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Canadian National Railways / VIA Rail Station

1150 Station Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/09/01

Exterior photo; Vancouver Public Library, photograph number 12185.
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/02/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian National Railways / VIA Rail Station (CNR) in Vancouver is a large, Beaux-Arts-style railway station, built in 1917. It is located on reclaimed land in the False Creek area of the city of Vancouver. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.

Heritage Value

The Vancouver Canadian National Railways (CNR) Station represents the end of the turn-of-the-century period of railway prosperity which culminated in the acquisition of much of Canada's rail service by the government-owned CNR. Designed by the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) to serve as the western terminus of its transcontinental route, the Vancouver station opened as a CNR station.

The Vancouver station is a handsome illustration of Beaux-Arts architectural principles, retaining both the exterior features and interior detailing typical of the style.

The Vancouver station retains the general layout and major components of its site. It serves as a prominent landmark in the urban fabric of Vancouver.

Source: Heritage Character Statement, Canadian National Railways/VIA Rail Station, 1150 Station Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, January 1992.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Canadian National Railways / VIA Rail Station in Vancouver include but are not limited to:
-its Beaux-Arts style, as expressed on the exterior in its monumentality, its symmetricality, its axial plan, its use of light-coloured stone, and the classicism apparent in its design, massing and detail;
-its plan, in which the various functions of the building are expressed in its main components and in the planned relationships between them, including the general waiting room, the service and office areas, and the butterfly-sheds;
-its exterior massing, consisting of a three-storey block with a pronounced central entrance bay and projecting corner pavilions;
-its symmetrical and deeply modeled front façade, characteristic of early Beaux-Arts buildings;
-features typical of Beaux-Arts design, including the monumental arch and pediment sheltering the main entrance, the tripartite vertical composition of the façade, engaged Doric columns, engaged pilasters, bracketed cornice, raised parapet, and the exaggerated window hoods and keystones in the corner pavilions;
-its exterior materials, consisting of smooth-finished stone, rusticated with square, recessed joints;
-the slight projection and darker stone used on the ground floor level;
-suspended canopies over the entrances;
-the neon 'PACIFIC CENTRAL' sign mounted over the parapet
-the arrangement and design of its fenestration, in keeping with the tripartite façade, including lower windows in the base, larger window units set between engaged columns and pilasters in the upper storeys, and the use of paired, triple- and double-hung windows;
-its Beaux-Arts style, as expressed on the interior in its elegant design and classical detailing.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act

Recognition Type

Heritage Railway Station

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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