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Kitimat rail station gets heritage designation from federal government

Kitimat rail station gets heritage designation from federal government
KITIMAT MUSEUM & ARCHIVES — The Kitimat railway station in Kitimat, B.C. has been recognized by the federal government as a heritage site.

KITIMAT, B.C. – A Kitimat landmark has been designated as a heritage railway station.

The station was built by the Canadian National Railway (CNR) in 1955 at the request of Alcan in order to export aluminum ingots from its nearby smelter site, import materials and transport workers and their families.

“Serving as a vital connection on the Canadian National Railway line, Kitimat station transported passengers and goods, provided important communication services, and supported the local economy. The construction of the site, and associated infrastructure development, also had resounding impacts on the Haisla and Cheslatta T’en First Nations,” said Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault in a release. “It is only through sharing the whole story, that we recognize and appreciate the truth of our shared history with Indigenous peoples. Heritage designations reflect the rich and varied perspectives of the story of Canada, and I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the Kitimat Heritage Railway Station.”

Designated heritage railway stations are protected from unauthorized alteration, sale, transfer or disposal, a Parks Canada release said. Passenger services at the station ended in the spring of 1958, but the station continued to serve as a telegraph office until the 1970s.

The building of the station and the Alcan smelting site significantly impacted local Indigenous communities, the release said. The hydroelectric dam built by Alcan on the Nechako River flooded large areas of homelands, forests, farmlands and recreational areas, forcing the Cheslatta T’en First Nation to leave their territory at very short notice with minimal compensation.

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