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Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station

101 Shakespeare Street, Stratford, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/11/01

General view of the northwest elevation of the Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station, 1992.; Glenn J. Lockwood, 1992.
General view
General view of the southeast elevation of the Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station, 1992.; Glenn J. Lockwood, 1992.
General view
General view of the northeast elevation of the Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station, 1992.; Glenn J. Lockwood, 1992.
General view

Other Name(s)

Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station
VIA Rail - Former Canadian National Railway Station
VIA Rail (anciennement Canadien National), gare ferroviaire de

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station at Stratford is comprised of two buildings built in 1913: a two-storey, brick-clad, railway station, and a one-storey express building which are linked by an overhead canopy. It is located on a residential street in the City of Stratford, Ontario. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building and the express building linked by an overhead canopy.

Heritage Value

The Former Canadian National Railways (CNR) (VIA Rail) Station at Stratford reflects the turn-of-the-century prosperity of the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) and the pre-eminence of the GTR in the lucrative, south-western Ontario region. The construction of a new, divisional-point station brought tremendous economic benefits to the local economy, and assisted the cultural development of the city, which gave the former hamlet a county seat. Upon the demise of the Grand Trunk Railway, Canadian National Railways became the owner of the train station, which in 1986 was purchased by VIA Rail to be shared with Gray Coach Lines

The Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station at Stratford is a good example of pre-World War I design trends in its use of large windows between thin piers, its textural treatment of materials and its vestiges of historical revivalism.

The station retains key elements of its site including the station garden, the adjacent Station Park, the rail yards; the round house, nearby repair shops and urban structures. Its location on a rise of land above the street reinforces its imposing presence. The station was designated a local heritage structure in 1988.

Sources: Heritage Character Statement, VIA Rail/Canadian National Railways Station, Stratford, Ontario, March 1994; Glenn J. Lockwood, Railway Station Report 200, Former Canadian National Railways Station/now VIA Rail, Stratford, Ontario.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Former Canadian National Railways (VIA Rail) Station at Stratford include:
- its imposing massing, consisting of a two-storey main block, capped by a broad-planed, hipped roof, and linked by an overhead canopy to a one-storey, express building with a hipped roof;
- the grand scale of the main block, consisting of 13 bays along each of the track (south) and street (north) elevations and three bays along the exposed end;
- the use of symmetrical, stepped planes to create a sense of monumentality, evident in: the stepped façades culminating in central two-storey, projecting, gable roof bays on both track and street façades; the platform canopy which follows the stepped plane of the façades; and the hipped roof with central, intersecting gables that repeat the pattern of stepping;
- the features typical of early 20th century railway stations, including: hipped roofs; a rectangular plan; a projecting operator’s bay centrally located on the track side; and a platform canopy with deep eaves that surrounds three sides of the station and links the station and express buildings;
- the vestiges of late 19th century historical revivalism evident in: the trackside gable with three blind arches over the operator’s bay; the use of rock-faced stone along the base to the height of the window sill; the long, sweeping hipped roofs and broad roof planes; the deep overhanging eaves of the canopy; and the deeply recessed windows and doors;
- its clean and simple detailing, including: exposed rafter ends on the roofs and under the canopy; and stone detailing at the base and sills of the windows and doors;
- its generously sized, simply paned windows set between narrow brick piers, reminiscent of contemporary trends in commercial design;
- its masonry, including: unusually large, vitrified, brown, clay bricks typical of GTR buildings in the area; and a rock-faced, purple granite base;
- the brick chimneys at either end of the main block;
- the surviving original window units, consisting of one-over-one-over-one sashes with built-in, pulley-raising mechanisms;
- the surviving original exterior doors and window trims;
- the surviving original interior features and finishes, including: the window and door trim; doors; the main floor ceiling; and elements of the express office;
-the surviving oak bench that remains in the lobby.




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

Function - Category and Type



Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

Chief Engineer, Grand Trunk Railway



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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