Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1997.
Cascades of Time Garden, Banff, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1934 to 1935
Event, Person, Organization:
Harold C. Beckett
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Located in downtown Banff, in the Cascades of Time Garden, Devonian Pavilion sits at the northwest corner of the garden adjacent to the Devonian Pool. It is a small, log, octagonal gazebo that is covered by a turret roof and uses natural materials for its simple detailing and decorative elements. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Devonian Pavilion is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The development of the Devonian Pavilion is a very good example associated with the completion of Banff National Park’s administrative center, inclusive of the main Administration Building and the Cascades of Time Garden. The construction was part of an effort to attract international tourism to Banff National Park and is closely associated with this intense period of development, and an increase in visitation. It was also part of the Department of Labour’s Relief Act of 1933, whereby unemployed relief workers were employed to build the pavilion.
The Devonian Pavilion is a very good example of rustic design within the national parks program, and is characteristic of architect, Harold C. Beckett’s work set within the realm of landscape design. As a garden pavilion, its rustic form and detailing represent a picturesque aesthetic consistent with the park’s tradition. It is constructed of local natural materials that blend in with the mountainous surroundings and the garden’s English Picturesque landscape that includes deliberately irregular pools, flagstone walkways and planted clumps of trees.
The Environmental Value
As part of the Cascades of Time Garden, the Devonian Pavilion sits at the northwest corner of the garden adjacent to the Devonian Pool, which gives it a visual prominence and provides a viewing point to the Cambrian Pavilion. Its natural flagstone walkway and contrasting rubble stone terraces complete the site. Its rustic form and detailing of natural materials reinforce the picturesque character of the established garden setting. A key element of the larger site development, Devonian Pavilion is a familiar landmark to the townsite’s residents.
Source: Devonian Pavilion, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement, 97-011.
The following character-defining elements of Devonian Pavilion should be respected.
Its rustic style and very good quality materials and craftsmanship such as: its simple massing of an octagonal plan covered by a turret roof with overhanging eaves; its uniform elevations that consists of side walls finished with shakes laid in staggered lines, a single tall arched opening in each face and the head of the arch straight with the angles splayed; its field stone basement; its bull-nose corner beads applied at the inside and outside angles of all openings; its decorative railings, each of a unique design; its roof finish of hand-split cedar shakes, an upturned stump as a finial and a common lap or close hip treatment of the hip-ridges; its interior features of exposed roof framing, the exposed peeled pole laths carrying the shakes, the acorn ornament worked on the termination of the center post, the flag stone floor and the burl specimens utilized for the tie beams and bench legs.
The manner in which the Devonian Pavilion reinforces the picturesque character of its established garden setting at The Cascade of Time Garden.
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 Devonian Pavilion was constructed in 1934-35. It was designed by architect Harold C. Beckett. Alterations include the replacement of shingle roofing in the early 1960s; alterations to the doorways to the basement tool storage areas; and, removal of lighting fixtures from the archways. The building continues in its original use as a garden pavilion within the Cascades of Time Garden. The Parks Canada Agency is the custodian. See FHBRO Case File No. 97-11.
Reasons for Designation
The Devonian Pavilion has been designated “Recognized” because of its historical, architectural and environmental associations.
The development of the Devonian Pavilion is directly associated with the completion of Banff National Park’s Administration Building and its broader setting, the Cascades of Time Garden, in the 1930s. This construction was part of an effort to attract international tourism to Banff National Park. The Devonian Pavilion is closely associated with this intense period of development, an increase in visitation, and ultimately an important turning point in the history of the park. It was built by unemployed relief workers during this period.
The Devonian Pavilion is a very good example of rustic design within the national parks program, and is characteristic of Harold C. Beckett’s work set within the realm of landscape design. Very good craftsmanship is evident throughout the structure.
The Devonian Pavilion is an integral component of the Cascades of Time Garden. Its site has remained virtually unchanged since the original development, with the exception of maturing vegetation. The rustic form and detailing of the pavilion reinforces the Picturesque character of the established garden setting. A key element of the larger site development, the Devonian Pavilion is a familiar structure to the townsite’s residents.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Devonian Pavilion resides in the features characteristic of its status as a gazebo built in the rustic style. Externally, the features characteristic of this building type are the simple massing (an octagonal plan and a turret roof with overhanging eaves); the uniform elevations (side walls finished with shakes laid in staggered lines, a single tall arched opening in each face, the head of the arch straight with the angles splayed); the field stone basement (stone, natural course with deeply raked mortar joints); the bull-nose corner beads applied at the inside and outside angles of all openings; the decorative railings (each of a unique design) placed in all but the entrance arch; the pole rafters exposed at the eaves; the roof finish of hand-split cedar shakes laid in staggered lines to give a random roof pattern; the burl specimen (abnormal bulges on the limb or trunk of a spruce tree) incorporated as a finial; and, the common lap or close hip treatment of the hip-ridges. These features deserve protection.
The heritage character of the exterior and interior would be best protected by replacement in-kind of any heavily weathered or mechanically damaged building components, materials and finishes as the need arises. The condition of the finial, which is highly vulnerable to the elements, should be monitored on a regular basis.
Internally, the features characteristic of this building type are the exposed roof framing (peeled pole rafters abutted against a shaped block at the apex and tie-beams framed into a peeled pole center post); the exposed peeled pole laths carrying the shakes; and, the burl specimens selected for the tie beams, bench legs and center drop ornament.
The heritage character of the interior would be best protected by careful maintenance of the shake roof finish and the clearing of any snow accumulation, which on thawing, could be drawn into the walls and contribute to decay.
The Cascades of Time Garden is nestled into a hill on the grounds of the Administration Building, its landscape designed in conjunction with the building. The garden was created in the romantic tradition of English Picturesque landscapes, boasting deliberately irregular pools, flagstone walkways and planted clumps of trees that blend with the surrounding forest. The original program for the landscape, although never fully realized, was intended to depict the evolution of life through the geological eras.
The position of the Devonian Pavilion in the northwest corner of the garden adjacent to the Devonian Pool, gives it a visual prominence. The pavilion also provides a viewing point to the Cambrian Pavilion. These relationships should be protected.
The site of the Devonian Pavilion is characterized by a natural flagstone walkway, and steps which reflect the construction of the upper walls. Contrasting rubble stone terraces complete the composition. The form and materials of these features, and their relationship to the pavilion, should be maintained.
The larger garden emphasized a wide variety of floral and shrub species which complemented the pavilion and the stonework. The relationship between this pavilion and these naturalistic plantings is important and should be protected. The rustic vocabulary of the pavilion and its setting is important and this relationship should be reflected in its site.