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Union Station / Winnipeg Railway Station (Canadian National) National Historic Site of Canada

123 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1976/06/15

General view of Union Station / Winnipeg Railway Station, showing the monumentality of the main entrance, 2006.; Union Station Winnipeg, Dan McKay, October 2006.
General view
Aerial view of Union Station/Winnipeg Railway Station, showing the axial symmetry of its plan and the use of classical elements on a heroic scale, 1920.; Archives of Manitoba/Archives du Manitoba, 1920.
Aerial view
Aerial view of Union State / Winnipeg Railway Station, showing the spatial relationship between its main components, 2010.; Green Winnipeg, Trevor, September 2010.
Aerial view

Other Name(s)

Union Station / Winnipeg Railway Station (Canadian National)
Gare Union / gare du Canadien National à Winnipeg
Winnipeg CNR Station
Union Station / Winnipeg Railway Station (Canadian National) National Historic Site of Canada
Gare du CN à Winnipeg
Union Station, Winnipeg

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1908/01/01 to 1911/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/12/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Union Station/Winnipeg Railway Station is a four-storey, stone, Beaux-Arts-style railway terminal built in the first decade of the 20th century. It is prominently located at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. It now houses an active passenger rail station as well as mixed-use commercial/office space. The formal recognition consists of the terminal building, including the passenger concourse, railway platforms and train shed.

Heritage Value

Union Station/Winnipeg Railway Station was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1976 because it was one of Western Canada’s largest railway stations, built for the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTPR) and the Canadian Northern (CNR) railways in the Beaux-Arts style.

Its heritage value is illustrated by the extent, layout, materials and design of the station building. As a joint venture between the CNR, the National Transcontinental Railway (NTR), the GTPR) and the Dominion government, the construction of Union Station/Winnipeg Railway Station expressed the confidence of both the railway industry and government in the continued growth of the West.

Built in 1908-11 to the designs of the New York architectural firm of Warren and Wetmore, Union Station is one of the finest examples of a Beaux-Arts-style railway station in Canada. The siting of the building also reflects the principles of Beaux-Arts urban design and a consciousness of the physical environment typical of the City Beautiful movement.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, June 1976.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that relate to the heritage value of Union Station include:
-the use of classical elements on a heroic scale;
-the spatial relationship between its main components, including the domed central rotunda, the north and south wings, and the sub-grade passenger tunnel;
-the classicism expressed in the combination of monumental entrance with plainer, set-back wings;
-the monumentality of the main entrance, achieved by: a large, classically detailed arch, flanking columns, and dome above;
-the form and detailing of the north and south wings, including the arrangement of paired windows of decreasing height under a broad cornice, the richly detailed ground-floor windows, and the ornate, metal-framed canopies over secondary entrances;
-the use of Tyndall limestone on the building’s exterior;
-its symmetrical arrangement and axial plan expressed as an interior sequencing of spaces around a central atrium, with the route to the passenger tunnel and platforms behind;
-the passenger tunnel as a significant functional feature of a multi-track, through station;
-interior views from the gallery over the rotunda;
-the Beaux-Arts decorative treatment of the principal interior public spaces, including railings, fixtures, wainscotting, grilles, mouldings and finishes;
-its siting at the foot of Broadway Avenue.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1976/06/15

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Transport-Rail
Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

Warren and Wetmore

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

152

Status

Published

Related Places

Aerial view

Union Station

Union Station is a large, stone, Beaux-Arts-style railway terminal, constructed in 1908-11. It is prominently located at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Avenue in…

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