

Heritage Value

The Kelowna station has been designated a heritage railway station for its historical, architectural and environmental significance.

The Canadian National Railway (CNR) station in Kelowna was one of the first stations constructed by the company in British Columbia. Its importance is reflected in its generous scale, substantial materials and sophisticated design. This station was built in 1926 when the CNR built its branch line to the Okanagan Valley. Appearance of the railway both stimulated the local economy and shifted the city's industrial district away from the waterfront to cluster near the rail yards. This station was once surrounded by gardens, and it retains much of its environmental integrity today.

The heritage value of the Kelowna station is defined on the exterior by its overall massing and the decorative features of the elevations. On the interior it is defined by the original fabric and layout evident in some rooms and by the contextual relationship between the station and its immediate setting.

Heritage Character Statement, Kelowna CNR Station, RSR-030, December 1991, Heritage Assessment Report RSR-031, 1991.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of Kelowna’s Canadian National Railway Station include: its irregular rectangular footprint, 1 storey massing, and medium-pitched roof with a bell-cast extension on the track side, its generous proportions, the balance inherent in its vertical definition, the rhythmic, functionally defined placement of its apertures, the intricacy and prominence of its roof definition from all four perspectives (exposed roof apex on the sides, eyebrow gables on the track and town sides), the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a projecting telegrapher’s bay and an extra deep bell-cast eave on the track side to provide passenger shelter, the picturesque inspiration of its details: bell-cast track eave, hipped roof, eyebrow dormers, exposed roof apex, quoins, detailed window surrounds, defined wainscot, the varying textures of its original materials: stucco walls, fieldstone wainscot, smooth stone string course, brick quoins, smooth glass windows often defined by panes and irregular glazing, wooden doors and windows, shingle roofing, the station’s original steel frame and solid wall construction technology, continued legibility of its early functional configuration as a railway station, the integrity of surviving original interior spaces, forms and fabrics, in particular the ladies' waiting room and ticket office with their early counters, cabinets, moldings and flooring, the quality of its original interior spatial definition, particularly its spaciousness and airy, open circulation patterns.