Canadian National Railway/VIA Rail Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Sioux Lookout, Ontario
Corner view of Canadian National Railway/VIA Rail Station, showing both the rear and side façades. (© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, Murray Peterson.)
Rear elevation
(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, Murray Peterson.)
Address : South of Front St. (at 4th Ave.), Sioux Lookout, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1994-03-10
  • 1911 to 1911 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway  (Organization)
  • Canadian National Railways  (Organization)
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Engineering Department  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Station  (Other Name)
  • National Transcontinental Railway Station  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: RS-197

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian National Railway/ VIA Rail Station at Sioux Lookout Ontario is a 1 ½ storey stucco building constructed in 1911. Half timber details added in 1927 continue to be its most prominent feature, underlining the building’s attractive proportions and substantial form. On its prominent site south of Front St. at the entry of 4th Avenue, the station is a focal point between downtown Sioux Lookout and its railyards.

Heritage Value

The Canadian National Railway/ VIA Rail Station at Sioux Lookout Ontario was designated a heritage railway station for its historical, architectural and environmental importance.

It was built in 1911 for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR), and used by both the GTPR and the National Transcontinental Railway (NTR). Its substantial presence is indicative of railway optimism concerning the exploitation of northern resources, and the continued growth of east-west transcontinental traffic. Sioux Lookout was a divisional point on the GTPR transcontinental line.

The town of Sioux Lookout was established by the railway, and for many decades, the railway was its main source of jobs, transportation, communications, and goods. Like other sites on the GTPR line, it was eventually incorporated into the Canadian National Railways system.

In size and original design, the Sioux Lookout station is typical of divisional point stations built by all of the railway companies throughout northern Ontario. The building is long and simply massed, with a modest ornamented frame structure. Its most striking original features are its oversized eaves supported by prominent brackets and its track-side bay window. Extensive alterations, including the application of decorative half-timbering, have not changed the original volumes of the structure.

The station, along with the extensive yards and switching tracks, stands as the last reminder of Sioux Lookout's initial development stage, and the building is conspicuous despite its reduced role in the community. The building still contains a VIA Rail waiting room.

The heritage value of the Sioux Lookout Canadian National Railway/ VIA Rail Station resides in its simple, elongated massing, in the patterns created by window and door openings and applied Tudor Revival ornamentation, and in surviving early finishes.

· Heritage Character Statement, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Station, Sioux Lookout, Ont., March 1994. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-197, 1993.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Sioux Lookout Canadian National Railway/ VIA Rail Station include:
the rectangular footprint and 1 ½ storey massing of the station as a long central portion under a pitched gable roof with a central eyebrow dormer, and prominent end gables with transverse hips, its substantial, regular proportions, its symmetrical appearance, the balance inherent in its vertical definition, the rhythmic placement of its second storey apertures and details, and end brackets, the prominence of its roof and platform canopy definition, the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a projecting telegrapher’s bay and broad eaves to provide passenger shelter, its picturesque details: flared eaves, varied roof angles, broad canopy, vertical wear strips, brackets, gables, central eyebrow dormer, and windows grouped as series of two and three, the original arcaded openings on the ground floor, its Tudor-revival half-timbered details, the varying textures of its original materials: stucco walls, wood detail, shingle roofing, smooth glass windows, wooden doors and trim, the false half-timbered decorative detail added in 1927, the station’s platform frame construction technology, any and all original fabric inside the station, in particular surviving windows and transoms are still in place on the south elevation of the ground floor, and second floor wood wainscot, doors with transoms, and original sash windows protected behind louvered shutters, continued legibility of the station’s original functional configuration and spatial volumes, the continuity of longstanding access and circulation patterns, the overall integrity of the building’s form, plan, material, and detail.