Home / Accueil

North Bay CNR Station

214, Second Avenue, North Bay, Ontario, P1B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/04/07

Track side of the station as viewed from the south-east; OHT, 2006
North Bay CNR Station – 2006
North Bay CNR Station as viewed from Second Avenue West; http://www.northbayhistory.homestead.com/Postcards/X048CNRstation.jpg
North Bay CNR Station – c. 1920
No Image

Other Name(s)

North Bay CNR Station
North Bay Canadian Northern Railway Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 214 Second Avenue West, known as the North Bay CNR Station, is situated at the head of Fraser Street in the City of North Bay. The one-storey brick building with a broad bell-cast roof was designed by architect George Briggs and constructed in 1916.

The exterior, certain elements of the interior and scenic character of the property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement.

Heritage Value

Located at the head of Fraser Street and aligned with the street's centre, the elevated North Bay CNR Station dominates this principal street in the downtown core. While the station's prominent site denotes its historical importance within the city, and serves as a focal point, at the time of the station's construction North Bay's urban pattern of development had been established, limiting the station's influence upon this pattern. Construction of the CNR station on a raised grade within North Bay's established street grid did necessitate the closure of Fraser Street however. To mitigate this interruption a pedestrian underpass was incorporated at the western end of the structure and remains in use today. Accommodation of the rail line through the established downtown core recalls the community's desire in the early 20th century to increase its status as one of the province's most important railway hubs.

The North Bay CNR Station is historically significant for its association with the development of North Bay as a major railway hub. Completed by the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) in 1916, a year after it extended its trans-national line through the city, this station represents the fourth railway to be established in North Bay. Although North Bay was already considered to be an important railway hub due to the Canadian Pacific Railway's extensive facilities, as well as the presence of the Grand Trunk and the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railways, the arrival of the CNoR solidified this status. Inclusion of North Bay as part of the CNoR's route recalls the community's importance as the transportation centre of the resource rich region. As evidence of the CNoR's confidence in the importance and future of North Bay, the typically frugal company built this sophisticated station despite the company's relatively minimal operations in the town. After the CNoR's demise in 1919, the station became the property of the Canadian National Railway (CNR). The station functioned as a union facility from 1921 until 1990 with the Ontario Northland Railway (the former Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway) sharing the facility with the CNR during this period, and with VIA Rail from 1986 to 1990.

The North Bay CNR Station is architecturally significant as an example of a high quality, custom designed station of the CNoR. Designed in 1914 by CNoR architect, George Briggs, Supervisor of Buildings for the company's Eastern division, and completed in 1916, the North Bay station is a notable exception to the frugality which tended to characterize the practices of the company. While displaying the predictable bell-cast roof with bracketed eaves emblematic of most period railway stations, the non-standard design incorporates elegant interior elements within a brick clad and stone detailed exterior. Contrasting with the stylistically undefined and understated exterior, the interior is influenced by the Beaux Arts tradition. Marking the waiting room area are Tuscan columns supporting a heavily coffered and coved plaster ceiling, once adorned with chandeliers. The substantial space of the interior originally allowed for a separate ladies waiting room and gentleman's smoking room in addition to the main waiting room and a variety of service rooms. Four exterior doorways once facilitated efficient passenger movement between the front of the station and the tracks through both the waiting room area and the separate ticket lobby. The exterior of the station is distinguished by a porte-cochere, large semi-circular windows and a decorative front parapet, once displaying the logos of the station's successive owners but now covered. Keystones above each window and doorway arch are a subtle reference to the tradition of classical architecture.

Source: OHT Easement Files

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the North Bay CNR Station include its:
- association with the Canadian Northern Railway, Canadian National Railway, Grand Trunk Railway, Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, Ontario Northland Railway and VIA Rail
- incorporation of the Canadian National Railway logo within the parapet (currently concealed)
- long, rectangular, one-storey plan with seven bays along its length and two bays along its width
- partially exposed basement with pedestrian underpass
- broad hipped roof with overhanging, bell-cast eaves
- triangular timber eave braces with stone abutments
- brick construction and red, pressed brick cladding in common bond
- board-formed concrete and coursed stone foundation
- stone detailing as found in the keystones and brace abutments
- segmental arched and semi-circular windows
- multiple (four) doorways at the first storey and (two) at the basement level
- north elevation bay window marking the agent's office
- parapet above the roofline containing the logo of the CNR
- south elevation porte-cochere
- deeply coffered and coved, crossbeam, plaster ceiling supported by Tuscan columns
- situation at the former location of the CNR's tracks
- position at the head of Fraser Street and its alignment with the centre of the street
- concrete retaining wall extending out from the underpass on the station's south (front) elevation
- elevated situation on a raised grade




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

2003/01/01 to 2003/01/01
1919/01/01 to 1993/01/01
1996/01/01 to 1996/01/01
1914/01/01 to 1914/01/01
1916/01/01 to 1990/01/01

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

George Briggs



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




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places