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Lethbridge C.P.R. Station


Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Lethbridge Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station is a primarily two-storey rectangular building with an off-centre octagonal tower, brick and wood exterior and large overhanging eaves. It was constructed in 1905-1906. It is located at 801-1st Avenue South in Lethbridge.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Lethbridge Canadian Pacific Railway Station lies is its association with the coal mining industry and the importance of railroads in the development of Lethbridge as the major urban centre in southern Alberta. While the interior of the building has been significantly altered, the exterior remains largely intact and is a good example of CPR station architecture.

Historically the Lethbridge CPR Station is associated with Alberta's coal-mining heritage, an industry that had great impact upon the development of that city. It also serves to demonstrate the impact railways, particularly the CPR, had on the development of Alberta's urban areas. In 1895, in order to exploit coal deposits in the area, a branch line connected Lethbridge, then called Coalbanks, to the main CPR line. After this connection had been made, the population of the Lethbridge area began to increase and Lethbridge began to eclipse Fort Macleod as the major urban centre in southern Alberta. In 1898, the branch line was extended into the Crowsnest Pass, giving the CPR access to the larger coal deposits located there. This development further solidified Lethbridge as an important centre. This importance was confirmed in 1905, when the CPR named it as a divisional point and relocated most of its southern Alberta operations here from Fort Macleod. The grounds around the station once featured other structures characteristic of a divisional point of this importance, such as outbuildings and a roundhouse. After receiving the designation of divisional point, the population of Lethbridge expanded rapidly and the community soon became one of Alberta's leading cities.

Architecturally the Lethbridge CPR station's exterior is a good example of that company's urban stations in western Canada. The CPR, like many railway companies, used a series of standardized designs for many of its railway stations. One common theme was for the relative importance of the centre served to be reflected in the size of the station. Lethbridge, being the main divisional point on the Crowsnest line, was given a design that reflected this importance. There are three other large urban CPR stations remaining in Alberta that exhibit similar characteristics: Medicine Hat (1906), Strathcona (1907), and Red Deer (1910). The Lethbridge station is a 10.4 metre by 82.3 metre structure, of which approximately 42.7 metres has two storeys. The building's most distinctive feature is its slightly off-centre octagonal tower with conical roof. The station is a wood frame structure with a brick veneer, supported by a sandstone foundation. The building exhibits a long roof line with projecting eaves, supported by large decorative brackets. The second storey features six hipped-roof dormer double windows. The ground floor and the tower are faced with brick and the second floor with wood siding. Despite changes in use over the years the Lethbridge CPR station remains a good example of early twentieth century CPR station design.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 861)

Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the site's heritage value include its:
- scale, form, and massing;
- exterior design elements that reflect standardized CPR railway station plans;
- balanced composition of design elements across the entire building and uniform rhythm of structural openings including the window patterns;
- octagonal tower with conical roof;
- hipped roof with large overhanging eaves supported by exposed wooden brackets;
- long roofline with cedar shingle roofing;
- fenestration pattern of bay windows on lower storey of the tower, rectangular windows throughout the building and dormer windows on upper storey;
- exterior walls clad in red brick on the ground floor and wood siding on the upper storey;
- sandstone foundation;
- east-west orientation reflects direction of CPR rail line through Lethbridge.


Street Address: 801 - 1 Avenue South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Lot 1, Block 4, Plan 8610142
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.698380 -112.836037 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1987/05/04

Historical Information

Built: 1905 to 1906
Period of Significance: N/A
Theme(s): Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Transport - Rail : Station or Other Rail Facility
Current Function(s):
Context: N/A

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0488
Designation File: DES 0861
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 16494
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 861)
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