Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No. 1
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
© Parc national du Canada Banff / Banff National Park of Canada, 1992.
Highway 93, Saskatchewan Crossing, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1939 to 1940
Event, Person, Organization:
James T. Childe
Wardens Residence No.1
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No. 1, located near a traditional fording spot, across the upper Saskatchewan River next to the Icefields Parkway, is a simple, rectangular, one-storey structure with a medium pitch truncated hipped roof. The wood siding is finished in red-brown paint with light trim. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No.1 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No.1 is a useful example of a building designed as a residence for wardens. It is also associated with the ideals of protecting and enhancing designated wilderness areas for the pleasure and benefit of the Canadian people. The building reflects a shift in the warden activities from the back country to the front country closer to the highway. The importance of this station increased with the completion of the nearby Thompson Highway. The centralization of warden services resulted in the growth of the station to accommodate more warden residences and outbuildings.
The Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No. 1 is a good example of a structure adapted from a standardized plan for park residences developed in 1918 by James T. Childe. The building also reflects the aesthetics favoured by National Parks in the west during the early-to mid 20th century. It is a good functional structure built to reflect its picturesque setting and exhibiting good workmanship.
The Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No. 1, partially screened from the other buildings at the station by mature trees, is the oldest and most conspicuous building amongst approximately 12 at the station. The Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence reinforces the character of its mountain park setting. It is familiar to wardens and hikers within the park.
Sources: Warden’s Residence No.1, Saskatchewan, Crossing Warden Station, Banff National Park, Alberta, 96-007; Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement 96-007.
The following character-defining elements of the Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No.1 should be respected.
Its utilitarian design and rustic character and quality craftsmanship as evidenced in: the simple low massing of the one-storey structure; the rectangular plan and the simple, rectangular, one-storey structure with a medium pitch truncated hipped roof; the enclosed sun porch projecting on the front, and a smaller wing on the rear; the wood siding is finished in red-brown paint with light trim.
The manner in which the Saskatchewan Crossing Warden’s Residence No.1 reinforces the mountain park setting within Banff National Park of Canada.
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.
The Warden's Residence at Saskatchewan Crossing was built in 1939-40 based on designs by James T. Child, the resident engineer at Banff. The exterior of the building and its site have been little altered. Parks Canada is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 92-07.
Reasons for Designation
The Warden's Residence was designated Recognized because of its significant environmental importance, its historical associations and its architectural integrity.
Due to its age and prominent location along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), the Warden's Residence at Saskatchewan Crossing has become a recognizable landmark in Banff National Park. The residence was built following the construction of the highway linking Banff to Jasper, near a traditional fording spot across the Upper Saskatchewan River.
The Warden's Residence bears a direct association with the long history of warden service in the park and reflects a shift in the warden activities from the back country to the front country closer to the highway. The importance of the station at Saskatchewan Crossing increased with the completion of the nearby Thompson Highway (Highway 11). Because of its central position in the district and the centralization of warden services the station grew to accommodate more warden residences and outbuildings.
The utilitarian design of the one-storey structure is adapted from a standardized plan for park residences developed in 1918 by James T. Child. The building's exterior also reflects a standardization of park buildings in its use of wood siding and standard park colours.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage value of the Warden's Residence at Saskatchewan Crossing derives from its visible location near the intersection of two of the park's important highways and from its distinctive architectural form.
Partially screened from the other buildings at the station by plantings, the Warden's Residence is the most obvious of the group of buildings along the highway. The consciously planned visual presence of the station and its relationship to the highway have not been affected by subsequent changes to the landscaping or road allowances. Any changes to the station's landscaping or highway alignment should not compromise views of the building.
The one storey structure presents a modest outline and massing that blend with its alpine setting. The truncated hip roof, wood siding and standardized park colour scheme immediately identifies the structure as an official park building, establishing the presence of the warden service. Any alteration to these defining elements that would jeopardize the established character of the building should be avoided.
The enclosed front porch and placement of the windows derive from the vernacular building tradition, and reflect the residential function of the building. Although several of the building's multi-paned wooden windows have been replaced with modern units, the structure's exterior character has not been seriously compromised. The proper maintenance of the remaining earlier windows should be assured and the reinstatement of the earlier window design be considered when the modern units are at the end of their service life.
The simple interior floor plan contains two bedrooms, a living room and a combined kitchen-dining room, and remains largely intact. The interior finishes are modest and have been periodically updated, which reflects the practical considerations of the residence.