Description of Historic Place
The Canadian National Railways Allandale Station at Barrie is a station complex consisting of three attached buildings of Italianate residential scale and inspiration – a passenger depot, a restaurant and an office building. These stand in a line along the track in the former Allandale sector of Barrie, separated from Kempenfeldt Bay by a public park. Their collective address is 285 Bradford St.
The Canadian National Railways Allandale Station at Barrie has been designated a heritage railway station because of its historical, architectural, and environmental significance.
Allandale’s station represents the GTR's successful attempt to increase both profits and patronage by improving its real property and customer service early in the 20th century. It was acknowledged as "flagship of the Grand Trunk" line when, in 1904-1905, an attractive extension designed by the Detroit firm of Spier and Rohns was added to the existing office building (1900). Allandale served as a vital transportation link in the north-south development of Toronto, and was a key divisional point in GTR's northern Ontario operations. In 1922, Canadian National Railways (CNR) assumed ownership and operations of the Allandale station complex, and it continued as a CNR station until the mid-1980s, then continued to be used as a passenger waiting room for VIA Rail.
An intense rivalry between the town of Allandale and the nearby community of Barrie developed as a result of the construction and successful operation of the Allandale station. While Allandale is now part of the City of Barrie, the GTR /CNR’s central role in the formation and development of the Allandale community continues to be legible in the station’s environment. The station originally stood on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay until land behind the station was in-filled to create extensive rail yards. Today, this infill has become a municipal park, restoring the station’s visual link to the water.
The Canadian National Railways Allandale Station at Barrie is a station complex consisting of a passenger depot, a restaurant and an office. These three structures sit side by side along the rail line, visually linked through their complimentary massing, uniform roof pitch, and common rail-inspired details such as broad overhanging eaves and large brackets. Together they create an atypical, visually distinctive station composition.
The heritage value of the Allandale station resides in its picturesque massing, the composition of its elevations, its residential scale, Italianate Villa detailing, and its visual, as well as symbolic, identity within the community.
Heritage Character Statement, Grand Trunk Railway Station, Allandale / Barrie, Ont., 19 December 1990. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-019, 1990.
Character-defining elements of the Canadian National Railways Allandale Station at Barrie include:
- its complex footprint as a series of three rectangles along the railway track,
- its complimentary massing in a series of three attached buildings of differing 1 and 2 storey heights and similar recessed hipped roofs,
- its modest, residential scale,
- the unified profile established by its strong, consistent roof lines,
- its asymmetrical composition as a series of rhythmic spatial volumes underlined by repetitive roof forms,
- its “end” orientation, which provides visual interest from along-the-track perspectives and is “fronted” by the semi-circular end of the passenger depot,
- the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a small telegrapher’s bay, distinctive brackets, wide overhanging eaves and covered outdoor passenger areas,
- its picturesque composition, evident in the station’s broad eaves, varied rooflines, brick plinth, stringcourse, asymmetrical frontal composition, horizontal windows with transom bars,
- the presence of Italianate villa forms in its composition, evident in its low-pitched hipped rooflines, articulated eave brackets, curved soffits, the use of "colonnades" at the south covered breezeway and restaurant porch, the second storey horizontal windows of the restaurant with detached columns reminiscent of loggias, and the original fenestration pattern of the west elevation of the restaurant,
- variation of the colours and textures of similar materials on different buildings of the complex: the red brick of the office building, the use of golden brown brick over a rough-faced granite plinth on restaurant and depot walls topped by horizontal wood clapboard, the presence of brick and wood details on all buildings,
- the station’s platform frame construction technology,
- all original fabric inside the station buildings, particularly their original woodwork including columns, baseboards, door and window casings, wainscoting, picture hook rails, and other millwork, their original decorative plaster work, especially the paired columns with brackets and the articulated ceiling beams in the dining room,
- the high quality of craftsmanship visible in such details as bevelled glass tracery on exterior windows, decorative plaster work, milled woodwork, masonry details,
- continued legibility of the separate functional role associated with each station building,
- continued legibility of the original spatial volumes and functional configurations on the interior of specific buildings, particularly the double-storey spaces of the dining hall and the south (women's) waiting room, the attic rooms, original ticket office centred between the waiting rooms, and the residential plan layout of the office building,
- the continuity of longstanding circulation patterns within each building and between and among buildings of the complex.