Victoria rail station roof salvaged for future project

Harbour authority looks after demolition of 1980s-era station

Workers lower the former E&N rail station roof into its resting spot at the Ogden Point terminal. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority plans to reuse the roof.

After roughly 30 years keeping Victoria’s passenger railway station dry, the steeply-sloped roof of the iconic brick building is in storage, awaiting one of two possible fates.

Last week, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority demolished the former VIA station, but preserved its roof for future use.

“We thought it was a very iconic structure and we wanted to see it saved in Victoria,” said harbour authority CEO Curtis Grad. “We’re very pleased to be selected by the City of Victoria to take care of this city asset.”

Grad submitted the winning plan in response to a city request for proposals to remove the rail ticket office near the east entrance to the Johnson Street Bridge.

The historic-looking station, actually built in the 1980s, hadn’t been in use since summer 2011. The rail bridge that spanned the harbour was removed earlier this year.

The harbour authority agreed to salvage the roof and remove the construction debris at no cost to the city.

A contractor dismantled the brick structure over several days last week. On Wednesday, a crane removed the roof, which was trucked to Ogden Point overnight to avoid traffic. B.C. Hydro helped out by lifting some power lines along the route.

The roof will be stored at Ogden Point likely until next year, when the harbour authority expects to use it for a new building.

The new facility will be built to be “sympathetic to the look and feel that it had previously,” said Grad.

The location and purpose of the new building, however, are still up in the air.

It could be placed by Fisherman’s Wharf and used as a commercial venue.

Curtis’ preferred option, however, would be to build it at Ogden Point. There, it would house cruise passengers waiting to board a tourist boat.

The GVHA plans to build a multi-purpose float at Ogden Point next year. The float will serve as a launching point for a water shuttle to transport cruise passengers downtown, or for sightseeing excursions such as whale watching.

rholmen@vicnews.com