Halfway Hut

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta
Front facade of the Halfway Hut showing the deep overhang above the cabin entrance. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.
Front elevation
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.
Corner view of the Halfway Hut showing the use of natural, local materials consistent with the principles of rustic architecture such as the horizontally laid peeled log construction, boulder foundation, and wood shingle roof. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.Front facade of the Halfway Hut showing the deep overhang above the cabin entrance. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.View of the Halfway Hut emphasizing the compatibility of the building's rustic form with the picturesque wilderness setting of the Ptarmigan Valley's alpine meadows and mountain peaks, 2000. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.
Address : Mount Redoubt, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 2000-10-12
Dates:
  • 1931 to 1931 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Jim Boyce  (Builder)
Custodian: Parks Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 99-138
DFRP Number: 15404 00

Description of Historic Place

Located in the picturesque setting of the Ptarmigan Valley, in Banff National Park, the Halfway Hut is a simple, well-proportioned, rectangular log structure designed in the rustic style of architecture. The building features a gable roof supported on log rafters and purlins, a deep overhang above the cabin entrance, and simple four-light windows centered on the side and rear walls. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Halfway Hut is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:

Historical value:
The Halfway Hut is associated with the early development of winter recreation in Canada's National Parks, and the development of alpine skiing in the Lake Louise region of Banff National Park. The establishment of the Skoki Ski Lodge as an alpine skiing destination marked the beginning of winter recreation in the area. Considered as a significant adjunct to this development, the Halfway Hut was constructed at the mid-way point on the uphill trail to the CPR station at Lake Louise and the Skoki Ski Lodge to provide overnight shelter for ski tourists en route to the Skoki Ski Lodge.

Architectural value:
The Halfway Hut is a good example of a typical refuge cabin and of the rustic style of architecture. A good functional design, the interior of the cabin consists of a single room with no interior partitions, a wood plank floor, and unfinished walls. Simple and well-proportioned, the Halfway Hut is a well-crafted log shelter and is constructed of natural, local materials.


Environmental value:
The Halfway Hut is located on a level, grass covered shelf, surrounded by a narrow band of mature spruce trees in the picturesque setting of the Ptarmigan Valley. The Halfway Hut is a well known landmark within the community of skiers and hikers and currently functions as a day shelter.

Sources:
Edward Mills, Halfway Hut, Banff National Park, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building
Report 99-138.

Halfway Hut, Banff National Park, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 99-138.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Halfway Hut should be respected, for example:

Its role as an illustration of the early development of winter recreation in Canada's National Parks, and the development of alpine skiing in the Lake Louise region of Banff National Park is reflected in:
the building's rustic aesthetic which was part of the architectural character of Canada's national park facilities from the 1880s until the end of the Second World War.

Its rustic style, indigenous building methods and local materials as manifested in:
the simple, well-proportioned and solidly built rectangular cabin which features a medium-pitch gable roof supported by large log rafters and purlins, a deep overhang above the cabin entrance, horizontal log construction and simple, four-light windows; the use of natural, local materials consistent with the principles of rustic architecture such as the horizontally laid peeled log construction, boulder foundation, and wood shingle roof; and, the well-executed rustic detailing such as the saddle-notched corners, exposed log rafters and purlins and strip wood chinking.

The manner in which the building reinforces the picturesque character of the setting as evidenced in:
the retention of its relationship with the site, in particular its location on a level, grass covered shelf above the junction of two creeks, surrounded by a narrow band of mature spruce trees and adjacent to a hiking trail which runs along its eastern side; and, the compatibility of the building's rustic form, natural materials and rustic detailing with the picturesque wilderness setting of the Ptarmigan Valley's alpine meadows and mountain peaks.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - 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.

Reasons for Designation
The Halfway Hut is a “Recognized” Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:

Historical value:
The Halfway Hut is associated with the early development of winter recreation in Canada’s National Parks, and the development of alpine skiing in the Lake Louise region of Banff National park. The establishment of the Skoki Ski Lodge as an alpine skiing destination marked the beginning of winter recreation in the area. Considered as a significant adjunct to this development, the Halfway Hut was constructed at the mid-way point on the uphill trail to the CPR station at Lake Louise and the Skoki Ski Lodge to provide overnight shelter for ski tourists en route to the Skoki Ski Lodge.

Architectural value:
The halfway Hut is a simple, well-proportioned, rectangular log structure with a gable roof supported on log rafters and purlins, a deep overhang above the cabin entrance and simple four-light windows centered on the side and rear walls. The interior of the cabin consists of a single room with no interior partitions, a wood plank floor, and unfinished walls. Constructed of natural, local materials, the halfway Hut is a well-crafted log shelter and is a good example of the rustic style of architecture.

Environmental value:
The Halfway Hut is located on a level, grass covered shelf, surrounded by a narrow band of mature spruce trees in the picturesque setting of the Ptarmigan Valley. The Halfway Hut is a well known landmark within the community of skiers and hikers and currently functions as a day shelter.

Character-Defining Elements
The following character-defining elements of the Halfway Hut should be respected:

Its role as an illustration of the early development of winter recreation in Canada’s National Parks, and the development of alpine skiing in the Lake Louise region of Banff National Park is reflected in:
- the building’s rustic aesthetic which was part of the architectural character of Canada’s national park facilities from the 1 880s until the end of the Second World War.

Its rustic style, indigenous building methods and local materials as manifested in:
- the simple, well-proportioned and solidly built rectangular cabin which features a medium-pitch gable roof supported by large log rafters and purlins, a deep overhang above the cabin entrance, horizontal log construction and simple, four-light windows;
- the use of natural, local materials consistent with the principles of rustic architecture such as the
horizontally laid peeled log construction, boulder foundation, and wood shingle roof; and,
- the well-executed rustic detailing such as the saddle-notched corners, exposed log rafters and purlins and strip wood chinking.

The manner in which the building reinforces the picturesque character of the setting as evidenced in:
- the retention of its relationship with the site, in particular its location on a level, grass covered shelf above the junction of two creeks, surrounded by a narrow band of mature spruce trees and adjacent to a hiking trail which runs along its eastern side; and,
- the compatibility of the building’s rustic form, natural materials and rustic detailing with the picturesque wilderness setting of the Ptarmigan Valley’s alpine meadows and mountain peaks.