Twin Falls Tea House was designated a national historic site in 1992. The site was commemorated as a fine example of the Rustic Design Tradition utilized in early National Park architecture as well as its role in early recreation and tourism endeavours in Yoho National Park.
Set in the awe-inspiring Little Yoho Valley of Yoho National Park, Twin Falls is a breathtaking double waterfall, which can be reached only by hiking in 8.5 km (one-way). The contemporary source of Twin Falls is the Glacier des Poilus, which breaks into two streams above the cliff creating the unusual spectacle of two glorious waterfalls side by side.
The tea house was built in three phases between 1908-1928. A log structure had been built near Twin Falls as early as 1908, most likely built by the CPR or by an associated trail outfitter as a stopover cabin for trail ride tour groups. In 1915, an enhanced 8.5 km trail from Takakkaw Falls was cleared, which encouraged visitation. As more people discovered the area, the CPR looked to expand the operation. In 1922-23, the National Parks Branch signed a lease with the Canadian Pacific Railway for the establishment of ‘Twin Falls Rest’ in Yoho Park, securing approximately a half-acre of land which the two-storey chalet was built upon. From 1925 - 1928, a single storey link was built, joining the two earlier log structures. Built near the falls, the teahouse provided meals and rudimentary shelter for hikers and trail riders.
The Twin Falls Tea House plays an important role in the overall series of recreational opportunities in Yoho National Park. Built at a similar time as the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse in Lake Louise, with similar design features, these backcountry chalets were built to accommodate hikers, mountaineers and trail riders in the National Parks. These rest stops are still frequented by hikers and climbers from around the world stopping to take in the beauty of the surroundings and enjoy light refreshments.
The striking nature and sublime tranquility of the tea house appeals to many artists who travel to the area to gain inspiration from the pristine beauty of Twin Falls. The important American portrait and landscape artist, John Singer Sargent, came to Yoho in 1916 where he completed several major paintings.
The tea house is owned by the Parks Canada Agency, and is operated on a seasonal basis by the holder of the licence of occupation, Fran Drummond, who has been running the tea house since the early 1960s.
Twin Falls Tea House National Historic Site of Canada plaque states:
This charming tea house is a well-preserved example of rustic design in Canada’s national parks. The Canadian Pacific Railway constructed the building in stages, beginning around 1908 with a one-storey cabin for patrons taking backcountry tours. In about 1923, the company added a two-storey structure to create a larger and more attractive chalet. Skillfully crafted, the enormous logs enhance the building’s rustic character. The chalet remains a vivid reminder of the early days of hiking, mountaineering, and trail riding in the national parks.
The tea house is housed in the majestic Upper Yoho River Valley. It sits on the far loop of a popular circuit trail which approaches the foot of the Yoho Glacier and which also affords an excellent view of the scenic Twin Falls and many of Yoho National Park’s most stunning sites.
In 1928, the Canadian Pacific Railroad produced a promotional brochure that described Twin Falls Tea House as having sleeping accommodation for five.
"Twin Falls Tea House National Historic Site of Canada Commemorative Integrity Statement," Parks Canada, 2002
Twin Falls Chalet http://www.twinfallschalet.ca/