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Peace River N.A.R. Station

Peace River

Other Names:
Northern Alberta Railway Station
Old CN Rail Station
Old CN Station
Peace River Rail Station

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Peace River Northern Alberta Railway (N.A.R.) Station is an early twentieth-century, wood-frame building situated on a single block north of Peace River's central business district. It consists of a one-and-a-half storey passenger and operations building with an attached one-storey freight shed, each with bell-cast roofs.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Peace River N.A.R. Station lies in its association with the construction of railway lines in northern Alberta during the 1910s, and in the high integrity and modern day rarity of its architectural design.

The transportation network in northern Alberta developed rapidly between 1912 and 1916. Eager to open the northern reaches of the province to settlement and commerce, the Government of Alberta incorporated three railway companies to provide rail service in the Peace Country. In 1916, one of these companies, the Central Canada Railway Corporation (C.C.R.C.), completed a line connecting Peace River Crossing with the Edmonton Dunvegan and British Columbia railway at McLennan. The Peace River railway station was built in the same year to serve this line.

The arrival of the railway in Peace River marked the final link joining the Peace Country to Edmonton and the national rail network. The Peace River N.A.R. Station was the entry point for thousands of settlers into northern Alberta and connected them to another vital transportation system, the riverboats that carried people and commerce up and down the big river. During the 1920s, this newly-developed network spurred the growth of agricultural settlement and economic development in Alberta's north.

The Peace River station exemplifies the simple, utilitarian architecture common to so many railway buildings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Based on a standard design used throughout Alberta, the station includes a warehouse for freight, a waiting room for passengers, office space, and living quarters for the station agent. It is one of the few one-and-a-half storey railway stations remaining in Alberta and is a rare and remarkably well-preserved building from of the era of railway expansion in Alberta's north during the 1910s. Its historical legacy and architectural integrity make the station a significant landmark in the Peace Country.

Source: Alberta Culture & Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 957)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Peace River N.A.R. Station include such features as:
- form, scale and symmetrical massing;
- extended bell-cast roof with cross gables and chimney;
- wide eaves and eave brackets;
- all-wooden exterior finishing, including the shingles on the roof and drop siding on the walls;
- fenestration pattern and style, including the six-over-one single-hung sash windows with same pattern storm windows, the four-over-one sashes and storm windows on both sides of the northeast bay, and the 10-pane fixed windows on the southeast elevation of the freight shed;
- bay windows on the conductor's office;
- exterior door patterns, style and locations;
- re-created ladder hanging on the southeast elevation;
- re-created wooden platform around the building;
- largely restored floor plan layout on the main level;
- wood floors, wainscotings, and original interior doors; and
- unfinished wood flooring in the freight shed.


Street Address: 9409 - 100 Street
Community: Peace River
Boundaries: Portion of Lot 8 in Peace River Landing Settlement
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5 (ptn.)

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

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
56.238753 -117.291232 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1988/04/29

Historical Information

Built: 1916 to 1916
Period of Significance: 1916 to 1929
Theme(s): Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Transport - Rail : Station or Other Rail Facility
Current Function(s): Leisure : Historic or Interpretive Site

The Peace River Railway station was one of many built during the period of railway development in Northern Alberta between 1912 and 1916. It was built by the Central Canada Railway Company which was one of three railways incorporated at the initiative of the Provincial Government in order to develop Northern Alberta. These three railways prior to 1920 were under the control of J.D. McArthur, a Winnipeg-based railway contractor and entrepreneur. In 1916 J.D. McArthur 's Central Canada Railway Company completed a line to Peace River Crossing, from its connection with his Edmonton, Dunvegan and B.C. Railway at McLennan. This completed the linking by rail of all three major points in the Peace River Country - Spirit River - Grande Prairie - and Peace River - with the City of Edmonton, and laid the basis for a period of rapid growth in agricultural settlement and economic development that was to follow in the 1920s.

Peace River was originally established as a fur trade post by the Hudson's Bay Company (H.B.C.) in 1877. It did not begin to emerge, however, as the dominant urban center in the region until 1910. By 1915 on the eve of the arrival of the railway, it had a population of 700 along with various commercial establishments, branches of the Bank of Commerce and the Royal Band and a detachment of the Royal North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.). It was also the base of operations for a number of riverboats which operated as far south as Beaver Landing on the Smoky River and as far north as the McKenzie. The arrival of the railway further added to Peace River's important role in northern transportation.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0575
Designation File: DES 0957
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 46804
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. 957)
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