1160 avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal (formerly 1160 rue de la Gauchetière)
Montrealers have a deep attachment to the Windsor Station. It features an imposing character, it is a symbol of empowerment and historic predominance. Indeed, the structure itself has personality: solid, rough, imposing, rich material. By its structural architectural dominance it made Montreal a serious transportation center, a place of prosperity and industrialization for almost a century for Montrealers and also over other major city centers.
The green space next to the station was also a demonstration of the beautiful surroundings. It is located next to the Dominion square (now Square Dorchester and Place du Canada).
Many immigrants from different regions of the globe transited via this station to reach new territories encouraged by new opportunities and a piece of land to call their own.
After completing the Trans Canada railway (1886) and building the Dalhousie train Station (1884), the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) (founded in 1881) realized that a more central station and a solid headquarter building would be appropriate for the blooming railroad industry. The Windsor Station was made to order in 1887 and the first train departed in 1889. It was expanded three (3) times and its ensemble is the work of multiple architects: Price, Maxwell brothers, Painters.
The Windsor Station was the CP headquarter until 1996. It survived two wars, economic recession and also helped support the Canadian army’s troops and provided material. However, when the automobile industry started rising the rail industry started declining. That was in the 1960s. In the following years, the trains left the Windsor station and the building changed for a new journey. Connection to the suburbs (Laurentians) came to a stop in 1981.
The opening of the Lucien L’Allier train station in 1991 brought to an the end the Windsor Station in its original purpose.
Today, the original platforms are now part of the Bell Center (Montreal Canadians – hockey team arena). The once very lively concourse and transit area are now very quiet. The station is no longer directly connected to the rail network. Stores, restaurants, rental meeting rooms are now the property of Cadillac Fairview since 2009.
The exterior of the building continues to stand out today. Its unique style in the neighbourhood will certainly capture your eyes with its wide arches and grey stone. It reminds me of medieval churches. Luckily the building is still there to admire.