Description of Historic Place
The VIA Rail/Canadian National Railways Station at Georgetown is a one-storey, stone, railway station with a corner tower. It was built between 1855 and 1856, and altered in 1892 and 1904. The station is located within a vast commuter parking lot, just east of the downtown area of Georgetown, within the larger town of Halton Hills. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building.
The VIA Rail/Canadian National Railways Station at Georgetown reflects the architectural ambitions and changing fortunes of the Grand Trunk Railways, including the initial mid-19th-century construction phase, a second, late-19th-century construction phase and a turn-of-the-century, ‘betterments’ phase. Georgetown was a community dependent on the railway for its economic development.
The Georgetown station is a hybrid comprised of a standard, mid-19th-century, five-bay, GTR station, picturesque, elements added during an 1892 enlargement and a 1904 remodelling of both interior and exterior. The Georgetown station is one of nine surviving first-generation GTR stations in Ontario.
The station retains its relationship with the railway tracks, and with remnants of railway-dependent commerce and industry, including the former Railroad Exchange Hotel and the former Provincial Paper Mill complex.
Sources: Heritage Character Statement, VIA Rail Station, Georgetown, Ontario, August 1994; Anne de Fort-Menares, Railway Station Report 216, VIA Rail Station, Georgetown, Ontario.
Character-defining elements of the VIA Rail/Canadian National Railways Station at Georgetown include:
- the massing, reflecting different phases of expansion, and characterized by a rectangular plan, five-bay façades on track (north) and street (south) sides, a picturesque, polygonal, corner tower, a projecting operator’s bay on the track elevation and a large, blind dormer on each of the track and street sides;
- the elements that reflect the standard, mid-19th-century Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) design for a small railway station, including the largely rectangular plan, five bays along each of the long sides, round-arched window and door openings, the regular, symmetrical placement of surviving openings and the stone gable ends extending to the original, shallow-pitched roof line;
- the surviving materials and detailing from the 1855-6 building, including the coursed, rock-faced stone construction of the walls and voussoirs trimmed with raised moulds;
- the picturesque elements which reflect the 1892 and 1904 alterations to the station, including a steeply pitched, gable roof, vertical board in the gable ends, squared soffits, blind dormers over the track-side operator’s bay and the street-side entrance, the polygonal corner tower, the projecting operator’s bay and gothic windows;
- the polygonal corner tower rising through the main roof, with a polygonal canopy at second-storey level continuous with the platform canopy of the main building, and capped by a steeply pitched, polygonal roof;
- its window and door openings, including round-arched openings on three sides of the main building, round-headed transoms, a bull’s-eye window in each gable end, a Gothic, camber-arched opening on the east gable end, the operator’s bay window and openings on all sides of the polygonal tower at both levels;
- its rich surface textures, including rock-faced sandstone walls, decorative timber and stucco in the dormers and the combination of stone base and wood cladding on the operator’s bay and corner tower;
- the 1904 interior circulation pattern, with entry through the main door on the south façade, a direct line to the ticket wicket and a convenient exit to the platform;
- the surviving interior finishes from the 1904 remodelling, including an intricate wood ceiling, wood wainscoting with rough stucco above, high, wood baseboards and Arts-and-Crafts-style door and window trim;
- the intricately boarded wood ceiling with its coved and dentilled cornices, beaded boarding, and mouldings in geometric patterns defining the form and axes of the room.