Wolfville Canadian Pacific

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Corner view of Canadian Pacific Railway Station, showing both the back and side façades, 1991. (© Delta Four Associates, Barry Moody, 1991.)
General view of the place
(© Delta Four Associates, Barry Moody, 1991.)
Address : North Street, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1992-06-04
  • 1912 to 1912 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Canadian Pacific Railway  (Organization)
  • Dominion Atlantic Railway  (Organization)
  • Herbert E. Gates  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Dominion Atlantic Railway Station  (Historic Name)
Research Report Number: RS-081

Description of Historic Place

Long known as the Wolfville Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) station, the station building on Elm Avenue in Wolfville Nova Scotia was actually constructed by the Dominion Atlantic Railway (DAR) in 1912. This is a charming picturesque station that has a 2 storey town side and a 1½ profile from the track.

Heritage Value

The Wolfville Canadian Pacific Heritage Railway Station has been designated a heritage railway station for its historical, architectural and environmental significance.

This station was designed by Halifax architect Herbert E. Gates and constructed just before the CPR assumed control of the DAR. It ceased to function as a station when passenger service ended in 1990, and in the interim serviced both passengers and freight. Its presence witnesses the important 20th century role of rail in developing the Annapolis Valley as a commercial tourism destination. The CPR used Wolfville as an anchor points for its "Land of Evangeline" publicity, developing extensive gardens at nearby Grand Pré as an attraction.

This station was built during a period of valley boosterism. It is far larger than the population of Wolfville warranted, even with an added compliment of Acadia University students. The building is well-designed, well-constructed, and essentially unaltered on the exterior. Executed in brick, with sandstone and granite trim, it conveys a sense of permanence and well-being. Wolfville is the sole example of this asymmetrical two-storey station design in Nova Scotia, and today the station resides in a sympathetic central commercial and industrial setting.

The heritage character of the Wolfville Canadian Pacific Heritage Railway Station is defined primarily by its exterior form, materials and detail, and to a lesser extent by its surviving interior detail and its setting.

· Heritage Character Statement, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Wolfville, N.S., April 1992. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-081,1991.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Wolfville Canadian Pacific Heritage Railway Station include: its rectangular footprint, irregular 1 ½ and/or 2 storey massing from different perspectives, its high hipped roof profile, its unusual asymmetrical proportions, particularly as they are underlined by the unique form of the deep bracketed overhang on the ground level, the rhythmic placement of its apertures and brackets, the prominence of its roof definition from track and end perspectives, the simple picturesque manner in which it employs irregular roof forms, deep eaves, and a variety of material colour and texture, the continuing legibility of its original exterior materials: brick walls; sandstone foundations, window sills, lintels, and bracket corbels; cut granite door thresholds; heavy timber for brackets; tongue and groove boarding for soffits and fascia; wooden windows with a single pane lower sash and a decorative divided light upper sash with transoms; paneled wood doors; shingle roof, all surviving original fabric inside the station, including the original tongue and groove wainscoting and decorative window and door trim on the ground floor, and the decorative turned newels and balusters of the staircase, continued legibility of the station’s original functional configuration and spatial volumes, the continuity of longstanding circulation patterns, the overall integrity of the building’s form, plan, material, and detail.