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Grand Trunk Railway Station

5, James, Town of St. Marys, Ontario, N4X, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/10/13

Of note is the hip roof, and the location of the tracks in front of the building.; Gord Strathdee, 2007.
South elevation, Grand Trunk Railway Station, 2007
Of note is the central frontispiece and gable.; Martina Braunstein, 2007.
Facade, Grand Trunk Railway Station, 2007
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Other Name(s)

Grand Trunk Railway Station
5 James Street North
VIA Rail Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/12/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Grand Trunk Railway Station, located at 5 James Street North, is on the northeast corner of James and Queen Streets near downtown St. Marys. The one storey glazed brick building was constructed in 1907.

The property was designated by the Town of St. Marys in 1987 for its heritage value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 33-1987).

Heritage Value

Situated at the intersection of James and Queen Streets, the Grand Trunk Railway Station's central location continues to provide easy access to St. Mary's historic downtown, just west of the Station. The building overlooks the valley of Trout Creek, a tributary of the Thames River. Directly south of the station is the historic water tower which acts as a St. Marys landmark to those entering by road or by rail. To the north is one of two long trestle bridges, constructed in 1858 by the Grand Trunk Railway, to cross the river valleys. The bridge's impressive limestone pillars still support the live rail line through St. Marys.

The Grand Trunk Railway Station has significant associations with the growth and development of the Town of St. Marys. St. Marys had a prime location on the main Toronto to Sarnia line of the Grand Trunk Railway and news of a stop coming to St. Marys and the potential for this to bring prosperity to the village was greeted with excitement. However, when the first stop, Junction Station, was built in 1858, residents were frustrated with its location at the far northeast village limits, one-and-a-half-kilometres from the business centre. Residents attempted to bring rail competition to the town in order to have a more convenient station and in 1879 the Grand Trunk yielded to the pressure and allowed all trains to stop closer to the town centre at a station called the “Switch,” a less than satisfactory facility located on what is now Elizabeth Street between King and James Streets. In 1907, after almost 30 years of pressure to have an adequate passenger depot built, construction on a new, state of the art station began. This station, constructed by E. Chandler, continues to serve as a VIA Rail station today and is also the town's Tourism office.

The Grand Trunk Railway Station is a fine example of an Ontario railway depot built in the early 20th century. The building is constructed with logan block, a glazed brick with a brownish tint, which contrasts with the St. Marys limestone vernacular. Typical of Ontario railway depots, the station features a layered hip roof with decorative bargeboard trim. Also of note is the frontispiece with a central gable on the facade.

Source: Town of St. Marys, By-law 33-1987.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Grand Trunk Railway Station include its:
-central location within the town
-view of historic downtown
-proximity to railway trestle bridge
-proximity to the Water Tower
-one storey logan brick construction
-layered hip roof
-semi-circular frontispiece featuring a central, double sash window with a fan light and hood complimented by a double sash windows on each side
-central gable on frontispiece featuring one triple sash window and corner brackets
-facade entranceway with decorative fanlight
-tall glazed brick chimney on facade
-two entranceways with transoms on the south elevation
-simple double sash windows on facade and south elevation




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer



E. Chandler

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of St. Marys P.O. Box 998 175 Queen St. East St. Marys, Ontario N4X 1B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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