A heritage station
Once upon a time there was a station…
In 1913, the first station was built in Tarte, along a sidetrack named in honour of Israël Tarte, journalist, politician and Minister of Transportation under Wilfrid Laurier. Indeed, the name Tarte Siding is still in use. On January 4, 1914, the first train stopped at the station, on its way from Edmunston. In 1915, the building was carried a mile down the tracks, to Rivière-Bleue. There, the station was expanded to house the family of Arthur Aubut, the first station master to live in Rivière-Bleue.
The Transcontinental Railway and the station were crucial to the village’s development: travellers, goods, and forestry and agricultural products came and went by rail. Until the end of World War II, the railway was the only way to travel outside the village in the winter, and the telegraph, which was then a railway monopoly, was the fastest means of communication.
The station continued operating until October 27, 1979, when the last passenger train stopped on its way from Charny. However, the railway is still used to carry goods.
with typical architecture…
The building is typical of Transcontinental stations built in the 1910s, and has an L-shaped layout. Picturesque, with a veranda in front, the station has a hip roof with long eaves and large dormer windows. These architectural features have been preserved and make the building a very valuable piece of heritage. It was identified as a historical monument by the municipality of Rivière-Bleue in 2007, and is now listed in the Canadian Register of Historic Places and in Québec’s Répertoire du patrimoine culturel.
saved from demolition…
In 1981, its acquisition by the municipality, thanks to the initiative of Mrs. Bibiane Landry Gagnon and the Riverain Craft Club, prevented its demolition, which was the fate of all the other Transcontinental stations. The Rivière-Bleue Station became and remains the only one left as testimony to the area’s railway past. In 1983, thanks to a grant from the Ministère de la culture, help from the municipality and collaboration with Katimavik, it was renovated and equipped to house the boutique, the Club’s workshops and the Pioneers’ Museum, a private museum that closed in 2004. Thus, the station began a new life as a craft, cultural and tourist centre.
In 2005, the building was in critical shape, the Riverain Club needed revamped premises, and the Wilfrid Gauthier school and religion museum had closed to the public. However, a group of citizens was inspired by the fact that the station and parish were nearly 100 years old, and by the new Route touristique des Frontières. They formed the Rivière-Bleue Heritage Corporation, which has the primary mandate of renovating the station and transforming it into a tourism, craft and museum complex, thereby ensuring that it will have a viable economic role in the future.