VIA Rail (Union) Station

Heritage Railway Station of Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Corner view of the VIA Rail (Union Station), 1996. (© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, Murray Peterson, 1996.)
General view of the place
(© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, Murray Peterson, 1996.)
Address : 1701 Chappel Dr. (south-west end of town), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute: Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
Designation Date: 1996-06-05
  • 1964 to 1964 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Canadian National Railways  (Organization)
  • Office of the Chief Architect (H.C. Greensides), CNR Montreal; and Bennett and White, Saskatchewan  (Architect)
Research Report Number: RS-292

Description of Historic Place

The Via Rail (Union) Station at Saskatoon is a one-storey, railway station built by Canadian National Railways (CN) in 1964 in the International style. It is located within the Chappell rail yards on the southwest outskirts of the city of Saskatoon. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.

Heritage Value

The Saskatoon railway station reflects the profound changes in rail transportation brought about by the introduction of diesel engines and container freighting during the mid 20th century. The creation of an up-to-date rail yard and a new passenger station on the outskirts of the city reflected both the need for reorganization and restructuring of rail service and facilities, and the continuing importance of Saskatoon within the Prairie railway system.

The Saskatoon railway station is one of western Canada’s best examples of a station constructed in the International Style. Its sleek, straight lines, its balanced, symmetrical facades, its simple finishes and its open, sunlit plan exemplify modern station design.

The Saskatoon station continues to serve as the most prominent feature of the busy Chappell rail yards. The flat, simple, ground plan, and the open spaces surrounding the station complement the visual impact of its design.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, Via Rail Canada Station, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, September 23, 1996; and Murray Peterson, Railway Station Report 292, VIA Rail Canada Station, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Via Rail (Union) Station at Saskatoon include: its simple massing and streamlined horizontal lines its rectangular and balanced symmetrical plan its low, one-storey height, with a raised central section accentuating the interior concourse and the main entrances on the north (town) and south (track) facades the contrast between solid and void, and sense of monumentality created by the two, lower rectangular wings connected by a raised, glazed link detailing and fenestration which contribute to the International style of the building, including: the raised central roof; the entrance canopy that overhangs the vertical wall elements; the numerous windows on the upper portion of the raised central section; and the bands of windows on the one-storey side elevations its concrete block construction with brick cladding in buff and Iris blue the symmetrical and balanced placement and proportions of window and door openings reflecting interior function, including: metal sash windows with few divisions, arranged in ribbon bands; glazed metal entrance doors leading to the central concourse; and large overhead-operating metal doors for freight handling and storage facilities on each facade of the building’s southeast corner the openness and light of the interior concourse, created by: two banks of raised windows running its entire length; glazed entrances at either end; and the lack of walls or support columns within the concourse its simple, modern and durable interior finishes, including: metal trim, brick, concrete block, painted plaster walls and terrazzo flooring