Home / Accueil

VIA Rail Station

125 Green Street, Sarnia, Ontario, N7T, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/09/01

General view the VIA Rail Station, showing a façade, 1994.; Heritage Research Associates Inc., M. Carter, 1994.
General view
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)

VIA Rail Station
Grand Trunk Railway Station
Gare du Grand Tronc
Sarnia Tunnel Station
Gare tunnel de Sarnia
Canadian National Railways Station
Gare du Canadien National

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/03/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The VIA Rail Station at Sarnia is a two-storey, brick railway station, built in 1891. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building.

Heritage Value

The VIA Rail Station at Sarnia has played a vital, ongoing role in international trade, transportation and immigration between Canada and the United States for over 100 years. Known as “Tunnel Station”, the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) built it as the Canadian terminus and maintenance depot for the St. Clair Tunnel, the world’s first international underwater train tunnel. The station was a key immigration centre for western settlers travelling by train between Canada and the United States. It also served as a major international transfer point for cross-border trade.

The VIA Rail Station at Sarnia is an excellent example of the design work of GTR Chief Engineer Joseph Hobson, with its symmetrical proportions and emphasis on height rather than bulk. The station is also an example of the construction work of George H. Proctor, who provided the requisite late-19th-century detailing.

The VIA Rail Station at Sarnia is highly prized by the community. It maintains its symbolic connection with the St. Clair Tunnel.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, VIA Rail Station, Sarnia, Ontario, March 1995; Heritage Research Associates Inc., Railway Station Report 241, VIA Rail Station, Sarnia, Ontario.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the VIA Rail Station at Sarnia include:
- its long, high and narrow massing, consisting of a narrow, projecting, two-storey, central block flanked by long, one-storey, side wings and capped by high, steeply pitched, hipped-gable roofs;
- its prominent roof line, consisting of an extremely high, hipped-gable roof with slightly bellcast side eaves over the two-storey block and intersected by long, hipped-gable roofs with broad, bellcast, overhanging eaves over the one-storey wings;
- its features typical of late-19th-century railway stations, including a rectangular plan, prominent roofs, wide, overhanging eaves, large wooden brackets and a projecting operator’s bay on track side;
- its fenestration, consisting of tall, narrow windows, in single, double or triple groupings and a quintupled arrangement of small windows on the second storey, topped by a large arched transom;
- its exterior masonry, including red brick laid in Flemish bond, a string course in a varied colour of brick, stone accents at lintels and sills and brick soldier courses and herringbone patterns forming arches around the grouped windows of the two-storey block;
- the surviving original exterior woodwork, including boarded soffits, decorative bargeboards and elaborate brackets under the eaves;
- the regular rhythm of openings, spaced between the eaves brackets;
- the detailing introduced by the builder, which enhances the design, including wooden brackets on the gables, a variegated brickwork band that sits high on the station body, stone window sills and window surrounds outlined in a varied colour of brick.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act

Recognition Type

Heritage Railway Station

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

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

Function - Category and Type



Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

Joseph Hobson


George H. Proctor

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




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places