On New Year’s Day in 1913 a new train station opened on the shore of Semiahmoo Bay in White Rock, British Columbia, a tiny community in the southwest corner of Canada. There, it welcomed the trains of the Great Northern and the Burlington Northern (later known as the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe) as they rolled by on their way to Vancouver or Seattle. Over the decades, the station, a focal point of the community for most of its existence, has become as much an icon to the town as the huge white boulder from which it takes its name.
From the early 1900s to the 1950s trains brought hordes of summertime visitors to the sandy beaches of Semiahmoo Bay from all over the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The bustling station, set in the midst of a peaceful little town, was vital both culturally and economically until the wane of the railway era, when Burlington Northern Railway sold the building to the city of White Rock for one dollar. Reborn as a combined arts centre, Chamber of View a collection of 159 historic photographs of White Rock Commerce and museum, the station once again reclaimed its role of importance in the community. Today it is occupied by the White Rock Museum & Archives and houses the community’s history, which it played so great a role in making.
This exhibition, hosted by Virtual Museum of Canada, features images and stories covering over 100 years of White Rock’s history and shows that despite the transformations it has undergone, the station building has remained a dynamic and constant part of White Rock’s heritage.