Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail/GO Transit) Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Guelph, Ontario
Exterior photo (© (M. Carter, March 1992.))
Exterior photo
(© (M. Carter, March 1992.))
Address : 79 Carden Street, Guelph, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1992-11-06
  • 1911 to 1911 (Construction)

Research Report Number: RS-145

Description of Historic Place

The Former Canadian National Railways(CNR) (VIA Rail/GO Transit) Station at Guelph, built in 1911, is a one-storey, brick railway station with a prominent Italianate tower. It is located on high ground at the centre of Guelph, near the Market Square. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.

Heritage Value

The Former CNR (VIA Rail/GO Transit) Station at Guelph reflects a period of prosperity for the Grand Trunk Railway(GTR), during which it upgraded facilities to suit the increased volume of traffic. It also reflects local aspirations to acquire a higher profile station in keeping with the high level of railway service historically obtained by the city.

The Guelph station is characterized by its large size and elaborate design. The station includes a fine Italianate tower and porte cochère, and the use of high-quality finishing materials on the interior. The layout is typical of its time and largely intact.

The station is prominently located on high ground at the city centre. With the city hall and the armoury, it forms a triangle of historic buildings that set the tone for the city’s core. It retains its relationship with its site, including: the tracks, the adjacent war memorial; and a pedestrian subway that connects to Guelph’s main street. The station’s historic importance is recognized by the community.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, Former CNR/now VIA Rail and GO Transit Station, Guelph, Ontario, May 1993; Heritage Research Associates, Railway Station Report 145, Former Canadian National Railways Station /now VIA Rail and GO Transit, Guelph, Ontario.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Former CNR (VIA Rail/GO Transit) Station at Guelph include: its low, one-storey form, dominated by a massive hip roof, and by a prominent porte-cochère and tower its Romanesque Revival aesthetic, evident in: the textural masonry; and voussoired arches over window and door openings its main facades, composed of six equal bays with balanced openings the massive hip roof with ornamented central ridge the square, Italianate-style tower, with: its low-pitched, pyramidal roof; paired, round-arched openings; pilastered corners; and decorative cornice the extended porte-cochère, centrally located on the town side, supported on decorative buttresses and capped by a hip roof the projecting telegrapher’s bay on the track side, capped by a hip roof its high quality masonry, including: brick cladding with fine mortar joints; a concrete foundation of granite extending to window-sill height; stone detailing; a finely detailed masonry chimney; and radiating, brick voussoirs over window and door openings its stone detailing in grey granite, including: corner quoins; a string course extending around the building with curved extensions over window and door openings; and keystones and a decorative cornice on the tower its use of contrasting colours, including: brick in colours ranging from buff to salmon; rose-tinted mortar joints; and grey granite foundation and detailing the arrangement of window openings, consisting of single, paired and tripled windows with arched transoms surviving original windows and transoms its interior plan, consisting of a General Waiting Room; Parcel and Baggage Office; Baggage Room; and Ladies’ Parlour surviving original interior finishes in the Waiting Room, including: patterned, ceramic-tile floors; window and door trim; and coved and beamed plaster ceilings surviving original interior finishes in the baggage areas, including: tongue-and-groove wall boarding surviving original finishes and trims above the drop ceilings