Former Grand Trunk Railway (Canadian National Railways) Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Prescott, Ontario
Exterior photo (© (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.))
Exterior photo
(© (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.))
Address : 820 St. Lawrence and Railway Streets, Prescott, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1992-06-04
  • 1855 to 1855 (Construction)

Research Report Number: RS-088

Description of Historic Place

The Former Grand Trunk Railway Station (now Canadian National Railways) at Prescott is a one-storey, ashlar masonry railway station built in 1855. It is located at the end of St. Lawrence Street, within a light industrial area in the town of Prescott. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.

Heritage Value

Built by the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in the mid-19th century, the Prescott railway station represents the first phase of construction of Canada’s first transcolonial and international railway.

The Prescott railway station is the largest of nine surviving, mid-19th-century, GTR stations in Ontario, the only one to retain all four of its chimneys. It is an example of a Type A, first class GTR station. Its Italianate style and stone construction are characteristic of first-generation GTR stations.

The Prescott station retains its traditional relationship with the tracks and the sense of open space and easy access which is part of the history of the site.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, Former Grand Trunk Railway Station (now Canadian National Railways), Prescott, Ontario, October 1992; Anne M. de Fort-Menares, Railway Station Report 088, Former Grand Trunk Railway Station (now Canadian National Railways), Prescott, Ontario.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Former Grand Trunk Railway (Canadian National Railways) Station at Prescott include: its Italianate style, evident in its: snug profile; low-pitched roof; wide, overhanging eaves supported by elaborate wooden brackets; exposed rafter ends; four picturesque chimneys; arched bays puncturing the walls on all sides; and the use of rock-faced, grey, ashlar, limestone masonry; its size, consisting of seven bays on each of the two main elevations; the late-19th-century operator’s bay, built of wood and centred on the track elevation; late-19th-century woodwork on the operator’s bay, concealed behind later additions, including: V-joint board panels in a chamfered-post framework; and triangular-shaped brackets; arched door and window openings extending to the ground on all elevations, and their subsequent masonry infills, including: lighter-coloured masonry spandrels added under the sills of window units; and limestone infill added in two passenger door openings along the west elevation; its fenestration, consisting of three-over-three sash, under three-light semi-circular transoms, with fat, round frame moulding on four openings, and regular voussoirs repeating the window arch; its fine stonework, evident in: the rock-faced limestone masonry of the walls; the subtle quoins and voussoirs at corners and around window and door openings; and the corners of all openings, sawn or chiselled to a flat delicate surface.