Du Palais Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Québec, Quebec
Corner view of the Du Palais Station, 1991. (© Cliché Ethnotech inc, 1991.)
Corner view
(© Cliché Ethnotech inc, 1991.)
Address : 450 Gare du Palais Street, Québec, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1992-06-04
Dates:
  • 1915 to 1915 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Canadian Pacific Railway  (Organization)
  • Harry Edward Prindle, H.G. Jones and D.H. Mapes, engineers, Canadian Pacific Railway  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Canadian Pacific Railway Station  (Other Name)
  • Palace Station/ Canadian Pacific Railway Station  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: RS-099

Description of Historic Place

Palace Station is a large, Chateau-style, brick-and-stone-clad railway station, built in 1915. It is located in the heart of the Lower Town of the city of Québec, close to port and industrial facilities. The formal recognition includes the Y-shaped railway station building and an adjacent building housing the engine room.

Heritage Value

Palace Station was the first union station to be built in the province of Quebec. The construction of the station had a major impact on the city’s economy, connecting the city’s excellent port facilities to rail transport.

Palace Station exemplifies the Chateau style popularized by the CPR. It is the best example of the Chateau style in Quebec City, after the Chateau Frontenac. The station follows an unusual “Y”-shaped plan that was innovative at the time, and was proven to be well-suited to the multi-track approaches to the facility.

The station retains its relationship with the adjacent former post office, also built in the Chateau style, and together they form a picturesque and highly visible grouping within Québec’s lower town.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, Gare du Palais, Québec, Québec, January 1993; Yves Laframboise et Louise Côté, Ethnotech inc., Railway Station Report 099, Gare du Canadien Pacifique, Gare du Palais, Québec, Quebec.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Du Palais Station at Québec include: its Chateauesque style, evident in the steeply pitched roofs, numerous dormers and gables, turrets with conical roofs, and arcaded ground floor; its truncated-Y shaped plan, consisting of a rectangular main block placed long side to the street; and two rectangular wings of differing dimensions extending at 45 degree angles from the long, rear elevation of the main block, permitting a 90 degree angle space in which to accommodate the train yard; its form and massing, consisting of three adjoined rectangular blocks forming a truncated-Y shape and capped by a series of steeply pitched hip or mansard roofs enlivened with gables, turrets and dormers; its use of high-quality materials, including: copper roofs; brick walls laid in Flemish bond and Deschambeault limestone trim; its masonry, consisting of: brick walls laid in Flemish bond; and limestone trim; its limestone trim, used for: foundation walls on the main block rising to window lintel height; corner quoins; window surrounds and mullions; dormer pediments; courses at sill and lintel level; and turret cornices; the main façade of the central block, comprised of: two conical-roofed turrets flanking a massive, glazed bay rising the full height of the building and divided into seven, round-arched, equal parts with stone mullions; the steeply pitched roof rising above the central bay; a metal entrance canopy; and a stone pediment bearing a clock and coat of arms; the seven windows of the central bay, decorated with the arms of seven great Canadians: Montmagny, De Tracy, Beauharnois, Montcalm, Wolfe, Frontenac and Talon; the central stone pediment bearing the clock and arms of the city of Québec; stone shields carved with French, English, Irish, Scottish and Canadian symbols on the two turrets; the various symmetrically placed dormers punctuating the rooflines, including: large pedimented dormers at eave level; small cupolas with spires at mid-roof level; and triangular ventilators placed close to the ridge line; the arrangement of window openings, including: the regular, symmetrical placement of windows throughout the building; the arcade effect created by the series of segmentally arched windows along the ground floor of the main block; groupings of windows in twos and threes; and windows rising the full height of the building along the right wing and at the main entrance; its interior plan, with: the grand ticket hall; separate men’s and women’s waiting rooms; offices for telegraph, telephone and customs; washrooms and baggage rooms; the large interior volume of the ticket room, and the skylights above which bathe it in natural light; the mezzanine level of the ticket room, with: an arcaded gallery which permits a view of the hall below; and terracotta decorations, including cornice, balustrades, clocks, and narrative panels; the use of high-quality interior materials, including: rough-textured brick walls with beaded joints; marble floors and baseboards; and vaulted ceilings finished with mosaic tile; surviving original interior elements of the ticket room, including: the mezzanine staircase, with cast-iron balusters and brass railing; ticket wickets; chandeliers; and handrails; the grand waiting room leading to the loading platforms, with: a concrete ceiling supported by four large steel arches; large windows with brick and terracotta piers; and oak benches on marble bases; its reinforced-concrete construction, clad with stone and brick; a separate two-and-a-half-storey building built in a similar style and with similar materials, and aligned with the left wing, housing the engine room.