Former CN foreman’s house takes on a new purpose

Terrace residence becomes a view to CN's early days

It sits serenely, alongside the railroad tracks on the Grand Trunk Pathway. Myriad trains whiz past, including double-decker railcars. The Kwinitsa foreman’s house stands proudly as a reminder of our railroad past. It is named for where it came from – “Kwinitsa,” a once-bustling railroad station situated midway between Terrace and Prince Rupert. From 1911 and 1915, 50 railroad stations were built on The Grand Trunk Pacific rail line in BC; ten of them between Terrace and Prince Rupert. Nothing remains of the many stations and buildings that once peppered that rail line. The house came to Terrace from Kwinitsa in 1972, on two flat cars – the same way it originally arrived in Kwinitsa (from an unknown location), approximately in the mid-1940s. At Kwinitsa, it served as living quarters for the CN foreman and his family. Inside the house, which included a kitchen, living room and bedrooms, amenities were sparse: there was no electricity, no central heat. Instead, there were kerosene lamps, an oil stove, a combination coal/wood stove. An outhouse in the back served the call to nature, within nature itself. Twice, the house has been saved from demolition – by a railroader. In 1972, Richard Rinaldi, the CN foreman at Terrace (and the last foreman at Kwinitsa, in 1970) arranged for the house to be moved from Kwinitsa to Terrace, by rail. The house was placed on CN land where Staples now sits, and the interior was renovated to include offices, a lunchroom, washroom, lockers, etc. for CN crew. A few years ago, Rinaldi came to its rescue again when he realized the house – which by this time had been moved to its present site on the Grand Trunk Pathway – was slated for demolition by CN. At his request, the city agreed to save – and renovate – this historic railroad building. It’s not just locals and visitors who enjoy the sights and sounds of the trains of today whizzing by. For the Kwinitsa house itself, these too, must be music to its ears. Lulled by the rhythmic sounds of passing trains, with its proud railroad history echoing from its walls, the Kwinitsa foreman’s house must surely feel right at home.

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