Home / Accueil

Canadian National Railway Station

170 Front Street S., Orillia, Ontario, L3V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/11/01

Corner view of the Canadian National Railway Station, showing both the front and side façades.; Heritage Research Associates, M. Carter, 1993.
Front elevation
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)

Canadian National Railway Station
Orillia Gray Coach Terminal
Orillia Gray Coach Terminal
Grand Trunk Railway Station
Grand Trunk Railway Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Canadian National Railway Station was built by the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in 1917. It is a single storey brown brick building with a distinctive roofline situated at 170 Front St. South between the lake and the centre of town. Today it serves the community as an office facility and a multi-faceted transportation centre.

Heritage Value

The Canadian National Railway Station has been designated a heritage railway station because of its historical, architectural, and environmental importance.

The Canadian National Railway Station was a replacement station built in 1917 to serve not only the town but nearby Camp Borden. During both World Wars it provided a vital transportation and communication link bringing men and materiel from all across the country. Orillia was a tourist destination of long standing, and the GTR’s Chief Engineering office, which produced an exceptionally fine design for what was a high profile station. This station encapsulates many features of turn-of-the-century architecture such as the late-Victorian polychromatic and textural handling of materials, the steep and picturesquely massed roof while using fireproof materials. It sits on the site of its predecessor.

The heritage value of the Canadian National Railway Station resides in its integrity. It lies in the station’s overall massing and picturesque roofline, in the quality of its exterior detailing and finish, its surviving original interior features and plan, and in the station’s site and setting.

Heritage Character Statement, former Grand Trunk Railway Station, Orillia Ontario, August 1994. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-203, 1993.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Orillia Canadian National Railway Station include:

- its irregular rectangular footprint, simple single storey massing under a low-pitched hipped roof with balanced projections with lower rooflines of similar pitch on all four facades,
- the station’s balanced overall proportions,
- the prominence and complexity of its roof definition from all four perspectives (lower level but similar rooflines of extending porte-cocheres on 3 sides, the telegrapher’s bay on the fourth),
- the smooth aesthetic integration of special railway features such as a projecting telegrapher’s bay, and porte cocheres to accommodate the movement of crowds,
- the balance inherent in the station’s vertical definition,
- the rhythmic longstanding size and placement of its apertures and brackets,
- the picturesque inspiration of its details: layered roof forms, porte-cocheres, exposed rafter ends, brackets, pillars, carved main entrance pillars,
- the varying textures and colours of its original materials: the rock-faced masonry base of walls and pillars, smooth red brick with fine red mortar joints on upper walls, wood detailing, shaped roof shingle, multi-paned windows, panelled doors,
- the craftsmanship evident in their composition,
- their fireproof nature,
- the station’s platform frame construction technology,
- all original fabric and furnishings inside the station, in particular stucco and burlap dado wall surfaces, the surviving portion the waiting room arcade, ticket office and operator's furnishings,
- period railway objects that form part of the station’s décor,
- continued legibility of the station’s original functional and spatial configuration through the exterior placement of doors and windows,
- continued legibility of the station’s early spatial volumes, functional use of spaces, particularly original volume of the waiting room, the former ticket office and operator's room,
- the continuity of longstanding circulation patterns.




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

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer




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




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places