Joffre Roundhouse (Canadian National) National Historic Site of Canada
Joffre Roundhouse (Canadian National)
Rotonde Joffre (Canadien National)
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Joffre Roundhouse (Canadian National) National Historic Site of Canada is a massive railway engine repair facility situated in the Canadian National Railway Company yards in Charny, Quebec. Its hollow, circular form is reflective of its function as a railcar roundhouse. The official recognition refers to the building, its attached machine shop, and the east-end entry area.
Joffre Roundhouse (Canadian National) was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1992 for:
- its size, its age and the significance of Joffre in terms of the Intercolonial Railway.
As part of the Intercolonial Railway (ICR), a railway designed to connect the colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada, an essential provision for the maritime colonies’ entrance into Confederation, the Joffre Roundhouse (Canadian National) was the second busiest divisional points on the system. It was originally constructed as a 24-stall roundhouse to service ICR engines at the Charny depot in 1880. From 1920 to 1921, Canadian National Railway (CNR) added fifteen stalls to the earlier structure thereby creating a full circle, apart from one access opening. Its facilities also include a machine shop and a still-functioning turntable, both added between 1920 and 1921. The Joffre Roundhouse (Canadian National) continued to fulfill its original function until 1981, when the CNR moved all diesel maintenance in the province out of Charny.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1992, December 2004.
Features defining the heritage character of this site include:
- its hollow circular footprint with a rectangular machine shop appendage on one side;
- its high single-storey massing under a flat roof;
- its massive scale;
- its regular subdivision into bays with high, round headed openings;
- its classically-inspired decorative language evident in arched window openings, and a decorative cornice;
- its robust exterior materials including brick walls, original ashlar foundation, 1920-1921 concrete footings, and a tar and gravel roof;
- the high quality of its craftsmanship;
- the use of steel frame construction technology for the machine shop, with its fireproof brick walls, metal roof, concrete floor and steel multi-pane windows;
- its roughly finished utilitarian interior with its layout as a series of stalls with tracks and drop pits, a functioning central turntable, and a concrete pit and track;
- modification of bay lengths and openings to accommodate later engines;
- the functional layout of the machine shop with its inset tools;
- provisions for natural light in working areas;
- its site in the centre of a large railway yard;
- viewscapes to extensive track and other depot buildings, and the surrounding industrial area.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1920/01/01 to 1921/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Station or Other Rail Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection