Description of Historic Place
The Westmount Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) station is situated at 4848 Ste. Catherine St. West facing a residential area on the south east edge of Westmount. It is a long low brick pavillion with arched openings framed by broad square turrets.
Westmount CPR Station was designated a heritage railway station for its historical importance and for its architectural and environmental qualities.
The 1907 construction of Westmount’s CPR station reflects rapid growth in the Westmount community as a residential suburb of Montreal between 1890 and 1914. This growth was directly related to access to reliable commuter transportation. The CPR introduced a Windsor-Vaudreuil commuter train when it built a line south of the mountain in 1890, constructed its first Westmount station in 1896, and its second in 1907. The new station was both more spacious and more conveniently located than its predecessor: its presence played a decisive role in the development of the southwestern part of Montreal.
Recognizing the strategic value of Westmount Station as a company image in an affluent suburb, the CPR put its chief architect, W. S. Painter, in charge of the station’s design. He created an elegant red-brick structure whose architectural form was distinguished by turrets crowned by a pavilion roof and whose composition was based on a balanced distribution of openings. Its original design was among the most successful of the CPR’s medium-sized stations. In 1923 a glass shed was built on the southwestern side of the station to protect the access to a sub-terranean tunnel, and in 1927 the northeastern side was extended to expand interior public space. While these additions respect the general character of the building, they have disturbed its original symmetry.
The Westmount station’s environment remains relatively intact today. Its site landscaping and access routes have changed little over time, and longstanding railway elements of the site (the lines and Glen Bridge and switching yard) are still present.
Heritage value of the Westmount CPR station resides in its architectural form and composition, and in its historical and site relationships to its community.
· Heritage Character Statement, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Westmount, Quebec, August 1994. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-221, 1993.
Character-defining elements of the Westmount CPR Station include:
- the building’s long rectangular footprint, and distinctive massing as a low 1 storey pavillion under a gabled roof framed by two square 1 ½ storey turrets under hipped caps,
- its substantial formal proportions,
- its rhythmic horizontal balance defined by grouped openings under a regular series of arches along the facade,
- the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a projecting telegrapher’s bay,
- its restrained Chateauesque reference to grand classical forms: pavillion form, arched openings underlined by projecting brick coping, the use of turrets, use of a brick accent band to outline the building’s contour as well as the base of the small windows in the turrets,
- the elegance of its original exterior materials: masonry walls, brick accents, decorative details in wood, multi-paned windows, wooden doors and trim,
- the high quality craftsmanship of the building’s masonry,
- all early fabric and finishes inside the station, in particular surviving original materials in the stairwell and materials remaining from 1920s additions such as those in the washrooms, the integrity of early picture mouldings, wall surfaces, and furnishings such as benches and radiators,
- continued legibility of the station’s original functional configuration and spatial volumes, particularly where ceilings exhibit rounded corners reflecting their early origin,
- continued use of longstanding patterns of access and circulation,
- the overall integrity of the building’s form, plan, material, and detail including those of the 1923 and 1927 additions.