Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company Station

4481 Savoy Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1903
 

The Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company Station is a one-storey, wood-frame structure located in the Port Guichon neighbourhood of Delta. Purpose-built as a railway station, this simple, rectangular building has been extended with a linear rear addition. The structure is now used a community hall.

Status: Still Standing

Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company Station - 2005
click photo for more pictures

Heritage Value

Constructed in 1903, the Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company (VTR) Station is of heritage value for its historic use as a depot for this subsidiary of the American-based Great Northern Railway (GNR). This utilitarian wood-frame station serves to recall the extensive and ambitious expansion of railway systems within British Columbia during the early years of the twentieth century. The GNR had grand plans to establish a significant rail network throughout southern British Columbia and the VTR was an important component in this plan, transporting goods and passengers along the lucrative Vancouver-Victoria route with a ferry connection between Sidney on Vancouver Island and Port Guichon on the mainland. The VTR then linked Port Guichon to Cloverdale, in Surrey, where it connected to the New Westminster Southern Railway, another subsidiary line of the GNR. This line extended north to South Westminster where services connected west to Vancouver and south into Washington State, linking the line to the vast GNR system.

Originally located on the Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company wharf at the mouth of the Fraser River, the station was moved in 1924 to its present location adjacent to the company's 1914 spur line. Due to the competition of the Canadian Pacific Railway's direct steamer service between Vancouver and Victoria, and the cancellation of an operating subsidy from the City of Victoria, the VTR never achieved its anticipated success. Initially the line served both passengers and freight, but within a few years passenger service was cut substantially, and eventually eliminated, and the line was used mainly to transport cattle. Though the line between Port Guichon and Cloverdale functioned until 1935, the Station was last used by the railway in about 1929.

The Station was purchased in 1943 by the Ladner Fisherman's Co-operative Association for use as a meeting hall, was substantially enlarged in the 1960s, and for years has been used as a community hall, serving the general public as a venue for events, ranging from wedding receptions to public meetings. It remains at the centre of the historic Port Guichon neighbourhood.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company Station include its:

  • site on Savoy Street, adjacent to the former Victoria Terminal Railway spur line
  • institutional form, scale and massing, including the later rear addition, as expressed by its regular, rectangular, one-storey plan
  • front gabled roof with closed eaves, with wooden tongue-and-groove soffits
  • wood-frame construction with horizontal wooden v-joint drop siding, with dimensional trim boards including cornerboards and frieze boards
  • regular fenestration
  • ongoing use as a community hall
     
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