East Gate Registration Buildings, Building 3
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1985.
Harvie Heights, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1934 to 1936
Event, Person, Organization:
Harold C. Becket
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Building 3 is one of three structures that comprise what is commonly known as the Banff National Park of Canada East Gate Registration Buildings. Situated on the west side of the centre building, it is a small, rectangular, one-and-a-half storey structure built of split fieldstone in the Rustic style with Tudor Revival details. The gabled roof is clad in cedar shingles. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 3 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:
Building 3 at Banff National Park of Canada is a very good example of the development of Canada’s National Park system and early Canadian tourism. It is also associated with the emerging ideals of protecting and enhancing designated wilderness areas for the pleasure and benefit of the Canadian people. It also symbolizes the increasing importance of the motorcar within the national parks of the 1930s. Construction of the East Gate Registration Buildings was enabled by the 1934 Public Works Construction Act, which set aside large funds for projects within the national parks.
Building 3 is a very good example of the Rustic style with Tudor Revival details, which was favoured within the National Parks program. The informal style was perceived as harmonious with a mountain setting. Reflecting the rustic, picturesque aesthetic consistent with Park’s tradition, local building materials were used. Building 3 is constructed from rock quarried within the park. It is a good functional structure built to reflect its picturesque setting.
Situated on the eastern boundary of the park, the East Gate Registration Buildings announce the park in large wooden letters. Reinforcing the present character of the park, the East Gate is a familiar and symbolic man-made landmark. The gable end of the front porch frames the word “Register”. Building 3 served as the registration building and originally provided washrooms for visitors. Emphasizing natural building materials and the picturesque landscape, the East Gate Registration Buildings are constructed to be compatible with their environment.
Sources: East Gate, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 84-055; East Gate, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 84-055.
The following character-defining elements of Building 3 should be respected.
Its Rustic style with Tudor Revival details and very good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in: the simple low massing of the one-and-a-half-storey structure; the rectangular plan, and gabled roof, with one stone chimney and the cedar-shingles laid in staggered lines to give a random roof pattern; the half-timbering featured on the upper half of the building and the use of locally quarried split fieldstone in irregular courses for the exterior walls.
The manner in which the East Gate Registration Buildings, including Building 3, reinforce the picturesque character of their mountain park setting of Banff National Park of Canada and through their prominent location are an important local landmark.
Heritage Character Statement
The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.
Three buildings comprise what is commonly known as the Banff Last Gate. Built in 1934-1936, they were designed by Windsor, Ontario architect Harold C. Becket, and are notable for their Tudor Revival and very fuctional design, as well as their setting in the context of Banff National Park.
The buildings are simple cottage-like stuctures. They are constructed of split fieldstone quarried within Banff National Park. Each is a one-and-one-half storey, gable roofed structure with cedar shingles. There are shed dorrers sided in cedar shingles on two of the buildings, while half-timbering distinguishes the upper 1:11t storey of the three. In their exterior design, they are an eclectic mixture of architectural styles and materials, a feature of the Queen Anne style that creates, in this instance, an impression of rusticity. This distinctive type of architecture in the National Parks was felt to encourage certain similarities of design in parks buildings and at the same time keep all construction in harmony with the beauty of the surroundings. However, few gates are as elaborate as the Banff East Gate.
The Banff East Gate is, of course, associated with Canada's first and perhaps mos famous national park, but its historical significance lies in its association with th increased vehicular traffic through the park throughout the 1930's, despite the Depression. The car allowed an ease of access to Banff National Park of which the early proponents of the park would never have dreamed. The East Gate symbolizes this change in the nature and number of visitors to the park,
Like other parks buildings, Banff East Gate was built to and does blend with the beauty of the surroundings. At the same time, it performed and important function within the context of Banff National Park since its construction and has become a most prominent man-made landmark to all travellers to Banff.