In 1992, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) accepted a recommendation by its Historic Buildings Committee, that 6 buildings “constructed in the Rustic Design Tradition” should be commemorated by means of a plaque. One of these buildings was the Jasper Park Information Centre, which is an exemplary example of the Rustic Design Tradition.
Along with the Jasper Park Information Centre, the Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin, Skoki Ski Lodge, Twin Falls Tea House, the East Gate Registration Building and the Prince of Wales Hotel all illustrate a wide variety of historical themes associated with rustic buildings within national parks. Prominent among these themes are tourism development, outdoor recreation, private/public ownership in parks and federal make-work projects.
The Jasper Park Information Centre, built in 1913-14, is one of the earliest and finest examples of rustic design in the national parks. Designed by Edmonton architect, A. M. Calderon, the Jasper Park Information Centre was intended to serve as a landmark and focal point for the town. Built in the Rustic Design Tradition utilizing locally quarried stone and timber, the building set a design example for subsequent construction within the townsite. This vision of a unified architectural theme within the park was novel when first expressed by S. Maynard Rogers, Jasper’s first park superintendent.
The Jasper Park Information Centre is symbolic of park and federal presence in Jasper. Since it was built, almost a century ago, the building has provided a continuing park function and is still a park contact point for information on services and opportunities within the national park.
The Jasper Park Information Centre housed numerous facilities during its first several decades of use. The ground floor contained various administrative offices and, until 1936, the superintendent’s living quarters. The upper floor accommodated a museum, library and drafting room, while the partial basement housed the furnace, storage rooms and a fish hatchery, which remained in place until 1941. From 1931 until 1972, the building was primarily dedicated to administrative offices. For the last 30 years, it has functioned as the park’s information centre and offices for the park’s interpretive staff.
Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site of Canada plaque states:
This building is one of the finest and most influential examples of rustic architecture in Canada's national parks. Designed by A. M. Calderon and completed in 1914, it introduced a building tradition based on the use of local construction materials, in this case cobblestone and timber. The facility originally housed park administrative offices, a museum, and living quarters for the park superintendent. As the first major building in the townsite, it helped to define the character of Jasper's early development and provided a conspicuous landmark that greeted visitors upon their arrival by train.
JA. M. Calderon, the architect of the building also designed the Bank of Commerce Building on the edge of Athabasca Park.
There are a number of other heritage buildings in Jasper, including the CN Station, Superintendent’s Residence, Jackman Residence, RCMP Detachment Building (now the Jasper Library), the Jasper Fire Hall, the Post Office and other significant residential and commercial structures, which are recorded on the Jasper Townsite’s Heritage List.
“Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site of Canada Commemorative Integrity Statement,” Parks Canada, 2000