Union Station (Winnipeg)

Union Station is the inter-city railway station for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It is a grand beaux-arts structure situated near The Forks in downtown Winnipeg, and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976.[1] The station is also a Heritage Railway Station, so designated since 1989.[2]

Union Station
Union Station Winnipeg - Main St entrance.jpg
The main entrance to Union Station
Location123 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 1A3
Coordinates49°53′20″N 97°08′03″W / 49.88889°N 97.13417°W / 49.88889; -97.13417Coordinates: 49°53′20″N 97°08′03″W / 49.88889°N 97.13417°W / 49.88889; -97.13417
Owned byVia Rail
ConnectionsWinnipeg Transit
Structure typeBeaux-Arts building
ParkingPrivately operated
Disabled accessYes
ArchitectWarren and Wetmore
Other information
Station codeVia Rail: WNPG
Preceding station VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg Via Rail Following station
Portage la Prairie
toward Vancouver
Canadian Elma
toward Toronto
Portage la Prairie
toward Churchill
Winnipeg–Churchill Terminus
Former services
Preceding station Northern Pacific Railway Following station
Terminus Winnipeg – St. Paul Portage Junction
toward St. Paul
Preceding station Canadian National Railway Following station
Portage la Prairie
toward Vancouver
Main Line Transcona
toward Montreal
Preceding station VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg Via Rail Following station
toward Vancouver
Super Continental Thunder Bay
toward Toronto
Official nameUnion Station / Winnipeg Railway Station (Canadian National)
Reference no.4484
View of Union Station from Broadway. (2017).


Initial ConstructionEdit

Historical photo of entrance of Union Station

Constructed between 1908 and 1911, the station was built as a joint venture between the Canadian Northern Railway, National Transcontinental, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the Dominion government.[1] The first train to enter the station did so on 7 August 1911, with the official opening the following year on 24 June 1912.[3]

Union Station was designed by Warren and Wetmore,[1] the architects responsible for Grand Central Terminal in New York City.[4] Designed in the Beaux-Arts style and constructed from local Tyndall limestone,[3] Union Station was one of Western Canada's largest railway stations.[1]

The building extends for 110 metres along Main Street, with the entrance close to the intersection of Main Street and Broadway.[5] The building's entrance doors are located under a decorative iron canopy that projects from the austere white limestone.[5] Atop the building is a large dome.


Main Street entrance as seen from rotunda
Economy passenger lounge

Union Station was for many years an important transportation hub in the region. Thousands of immigrants passed through its halls, and it was home to the regional office of the Canadian National Railway which inherited the building from its predecessors. There were once several trans-border trains to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota operating out of the station. The Great Northern Railway had its Winnipeg Limited, while the Northern Pacific Railway also had an unnamed day train. Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad had its Winnipeger, which did not serve Union Station, terminating at Canadian Pacific's station on Higgins Avenue up until its discontinuance in 1967. All of these services were discontinued prior to Amtrak and there are no present plans to reinstate any of them.

Canadian National Railway turned over passenger rail services to Via Rail in 1978, which has operated out of Union Station ever since. At present, Union Station is used by two trains - the Toronto-Vancouver Canadian, and the Winnipeg – Churchill train.

Although it is still used as a passenger train terminal, the functions of Union Station have changed with time. For instance, the terminal building contains offices occupied by non-railway tenants. The trainshed, which includes a total of eight through tracks and four passenger platforms, houses the Winnipeg Railway Museum on two tracks and two platforms. It is a variation of Bush-type shed designed by Lincoln Bush.

Union Station is one of two major inter-city railway station buildings in Downtown Winnipeg. However, unlike Union Station, the Canadian Pacific Railway Station ceased functioning as a railway station upon the creation of Via Rail Canada in 1978 and is now used for purposes unrelated to transportation.


During 2011, Via Rail undertook a $3 million renovation of the station, composed largely of repairs to the roof and trainshed, as well as various improvements to increase the energy efficiency of the building.[6]

Renovations have included the installation of a new roof, the upgrade and insulation of the main roof from R0 to R25 and the replacement of low efficiency boilers with 3 high efficiency near condensing boilers.[7] Due to renovations, the gas consumption in the building has been reduced by 82%, electrical consumption has been reduced by 25%, and water consumption has been reduced by 2 million gallons per year since 1990.[7] The heating costs for the 248,000 square feet (23,000 m2) building have been reduced to 67 cents per square foot / year, which is well below the requirement of $1 per square foot / year for the Manitoba eco-efficiency rating.[7] The renovated building has received the BOMA BESt Level 2 designation.[7] Since the environmental upgrades, the building has won the Building Owners and Managers Association of Manitoba (BOMA) 2012 Earth Award for Multi-Use Building.[8]

In 2012, the Government of Canada and Via Rail have announced a further $6.5 million investment in building renovations. Plans for these include renovations to the passenger waiting areas, new fully accessible public washrooms, improvement of the East entrance, repair and repainting of the rotunda, as well as various safety improvements.[9] Construction on the renovations will begin in 2013.[10]

Future PlansEdit

Future plans call for the Winnipeg Railway Museum to be moved elsewhere in the metro area to make way for a rapid transit hub station where several routes that cross the city will meet.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Union Station / Winnipeg Railway Station (Canadian National). Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  2. ^ Union Station. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Centennial of Winnipeg's Union Station". VIA Rail. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Warren & Wetmore, Architects". Vanderbilt Museum. Archived from the original on 14 August 2002. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Union Station". Virtual Heritage Winnipeg. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  6. ^ "VIA Rail finishes Winnipeg Union Station renovation". Progressive Railroading. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d "100 Years Old, But Still Green". Via Rail. 26 September 2011. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  8. ^ "2012 Awards". BOMA. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  9. ^ "A 100th Year Announcement at Winnipeg Station". Via Rail. 12 June 2012. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  10. ^ Welch, Mary Agnes (26 May 2012). "Union Station getting facelift". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  11. ^ Bellamy, Brent (August 5, 2014). "Grand vision for Union Station". Winnipeg Free Press. p. B6.

External linksEdit