Canadian Northern Railway Station

In 1919 the Canadian Northern Station building was completed on newly created land where the False Creek Flats had been a few years earlier – tidal mud flats reaching almost to Clark Drive and described as ‘a great lagoon of water edged with green overhanging forest’. Pratt and Ross of Winnipeg had been hired to design the station, which had taken two years to complete.

Some of the fill for the Flats had come from digging the ‘Grandview Cut’ to allow trains to come into the new station. Because it was built on filled land the station was constructed on a raft of pre-cast concrete piles. Final details were settled after construction had started, and in April 1916 it was announced “Mr. M. H. MacLeod, general manager of the Canadian Northern Railway, has completed arrangements for the west coast terminal facilities of the railway, and a million dollar station at Vancouver will be commenced in a few weeks.” The Great Northern Railway were building their station alongside, to the north. In 1924 when this image was taken the CN station had been operating for around 5 years, and was now the Canadian National station – the two railways having merged in 1923.

In 2008 it didn’t look very different, apart from the 1950s ‘Pacific Central’ neon on top. $5.1m seismic and stone repairs have recently been completed on the building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives PAN N101 (part)



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