Description of Historic Place
The Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) station is located in its former rail yard on Foch St. It is situated on the edge of the town’s heritage district just north of Parc Marchand, across the road from the historic court house. This is a handsome, finely featured picturesque station whose size has been sympathetically doubled since it was constructed in 1887.
The CPR station in Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu has been designated a heritage railway station for its historical, architectural and environmental importance.
This station was constructed in 1887 on the CPR’s original “Short Line” between Montreal and the Altantic seaboard. It reflects CPR’s “eastern strategy” in a race to complete coast-to-coast rail service. Arrival of the CPR in Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu enhanced the town’s already impressive transportation links to other parts of the country and stimulated its manufacturing base. Over the years the station has been expanded twice, once in 1906 and again in 1950, doubling its original size.
The Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu station was one of the CPR's earliest brick station buildings without living quarters. Aspects of its basic massing and design served as a model for numerous other stations built over the succeeding decades. The handsome proportions and simple but careful detailing of the original station are not only distinctive but respectfully supported in its later additions.
Heritage value of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu CPR station resides in its long low massing, in the materials and details of its construction, and in surviving features of its interior plan and decor.
· Heritage Character Statement, Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu, Quebec, September 1995. Heritage Assessment Report RSR-245, 1994.
Character-defining elements of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu CPR Station include:
- the long rectangular footprint and 1 storey massing of the station under a shallow recessed hipped roof with bellcast ends, and a second hipped roof with the same slope covering the two eastern additions,
- its fine proportions,
- its low horizontal emphasis,
- its prominent roof definition, sloped to a consistent angle and enriched by the addition of a passenger canopy at one end,
- the rhythmic placement of its apertures and brackets,
- the smooth aesthetic integration of the 1906 and 1950s additions using consistent materials and similar forms,
- the presence of picturesque details common to railway stations of its era: broad eaves flared on the original part of the building, multiple casement windows with transoms, prominent brackets, wainscott line, eyebrow roof vent, prominent chimney stacks with decorative corbelling,
- the presence of features and feature remnants common to railway stations over the past century: a telegrapher’s bay, a place identification sign, semaphore signalling and exterior light fixture remnants,
- the varying textures of its materials: coursed rubble and cut stone lower walls contrasting with smooth brick upper walls, metal roof details, panelled wood doors, wood windows and brackets, the use of wood for trim and such feature elements as the telegrapher’s bay, fascia, soffits, and decorative panels,
- the high quality of its masonry and wood work,
- any and all original fabric on the exterior or interior of the station,
- surviving finishes and furnishings inside the early portions of the station, in particular hardwood floors, tongue and groove panelling, the waiting room bench, the baggage weigh scale,
-continued legibility of the station’s original functional configuration and spatial volumes,
- continued use of longstanding patterns of access and circulation,
- the overall integrity of the building’s form, plan, material, and detail.