Lake O'Hara Warden Cabin
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Yoho National Park, British Columbia
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada)
Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1960 to 1969
Event, Person, Organization:
James T. Childe
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin is a well-proportioned, single-storey log cabin with an overhanging gable roof that projects over both front and rear elevations forming semi-sheltered porches over both entrances. White-painted trim contrasts with the darker, peeled, horizontally laid log walls. At the rear, wooden steps lead from the door to ground level. Located in Yoho National Park, on the northwest shore of Lake O’Hara, the cabin stands between the road and the lake in a gently sloping grass clearing surrounded on two sides by forest. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin is a “Recognized” Federal Heritage Building due to its historical, architectural and environmental values.
Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin is associated with the warden service role in the operation of National Parks: recreation, and wildlife-and-fire prevention management. The Warden Cabin was built in the 1960s when increasing tourism in the Lake O’Hara area of Yoho National Park led to an expansion of the warden’s duties to include natural resource management, visitor services, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin was used by wardens on a seasonal basis as a district base. The Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin is associated with Albertan Sid Marty, singer-songwriter, author and Western poet, and park warden from 1966 to 1978 in Yoho, Jasper, Prince Albert and Banff national parks.
Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin is a good example of the rustic tradition of architecture as presented within Canada’s National Parks. Its design was based on the design formula set out for warden patrol cabins in the mountain parks by James T. Childe in 1918. The cabin was constructed with variations to the plan that included its larger size for extended occupancy and access doors at the front and rear. The cabin’s interior features two specific divisions: a bedroom and storage area at the front, and an open space at the rear containing a kitchen and living/dining area, The functional rear door facilitates the provision of information to passing tourists. Good quality materials and craftsmanship is evident in the milled wood shingles, the concrete foundation and the well-sized, horizontally laid peeled logs with saddle-notched corners.
Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin with its rustic design reinforces the natural surroundings of the Lake O’Hara
area and matches nearby structures. Set on the northwest shore of Lake O’Hara the site of the cabin retains its original character, and consists of a gently sloping grass clearing, surrounded on two sides by forest, between the road and the lake.
The following character-defining elements of the Lake O’Hara Warden Cabin should be preserved:
— its design based on a standard vernacular log-cabin design typical of a warden cabin;
— its simple, well proportioned, one-storey massing and medium-pitched gable roof with overhanging porch at both front and rear which include the small, vertical log posts supporting the projecting roof purlins;
— its rustic aesthetic, expressed by the use of locally available materials such as wood and standard; as well as the use of natural and rustic finishes including horizontally laid peeled log walls and log posts to support the porches, and the roof’s milled wood shingles;
— its good-quality construction techniques such as horizontal saddle-notched logs;
— its rectangular footprint set on a concrete foundation, and the simple front and rear elevations with slightly off centre door and two windows on either side, and the simple door and window surrounds;
— its functional, versatile interior layout that includes double-ended access from front and back doors, and an interior partition wall separating the living room/bedroom from the kitchen and storage area;
— its location on the northwest shore of Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park; its compatibility with the nearby park structures.