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Pictou Railway Station (Intercolonial) National Historic Site of Canada

Front Street, Pictou, Nova Scotia, B0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1976/06/01

Corner view of the façade of the Pictou Railway Station (Intercolonial) showing the main entrance, 1985.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1985.
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Other Name(s)

Pictou Railway Station (Intercolonial) National Historic Site of Canada
Pictou Railway Station (Intercolonial)
Gare de l'Intercolonial à Pictou

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Pictou Railway Station (Intercolonial) National Historic Site of Canada is a former passenger terminal located in the town of Pictou, Nova Scotia. It is a rectangular, two-storey brick building displaying elements of the Chateau style. Detailing includes ornate stonework, Elizabethan gables and a Palladian window in the main bay. A projecting canopy runs the length of the building on both the platform and street-facing elevations. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot.

Heritage Value

Pictou Railway Station was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1976 because it is a company designed station, built in 1904, to replace the 1867 terminus that was built for the Intercolonial Railway, a government line, which forged a link between the Maritime provinces and central Canada.

Pictou Railway Station is associated with the early 20th century expansion and updating of the Intercolonial Railway prior to its incorporation into the Canadian National Railways. The period was one of growth and prosperity for the Intercolonial Railway reflecting a general economic upturn and increased government budgets. The Pictou line serviced the Pictou port facilities, which contained the railhead for traffic bound for Prince Edward Island. Passenger service was discontinued in 1963. The former Pictou Station suffered fire damage in 1996 that has since been repaired. The ground floor now houses a museum, a youth centre and community activity offices.

The heritage value of this site resides in those elements of the building that illustrate its original construction as a “Class One” Intercolonial Railway terminal, notably the surviving design, materials and decoration.

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

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the waterfront setting;
- those elements illustrating the “Class-One” Intercolonial Railway design, including:
- the rectangular, two-storey massing under a gabled roof;
- the brick exterior facing;
- the exterior’s suggestion of Chateau-style detailing with projecting central pavilions, and gables;
- the remaining Elizabethan-style gables on the waterfront façade;
- the original placement of doors and windows, with the use of arched and Palladian windows at the second storey level and surviving original openings at ground level;
- the use of a projecting canopy running the length of the building on both the platform and the street-facing elevations;
- surviving original interior materials and finishes.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer



Alexander McDonald

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




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