Description of Historic Place
The Former Canadian Pacific Railway Station (VIA Rail) at Courtenay is a one-and-a-half-storey, wood-frame railway station with station agent’s quarters above, built in 1914. At that time it was located in a wooded area outside the city of Courtenay; it is now well in the city limits and part of an industrial area. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.
The Former Canadian Pacific Railway Station (VIA Rail) at Courtenay reflects the Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CPR) commitment to sustaining railway service on Vancouver Island through its subsidiary, the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway (E&N). As the most northerly point on the E&N line, the Courtenay station represented the end of the line for pre-war railway growth. The construction of the station and arrival of the railway in 1914 supported Courtenay’s role as the supply and distribution centre for local agricultural, logging and mining industries.
The Courtenay station’s large size and bold design reflect the CPR’s optimistic assessment of economic prospects in Courtenay and the Comox Valley. Designed by CPR Divisional Engineer R.A. Bainbridge, it resembles contemporary standard CPR designs.
The station retains its relationship to the tracks. There is strong local interest in the heritage value and preservation of the station.
Sources: Heritage Character Statement, VIA Rail Station, September 1993; and Analytica Associates, Railway Station Report 152, VIA Rail (former Canadian Pacific Railway) Station, Courtenay, British Columbia.
Character-defining elements of the Former Canadian Pacific Railway Station (VIA Rail) at Courtenay include:
-its one-and-a-half-storey form, with a prominent two-storey block projecting through the roofline of the second storey and flanked by one-storey wings;
-its rectangular plan, exceptionally long and wide for a CPR station of this era;
-its prominent roofline, consisting of a hip roof with deep, overhanging eaves covering the lower storey, and a cross-gable over the second-storey section;
-the use of different materials to add texture, including shiplap siding on the lower storey walls, cedar shingles on the upper storey walls and prominent corner boards;
-exterior detailing, including slender, wooden, canopy brackets, a finish board at the base of exterior walls and an elevated porch along the rear elevation;
-the balanced, irregular, arrangement of window and door openings;
-its wood-frame construction;
-surviving original interior finishes in the waiting room, including wood floors, plaster-on-lath walls finished with a high, burlap dado over a moulded skirting, wood panel doors, baseboards, window trim and a crown moulding;
-surviving original interior layout and finishes in the second-storey, residential space, including wood floors, stairs, panel doors and wood trim;
-surviving original interior features in the baggage room, including exposed studs and planking.
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