The station was built in 1897 by the Grand Trunk Railway to replace a smaller station built in 1856. The station originally included a prominent clock tower. A second tower was added to the station after a 1908 fire. In 1966, Canadian National Railway (CN), by this point the owner of the station, removed the clock tower and the other roof features. In 1983, CN threatened to demolish the station, but VIA Rail, who had assumed responsibility for CN's passenger services in 1978, opted to retain it. Under the provisions of Canada's Railway Station Protection Act, it was designated a railway heritage structure as of February 15, 1994.
As part of a plan which also includes building a light railway through Kitchener and north to Waterloo, Grand River Transit have proposed relocating VIA to a new station closer to their Charles Street bus terminal in downtown Kitchener, where they would interchange with a number of GRT routes, intercity buses, and possibly also GO Transit. An environmental assessment for the light railway is currently underway, but there is as yet no funding or construction schedule for the project as a whole.