Charlottetown CNR Station
14 Weymouth Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The former Charlottetown Canadian National Railway Station is a large Richardsonian Romanesque influenced train station, constructed of Island sandstone with Nova Scotia freestone trim. The building is located near the waterfront on the corner of Weymouth and Water Streets. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of the former Charlottetown CNR Station lies in its association with the railway on Prince Edward Island, the Station’s role as a Charlottetown landmark and its importance to the Weymouth and Water Street streetscapes.
The original Charlottetown Railway Station was a wooden building located close to where the current station now stands. The wooden structure was one of six terminal stations across Prince Edward Island. These terminal stations had covered platforms, which created not only a fire hazard, but a great deal of smoke within the building each time an engine passed through the engine shed. The Station was 25 by 40 feet with a covered track and a 200-foot long platform.
By 1900, there was a need to construct a new railway station. A great deal of controversy ensued as a new site for the Station was being selected. According to newspapers of the day, city residents favored a site at the foot of Great George Street but ultimately it was decided to build the new building near the original wooden Station, in the east bog, on the edge of town. A pond had to be filled in before construction could begin on the new building. Controversy continued as the building was constructed. Allegations of political corruption and poor workmanship were reported. Finally, when the building was completed, project costs had exceeded 13 000 dollars.
Despite the problems with the project, the beautiful, Island sandstone building was opened on 8 July 1907. The contractor was EA Wallberg of Montreal and the Engineer who supervised the site was W. Frank Boggis. The building was Richardsonian Romanesque influenced, with its heavy Island sandstone construction, Nova Scotia Freestone trim and large, arched, deeply set windows. The building had three floors with the first containing a ticket sales area, as well as general and separate waiting rooms. The second floor housed offices and the third floor was dedicated to union meetings and storage.
The railway played an integral role in the transportation needs of Islanders throughout the 19th and a large portion of the 20th century. It was also one of the largest employers on the Island. However, due to declining passenger traffic in the 1960’s, the railway passenger service ceased, with only the freight service remaining. The railway’s freight service was finally terminated on 31 December 1989. Soon after, all railway tracks were removed and the land was turned over to the Province. The rail beds were eventually converted to a large trail system running throughout the entire Province known as the Confederation Trail. The former Charlottetown CNR Station is unique in Prince Edward Island and stands as a reminder of a bygone era. The building is a landmark and supports the Weymouth Street and Water Street streetscape.
Canadian National moved from the building in 1983. The building was used temporarily to house the local Farmers Market before it was left vacant until the mid 1990’s. The Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island purchased and renovated the building in 1996. Their offices remain in the building to this day.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Richardsonian Romanesque influenced character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the former Charlottetown CNR Station:
- The stone foundation
- The Island sandstone exterior
- The Nova Scotia freestone trim, including the banding, the arches around the ground floor windows and doors with keystone, as well as the decorative broken pediments on the top floor dormers
- The style and placement of the deeply set windows, including the arched windows of the first floor alternating with the more simply designed, tall windows, with transom lights, as well as the single and paired windows of the second and third floors with their transom lights
- The style and placement of the storefront door with its transom light and lunette above
- The style and shape of the heavy stone chimneys trimmed with Nova Scotia freestone
Other character-defining elements include:
- The style and placement of the awning on the west and south side of the Station
- The style and placement of the porch on the east side of the Station
- The mansard roof with its dormers particularly the centrally placed dormers with chimneys on either side
- The overall symmetry of the building
- The location of the building on the corner of Weymouth and Water Streets
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Office or office building
- Station or Other Rail Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection