Description of Historic Place
The Canadian Pacific Railway Station at Lake Louise is a small, log, railway station built in 1910 to serve tourist traffic. It is located in the Rocky Mountains adjacent to the Château Lake Louise hotel. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.
The Lake Louise railway station reflects the prominent role played by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in developing tourism in the Canadian Rockies. The present station was built to serve tourists to Lake Louise, and especially guests of the CPR-owned Château Lake Louise. The hotel and railway station formed the geographical and economic core of Lake Louise.
The Lake Louise railway station is one of the few remaining examples of the railway stations built by the CPR to serve tourists. Its small scale, simple design and log construction reflect the Rustic vocabulary that was integral to CPR and federal government marketing of the Canadian Rockies as a tourist destination. The generous fenestration, designed for visual appreciation of the scenery, is unique to mountain stations. The Lake Louise station was the first of a group of six mountain stations built by the CPR after 1909, and illustrates the continuing regional success of the application of the Rustic motif in station architecture.
The Lake Louise railway station site retains a view of the mountains in all directions (except that compromised by the new, raised railbed), vestiges of the former tramway link with the hotel and the station garden, and a natural backdrop provided by the tree-lined banks of the nearby Bow River.
Source: Heritage Character Statement, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Lake Louise, Alberta, January 5, 1990; Sally Coutts, Railway Station Report 011, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Lake Louise, Alberta.
Character-defining elements of the Canadian Pacific Railway Station at Lake Louise include:
-its small-scale, simple design and log construction
-its long, low rectangular form, aesthetically and functionally defined by a centrally placed cross gable
-exterior massing reflecting the original interior functions, including a main gable roof, intersected at mid span by a cross gable over the former general waiting room; a simple ventilator which marks the intersection of roof lines; and a brick fireplace chimney extending from the roof line
-its rustic vocabulary, derived from the use of unrefined local construction materials and simple detailing, as evidenced in walls consisting of uniformly sized, peeled round logs assembled with a scribed fit, structural openings framed in log, and overhanging eaves supported by log brackets and corbels
-exterior functional features which speak to the history of the building, including the station master’s bay window overlooking the tracks, double baggage doors, two sets of waiting room doors, and the configuration of baggage and waiting-room doors opposite each other on the axis to allow passenger traffic to flow through the building
-remnants of the original interior configuration of three distinct sections: a centrally located general waiting room flanked on one side by smaller, segregated waiting rooms and rest areas, and on the other side by baggage and ticket-handling facilities
-match-board panelling on the upper portions of the walls and ceiling of the former general waiting room
-surviving original features of the public areas, including the tri-partite leaded glass windows on the front and rear elevations and the massive fireplace with hearths servicing three interior areas
-surviving original interior materials and finishes in the former baggage room, including gouged pine board flooring, a concrete drive floor, rough plastered walls partially clad with match-board panelling and plain wood trim.