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Peterborough CPR Station

175, George Street North, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/06/10

View from the southwest of the building showing its current appearance – November 2001; OHT, 2001
View from the southwest – November 2001
Historic postcard view from the west showing the landscaped grounds of the station – c. 1915; trainweb.org, 2005
Historic postcard view from the west – c. 1915
View from the southwest showing the former passenger canopy and red-painted brick – c. 1975; trainweb.org, 2005
View from the southwest – c. 1975

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 175 George Street North, commonly known as the Peterborough CPR Station, is situated at the southwest corner of the intersection between George and Dalhousie Streets in downtown Peterborough. The one-storey brick building was constructed in 1884 to the designs of architect Thomas Charles Sorby and formerly operated as a Canadian Pacific Railway station. The exterior of the building and the scenic character of the property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement.

Heritage Value

Historic Value:
The Peterborough CPR Station is historically significant for its association with the early development of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and more specifically, the Ontario and Quebec Railway (O and QR). On March 21, 1881, after only 33 days as an incorporated entity, the CPR founded the O and QR in an attempt to establish a railway network that would link the heavily populated communities of Ontario and Quebec with the relatively unpopulated Western Canadian provinces. Within its first three years of operations, the O and QR executed a program of buying and leasing railways and secured access to both the Atlantic seaports and the industrial heartland of Ontario. To complete its Eastern Canadian network of railways, the O and QR needed only to build a rail line between Toronto and Perth. This span was routed through Peterborough, and upon its completion it was leased by the O and QR to the CPR for a term of 999 years. The plans for the station at Peterborough were first communicated by the CPR to Peterborough Town Council in March 1884, and by May of the same year, the design for the station had been completed. The station opened on October 29, 1884 and remained in operation as a passenger train station until service was ended in January 1990. The station stands as one of the earliest CPR stations in all of Canada still situated on its original site.

Architectural Value:
The Peterborough Station is architecturally significant as an early CPR station that has evolved in shape and character to maintain active and functional railway use. The single-storey station was designed by Thomas Charles Sorby and its most recognizable characteristic is its contrasting light brick and red mortar. In the 1889 Directory of Peterborough, the station was described as “one of the handsomest station buildings on the line,” and further documentation reported that the interior was “very fine, with ample waiting room and accommodation for baggage.” Since the time when it was first constructed in 1884, the station has been impacted by a number of renovations including an addition to the north side in 1919 to accommodate indoor plumbing and an addition to the east end circa 1940. The overall exterior character of the building has not been significantly impacted, however, and the station’s most charming features, such as its fish-scale gables and art glass windows, continue to make it a much admired architectural resource.

Contextual Value:
Located along the railway line at the southwest corner of George and Dalhousie Streets, the CPR Station stands at the fringe of Peterborough’s downtown. Despite its slight separation from the community’s urban core, the station is settled near the historic neighbourhoods of Dalhousie and Wolfe Streets, only four blocks south of the city’s most recognizable heritage feature, the Market Hall and Clock Tower (1889). The CPR Station is the only train station building that remains in Peterborough.

Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust

Character-Defining Elements

Character Defining elements that contribute to the historical value of the Peterborough CPR Station include:
- Its association with the development of the CPR and O and QR
- Its association with the era of railway amalgamations in the 1880s
- Its existence as one of the earliest CPR stations in Canada still located on its original site

Exterior features that contribute to the architectural value of the Peterborough CPR Station include:
- The cream-coloured brick construction of the original section of the station laid in Flemish bond coursing with tuck pointing in red putty and mortar
- The similarity of the eastern and northern additions in style and design to the original section of the station (the northern addition, however, is composed of red brick instead of yellow brick)
- The raised stone base that envelopes the building and provides a strong vertical separation of its materials
- The wide variety of windows shapes and sizes, with the majority being paired casements topped by four-paned art glass transoms
- The window openings which extend upward from the top of the stone base and are capped by simple stone lintels
- The heavily-glazed operator’s bay that projects from the south elevation of the original section of the station and contains a shed roof
- The low hipped roof which is accented on all four elevations by gabled pediments and is punctuated at the east end by a single brick chimney
- The gables on the east, west, and south elevations, each of which contains a bracketed wooden cornice, four louvered vents, and tympanum clad with fish-scale shingles

Characteristics that contribute to the contextual value of the Peterborough CPR Station include:
- Its positioning on the north side of the railway line with a passenger platform separating the building from the tracks
- Its location at the fringe of Peterborough’s urban core
- Its existence as Peterborough’s only remaining railway station




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1990/01/01 to 1990/01/01
1998/01/01 to 1998/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

Thomas Charles Sorby



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files
Ontario Heritage Trust
10 Adelaide Street East
Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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