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Key Number: HS 20200
Site Name: CNo Train Station
Other Names:
Site Type: 0803 - Transportation - Rail Facility: Station


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
47 20 4

Address: 4205 - 48 Avenue
Number: 5
Street: 42
Avenue: 48
Town: Camrose
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape: Rectangular
Storeys: Storeys: 1
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Medium Gable
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Roof Trim - Eaves: Plain Fascia
Roof Trim - Eaves: Brackets
Dormer Type: Gable
Dormer Type: Gable, Returned Eaves
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Exterior: Gable dormer, gable with return, pediment, gable with overhang and bracketed, brick chimney, wooden platform, pyramidal roof, fasia, architrave.
Interior: N/A
Environment: Located on east side of town.
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:

Usage: Usage Date:
Railway Station

Owner: Owner Date:

Architect: N/A
Builder: Canadian Northern
Craftsman: N/A
History: Another address in Des File is 4407 - 47 Avenue
* * *
Built by Canadian Northern but went broke and Canadian National took it over. One of three original train stations in Camrose. By 1914 Camrose was served by the three great Canadian Transcontinental Railway Systems (CPP, CNR, GTP) up to 12 passenger trains through the town daily.

* * *

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: In the spring of 1909, Premier Alexander Rutherford committed his government to a program of vast bond guarantees to assist railways to develop branch lines throughout Alberta. Hitherto, assistance to the major transcontinental railway companies had come from the federal government in order that they might reach the Pacific coast. Prime Minister Laurier however had made it known that, within the regions of the country, public assistance would have to be provided by the provincial governments. Taking the challenge, Rutherford ran his election campaign that spring on the theme of "Rutherford, Reliability and Railways". With his overwhelming victory at the polls, Alberta entered an era of unprecedented railway development.

One of the principal players in this was the Canadian Northern Railway (CNor) which had arrived in Edmonton via Lloydminster and Vegreville in December 1905. Among the districts the CNor now sought to tap was that area southwest from Riley to Camrose, and from Camrose southwest to Forestburg. Work on the line was begun that summer, and, by the summer of 1911, it was completed. This gave Camrose three major rail lines, for the Canadian Pacific (CP) and Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) also had lines extending there from other directions. This gave a great boost to Camrose and assured the community its eventual status as a district metropolis. Before long, no less than twelve trains were making stops there daily.

To facilitate its passenger and freight service, the CNor erected one of their standard 'Third Class' railway station along its track in Camrose at 44 Street and 47 Avenue. It was a wood frame structure, designed to pre-conceived CNor standards, and completed in the fall of 1911. Beside it stood a freight shed and other supplementary buildings. For the next few years, this station saw considerable traffic. Most of this was farm produce which was taken to the main CNor line near Vegreville, and, from there shipped east. In the meantime, the population of Camrose and the surrounding district continued to expand. Incorporated as a Town in 1906 with over 500 people, Camrose saw its population rise to over 1,500 by 1914.

Though the crop yields in western Canada were high during the war years, rail traffic did not increase, and both the CNor and GTP came to incur heavy debts due to over-extension. During 1918-19, both lines were taken over by the federal government, and soon many of the smaller branch lines were closed down. Such was the rate of business from Alliance, Forestburg and Rosalind northwest to Camrose, and from Camrose through Riley to Vegreville however, that this line remained intact. In 1918, the CNor freight shed at Camrose was extended, and, in 1937, the station itself was stuccoed and provided with electricity. Gas heating was installed in 1953, and, four years later, water and sewer lines added.

The mid 1950's however began to see a decline in rail service across western Canada. Improved highway systems would gradually make trucking services more economical for shipping farm produce, while buses would transport people and light cargo more economically as well. Canada Post also chose to ship mail to rural centres in its own vans. Many small town railway stations were closed during the 1960's and 1970's, while, in larger centres, services became much reduced. In the 1980's, the rail line between Alliance to Camrose was diverted to a new station. The original CNor station was then closed down, only to be resurrected in the early 1990's by the Canadian Northern Society and identified as a restoration project to promote the greater understanding and appreciation of the role railways played in the development of the province during the first half of the last century.

The historical significance of the Canadian Northern Railway Station at Camrose lies in its association with the development of railways in north-central Alberta during the period just prior to World War One. At the time, major lines traversed most of the countryside, Camrose itself being intersected by three main lines with twelve arrivals and departures per day. The station is also important for its role in the economic development of Camrose and its hinterland, though less so for its passenger service which was usually sparse.

The Canadian Northern Railway (C.No.R.) Station site includes a 1911, one and one-half storey train station, a 1919 section tool shed, and a 1918 watchman's shed, all situated on approximately 10 hectares of land in the east end of Camrose. The main building is a "Third Class" station constructed according to C.No.R. Plan 100-29 and features a hip roof, gable dormers, stucco exterior, a substantial baggage area extension, and a wide eave with large brackets extending along the trackside elevation. The two sheds are simple wood frame structures with red exterior walls and yellow trim.


The heritage value of the Canadian Northern Railway (C.No.R.) lies in its architectural significance as a fine example of a Third Class, Plan 100-29 railway station and in its symbolic value as an emblem of the central role of railways in opening the province to settlement and agriculture.

In 1911, the C.No.R. constructed a "Third Class" station in Camrose according to the company's Plan 100-29. Plan 100-29 was the third of four "Third Class" station designs developed for the C.No.R. by influential architect Ralph Benjamin Pratt. Each of the "Third Class" stations designed by Pratt was distinguished by its hip roof - a unique feature that immediately branded the stations as Canadian Northern constructions. The main floor of the building accommodated a waiting room and office, while the upper level contained living quarters for the stationmaster. The station also possessed a sizable, single storey wing that served as a baggage area. Initially, the building featured a shingled exterior as per C.No.R architectural plans. In 1918, the Canadian Northern Railway was amalgamated into the Canadian National Railway (C.N.R.); in 1937, the C.N.R. stuccoed the exterior - a common practice by the company to standardize the appearance of its stations, some of which it had absorbed from the defunct Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific (G.T.P.) Railway companies. The Camrose C.No.R. Station is one of the oldest surviving examples of this particular type of depot in the province. Two separate ancillary buildings - a tool shed and a workingman's shed - were moved to the site in the early 1920s; they are consistent with the types of outbuildings constructed by the C.No.R. during this period.

With the gradual disappearance of early train stations from Alberta's communities, buildings like the Camrose C.No.R. Station have gained increased historic significance as potent structural reminders of the essential role that the railways played in establishing settlement and agricultural economy in the province.

Source: Alberta Community Development, Heritage Resource Management Branch (File: Des. 1857)


The character-defining elements of the Canadian Northern Railway (C.No.R.) Station include such features as:
- mass, form, scale, and style;
- steep-pitched cedar-shingled hipped roof over main station area;
- decorative roof ridge wood cresting;
- low-pitched, cedar-shingled gable roof over baggage area with very wide, open bracketed eaves;
- corbelled chimney;
- forest green and gold colouring of trim;
- gabled wall dormers on the front and back elevations;
- fenestration pattern and style, including nine-over-one double-hung sash units;
- original door pattern and style, including standard five panel interior doors;
- floor plan;
- open layout, wall and ceiling finishes of freight room;
- original mouldings, staircases, flooring, and fixtures;
- original artifacts associated with the site.

Section Tool Shed
- mass, form, and scale;
- red exterior with yellow trim;
- door and fenestration pattern.

Watchman's Shed
- mass, form, and scale;
- red exterior with yellow trim;
- door and fenestration pattern.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
Record Information: Record Information Date:
WANG 1979/12/31


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-1074
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