Canadian National Railway Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Richmond, Quebec
Corner view of Canadian Pacific Railway Station, showing both the back and side façades. (© Photographie Jacqueline hallé, 1991.)
General view of the place
(© Photographie Jacqueline hallé, 1991.)
Address : Main Street (corner of Fair Rd.), Richmond, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1991-11-22
  • 1912 to 1912 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Grand Trunk Railway  (Organization)
  • Canadian National Railways  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Grand Trunk Railway Station  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: RS-070

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian National Railway (CNR) Station in Richmond is situated on Rue Principale in the lower town beside the Saint Francois River. It is a large picturesque station with a two storey centre block.

Heritage Value

The Richmond CNR station was designated a heritage railway station for its historical and environmental role in the development of its city, and for its architectural qualities.

Situated at the junction of rail lines that join Montreal and Quebec City to Portland Maine, Richmond has been a major railway centre since the Grand Trunk was constructed in the 1850s. It was an important railway maintenance and repair yard until the 1950s, long after Canadian National Railways absorbed the GTR. The railway generated both employment and activity that provided a major impetus to Richmond’s development. Evidence of this prosperity can still be seen in the hotel and commercial district adjacent to the station.

The present station was built by the GTR in 1912 when fire destroyed its 1883 predecessor. It is a brick building with granite lintels that was both more substantial and refined than earlier local stations. The most distinctive aspect of the design of this station is its response to its site in the centre of a triangle of main lines. The station’s northwest lateral elevation is treated as a central element of its composition, acting as an axis for the alignment of the building’s long symmetrical facades, its interplay of open and closed spaces. This is further developed by the station’s varying roof levels and undulating red brick surfaces.

Heritage value of the Richmond CNR station resides in its architectural volumes, its choice of construction materials, its functional plan, and its distinctive design response to its site.

Heritage Character Statement, Grand Trunk Railway Station, Richmond, Quebec, February 1993. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-070, 1991.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Richmond Canadian National Railway Station include:
its footprint as two rectangular structures on either side of a connecting passage, its irregular massing as a central two storey portion under a hipped roof with a projecting second storey hipped roof gable, and two one storey wings, each under hipped roofs with hipped dormers – three on one end and one on the other, its substantial scale and orientation for use and viewing from three sides, its defined off-set proportions as governed by the axis of its northwest lateral elevation, its rhythmic interplay of open and closed surfaces, the presence of five distinctive bay windows and a covered passage, the intricacy and stacked nature of its roof definition, the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a projecting two storey telegrapher’s bay and unifying broad platform eaves to provide passenger shelter, its picturesque details: irregular roof forms, tower-like gable, dormers, multi-paned paired windows, broad eaves, bay windows, the composition, finishes and textures of its original materials: red brick walls, rose coloured masonry, carved stone lintels, wood decorative details, windows, doors and trim, any and all original fabric, furnishings and finishes surviving inside the station, legibility of the station’s original functional and spatial configuration, continued use of longstanding access and circulation patterns, the overall integrity of the building’s form, plan, material, and detail.