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Canadian Pacific Railway Station

800 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/04/05

CPR Station, exterior view, ND; New Westminster Public Libarary, NWPL 1273
oblique view
CPR Station, exterior view, 2004; City of New Westminster, 2004
front elevation
CPR Station, exterior view, ND; New Westminster Public Library, NWPL 1129
side view

Other Name(s)

CPR Station
Canadian Pacific Railway Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station is a late Victorian two-storey asymmetrical red brick and sandstone clad building with steeply-pitched hipped bellcast roofs. It is situated on a corner lot adjacent to the former BCER (B.C. Electric Railway) Station, on the south side of Columbia Street, the main commercial street in New Westminster's historic downtown core. The site has additional frontages at the rear facing Front Street, and at the side on Eighth Street, which has now been closed and paved as a plaza. It is a landmark structure that is visible on all sides and marks the western point of entry to the downtown area.

Heritage Value

The Canadian Pacific Railway Station is of architectural significance as a fine example of the CPR's signature Chateau style. This style was consistently employed for the company's stations and hotels and was characterized by steeply pitched roofs, tall chimneys and picturesque silhouette. The location of this building, adjacent to the British Columbia Electric Railway station and the working waterfront of the Fraser River, demonstrates the historic role of New Westminster as a regional transportation nexus. The station was designed by architect Edward Maxwell (1867-1923). Maxwell, and his brother William S., with whom he formed a partnership in 1902, were the only Canadian-born architects employed regularly by the CPR. In British Columbia, Edward Maxwell designed additions to the CPR's Glacier Hotel, a hotel and station at Sicamous Junction as well as this station in New Westminster. The Maxwells were among the most successful and accomplished architects in Canada in the early decades of the twentieth century, and in addition to their numerous works for the CPR, they undertook major commissions for corporate clients such as Henry Birks and Sons, and the Bell Telephone Company, and institutional projects such as the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. As the population increased, the station was enlarged in 1911 with two flanking wings, this time designed by prominent local architects Gardiner and Mercer.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Station is directly associated with the development of downtown New Westminster. In 1886, the CPR extended a spur line to New Westminster, sparking a boom in local development. After the devastation of the Great Fire of 1898, the downtown was rebuilt immediately and continued to develop during the great western Canadian economic boom that preceded the First World War. After the Fire destroyed their original 1887 wooden station and sheds, the CPR immediately rebuilt in 1899, this time in fireproof materials. The Canadian Pacific Railway Station remains as a symbol of the importance of rail transport for movement of people and goods in the formative years of New Westminster and the province. Prior to the current highway network that connects the province, the railways of the CPR and other companies offered the primary method of transportation over land for medium and long distances.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Canadian Pacific Railway Station include its:
- location with frontages on Columbia Street, Front Street, and Eighth Street (which has now been closed and paved as a plaza), part of a grouping of late Victorian and Edwardian era commercial buildings in historic downtown New Westminster
- spatial relationship to the BCER Station across Eighth Street
- asymmetrical, picturesque form, two-storey scale, and cubic massing, double-height gable at front entry with stone coping and brackets, and polygonal turrets facing the original track side of the building
- steeply-pitched bellcast hipped roofs, including polygonal tower roofs
- masonry construction and detailing, including red brick walls and rough-dressed sandstone foundation and trim
- exterior detailing such as corbelled brick and stone course at the roof-line, stone quoining and window surrounds
- original fenestration, including wooden-sash casement windows with transoms
- original interior features such as wooden wainscoting and wooden trim



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1910/01/01 to 1911/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

Edward Maxwell



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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