Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Yoho National Park of Canada, British Columbia
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, ca./vers 1965.
Kicking Horse Avenue, Field, Yoho National Park of Canada, British Columbia
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1929 to 1930
Event, Person, Organization:
Architectural Division, National Parks Branch
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Superintendent’s Residence, situated on the only road that connects the town of Field to the Trans-Canada Highway, is a stuccoed, wood frame building designed in the Arts and Crafts style with rustic character. It features a steeply pitched hipped-roof, two large dormers with bellcast eaves, a massive fieldstone fireplace and a sun porch. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Superintendent’s Residence is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The construction of the Superintendent’s Residence is associated with the increasing orientation of Field as a National Park administration centre. It also illustrates the enhanced status of park superintendent’s in the National Parks system.
The Superintendent’s Residence is a very good example of the domestic Arts and Crafts style from the early part of the 20th century, with rustic vernacular adaptations, characteristic of National Parks design. The combination of rough-finished stucco with woodwork and stone, reinforces the rustic, crafted character of the design. The steeply pitched roof, massive and irregularly placed chimney, leaded casement windows, and decoration based on stained wood, are consistent with the Arts and Crafts aesthetic.
The historical relationship between the Superintendent’s Residence, the site, and its original access patterns has remained unchanged. Situated among other residences, the building reinforces the residential character of the streetscape, and forms a strong visual termination of Second Street against the foot of Mount Stephen. The residence is well known in the town of Field.
Sources: Edgar Tumak, Superintendent’s Residence, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report, 91-052; Superintendent’s Residence, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement, 91-052.
The character-defining elements of the Superintendent’s Residence should be respected.
Its Arts and Craft style with rustic vernacular adaptations, for example: the irregular massing of the two-and-a-half storey form, domestic in scale, with a steeply pitched hipped-roof and massive, irregularly placed fieldstone chimney; the rectangular hipped-roof dormer and the bevelled dormer with bellcast eaves, as well as the repeated bellcast motif in the long sweep of the main roof extending over the sun room at the first floor level; the use of materials that include rough-finished stucco with woodwork, stone, wood shingles and fieldstone; the leaded casement windows; the decoration based on stained wood; the location of the staircase, fieldstone fireplace, and chimney seat, and their expression on the exterior; the surviving interior plan.
The manner is which the Superintendent’s Residence maintains an unchanged historical relationship to its site, and the manner in which it reinforces the residential character of the streetscape and is well known in the local area as evidenced by: the ongoing relationship of the building to its unchanged access patterns and site; the attractive Arts and Crafts design with rustic character that is compatible with the other residences and reinforces the residential character of the streetscape setting; the prominent scale and location of the building on a large size lot amongst other residential structures of modest scale which makes it a well known building in the area; the building’s importance among the residents of Field as the home of the senior park official.
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 Superintendent's Residence at Yoho National Park was constructed in 1929-30 to designs by the Architectural Division of the National Parks Branch. The building is still used as the superintendent's residence. The Environment Canada Parks Service is custodian of the property.
See FHBRO Building Report 91-52.
Reason for Designation
The Superintendent's Residence was designated Recognized for its importance in the development of Field and for its architectural and environmental significance.
The construction of the residence marks the increasing orientation of Field as a national park administration centre.
In design it is a fine example of the domestic Arts and Crafts style with rustic vernacular adaptations, appropriate for a national park building in an existing townsite. The design is consistent throughout, and the building retains a high level of historic integrity of design, details and fabric. The use of stucco and rough stone enhance the design and locale.
The site is relatively unchanged. The house forms a strong visual termination of Second Street against the foot of Mount Stephen and is well known in the local area.
The Superintendent's Residence is a good example of the work of the Architectural Division of the National Parks Branch.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage value of the Superintendent's Residence resides in the quality of its design and construction, its high level of historic integrity, and its environmental qualities.
The house is an asymmetrical two and one-half storey form, domestic in scale, with a steeply pitched hip-roof. It is an attractive and imposing domestic design which reflects both the Arts and Crafts movement of the early part of the century and the rustic-vernacular, characteristic of national parks design.
The rustic roots of the design are evident in the building's irregular composition, its strong vertical and horizontal forms, the details on the exterior, and the expression of features of the interior plan. Among the most striking characteristics of the building are the two large dormers with bell-cast eaves - the one on the west is rectangular and hipped-roofed, while the one on the east is beveled and covers a five-sided, two-storey pavilion. The bell-cast motif is repeated in the long, sweep of the main roof, which extends down to the first floor level over the sun room.
The use of materials, the combination of rough-finished stucco with woodwork, stone, and wood shingles, reinforces the rustic, crafted character of the design. Split fieldstone, extending to window sill height all around the building, provides a suitably massive base. Use of the same stone for the substantial, battered chimney and as trim around the main door, reinforces the prominence of the stonework. Exterior use of woodwork is limited to window and door casings and the half-timbering of the south dormer. This Tudor Revival detail is characteristic of much of the work of the Architectural Division. Window detailing, particularly the use of casement windows with leaded lights, also contributes to the character of the building.
Although the exterior of the building has a high level of integrity, some minor changes have undermined the integrity of the original design. The stucco surfaces and the cedar shingles on the exterior of the building have been painted. This treatment has substantially increased the contrast between the stone and stucco and reduced the texture of the rough-cast finishes. Prior to any future painting, investigations should be carried out to determine the historical accuracy and technical necessity of the applied paint finish. An approach should be developed that is appropriate to the long term protection of the stucco. If removal of the paint is considered, specialists with expertise in this line of work should be consulted.
The interior is virtually unchanged in plan. The building's plan is conventional for the period, although the location of the stairs and chimney seat, and their expression on the exterior is a feature of interest.
In its details and materials, the design aesthetic of the exterior is continued on the interior. Elements of particular interest include the staircases, extant historic light fixtures, and the split fieldstone fireplace with flanking seat. Consistent with the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, decoration is based on stained wood - in this case Douglas fir. These features all contribute to the character of the interior and should be protected.