Windsor Station (Montreal)

Windsor Station (Montreal)

Windsor Station
Gare Windsor
Windsor Station in 2006
General information
Type Office building, and formerly train station and Metro station
Architectural style Richardsonian Romanesque
Location Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Address 1160 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal (Formerly 1160 De la Gauchetière Street) (concourse),
1100 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal (offices)
Construction started 1887
Completed 1889, 1916
Cost CA$ 2,000,000 (1888-89)
Owner Cadillac Fairview[1]
Design and construction
Architect Bruce Price
Awards and prizes Heritage railway station (Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada)

Windsor Station (French: Gare Windsor) is a former railway station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, formerly serving as the city's Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) station. It also served as the headquarters of CPR from 1889 to 1996. It is bordered by Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal to the north, Peel Street to the east, Saint Antoine Street to the south and the Bell Centre to the west.

Windsor Station was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1975,[2] and was also designated a Heritage Railway Station in 1990,[3] and a provincial historic monument in 2009.[4]

The walls are gray limestone from a quarry in Montreal. Outside, the columns reach up to 7 feet (2.1 m) wide.


Windsor Station circa 1900

In 1887, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) began to build a railway station in Montreal, which would serve as its headquarters, three years after the completion of the Dalhousie Station in 1884. The Windsor Station project was entrusted to New York architect Bruce Price, who would choose a Romanesque Revival style for the building.[5] Price had to submit four versions of his plans to satisfy the treasurer of CPR, before the project was accepted. It was constructed at a cost of $300,000 CAD,[6] and the first trains departed February 4, 1889.[7] It was originally known as the Windsor Street Station, named for the street on which it was located, Windsor Street (today Peel Street).[8]

It was expanded for the first time from 1900 to 1903 and again ten years later, from 1910 to 1913 by Canadian architects. The third expansion, in 1916, included a fifteen-story tower which dramatically altered Montreal's skyline. The project was entrusted to the firm of brothers Edward and William Maxwell.

Windsor Station formed an integral component of Dominion Square as a diffuser of passenger traffic and as a central terminus for other modes of transportation. The building skirted Windsor Street (today Peel Street) and Osborne Street (today Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal) between Donegani (located halfway between Osborne Street and Saint Antoine Street). The building had four floors up to Osborne Street and five floors at street-level on Donegani Street because of the slope of the terrain.

In July 1970, CPR announced its plans to demolish Windsor Station and build a 60-storey office building on the site. The building, which was going to cost C$250 million, was to be designed by the same architects as New York City's World Trade Center. After several delays the project was eventually abandoned.[9]

Via Rail was created in 1978 and took over the responsibility for operating intercity passenger trains of both CN and CPR. During Via's first months there was no operational change for CPR or CN trains, as they used their respective crews, routes, equipment and stations. However, by the summer of 1979, the integration process began, and most of Via's former CP trains that used Windsor Station were consolidated at CN's Central Station, including CP's former transcontinental passenger services such as The Atlantic Limited and The Canadian, both of which were also renamed to be bilingually appropriate. Via Dayliners (Budd Rail Diesel Cars) operating between Windsor Station and St. Sacrement station in Quebec City via the CP route north of the St. Lawrence River continued to use Windsor Station until 1984. Amtrak's daily Montreal-New York City train (The Adirondack) continued to use Windsor Station until 1986. Both the dayliners and The Adirondack were switched to Central Station. Local services to Ottawa via Montebello and to Mont-Laurier, both of which had been transferred from CPR to Via, continued to use Windsor Station until they were cancelled in 1981.

Entrance to Windsor Station in 2008

After intercity passenger service was removed, Windsor Station continued to be a commuter rail terminal for the STCUM's (now the AMT's) Dorion/Rigaud suburban train line.

In 1993, construction began on the Molson Centre (now Bell Centre), a hockey arena to replace the Montreal Forum. The arena site was located immediately west of Windsor Station on the trackage which served the station platforms, resulting in the historic station being severed from the rail network. The Molson Centre opened its doors on March 16, 1996, and the new Lucien-L'Allier Station was opened at the western end of the arena structure to replace the now-closed suburban train terminal at Windsor Station. Until 2001, the new train station was called Terminus Windsor, but this was changed to reduce confusion with the original station building and to indicate a link to the Lucien-L'Allier metro (subway) station which is below the station building. It is still possible to walk through the Bell Centre to connect with Windsor Station and the Lucien L'Allier metro station.

Windsor Station, and now Lucien-L'Allier Station (known officially in French as 'Terminus Lucien-L'Allier'), are at the eastern end of CPR's Westmount Subdivision. It served as CP's downtown west end train terminus. Its counterpart downtown east end terminus was Place Viger.

Windsor Station also housed the headquarters of CPR and its parent company Canadian Pacific Limited until a corporate restructuring in the mid-1990s saw the railway abandon or sell most of its trackage east of Montreal and focus its activities in Western Canada. In 1996, CP moved its headquarters to Gulf Canada Square in Calgary.

The interior of Windsor Station's main concourse June 30, 2008


Today the structure no longer is connected to the rail network and is not used by CP. Also located in the station is the Canadian Railway Office of Arbitration.

The rest of Windsor Station been redeveloped into an office and hotel complex as well as restaurants. The interior concourse, which is open to the public and connects the metro station with the commuter rail station as well as the Bell Centre, is famous for hosting an annual beer festival. The 13 terminal tracks running into Windsor Station have been removed along with the overhead canopy and now comprise a public square.

See also


External links

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