The Parks Canada Agency manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic areas in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. This management statement outlines Parks Canada’s management approach and objectives for the Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site of Canada.
The Jasper Park Information Centre was constructed in 1913-14. Designed by Edmonton architect A.M. Calderon, it is one of the earliest and finest examples of rustic design in Canada’s national parks. As the first major building in the townsite, it helped to define the character of Jasper’s early development and provided a conspicuous landmark that greeted park visitors upon their arrival by train.
The Jasper Park Information Centre was designated as a national historic site in 1992. The building is also a classified federal heritage building. Built as a mixed residence and administrative space for the park’s first superintendent, it is now used as an information centre for Jasper National Park.
The heritage value of Jasper Park Information Centre lies in its expression of the rustic design tradition and its association with tourism in the national parks. The building has a picturesque profile, with steeply pitched roof and varied gables and porches, and uses local natural materials such as rough fieldstone, log and wood.
The Jasper Park Information Centre is a local landmark and a focal point for visitors and residents. It is prominently situated on Jasper’s main street and surrounded by Athabasca Park and other unique heritage buildings including the Jackman Residence and Garage (1921), the Jasper Fire Hall (1936), the Canada Post Office (1939), the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (1928), the Athabasca Hotel (1921), and the Jasper Train Station (1925).
Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper share commitments under the Jasper Community Sustainability Plan (approved by the Minister in 2011) to recognize and maintain the historic character and cultural and visual connectivity of the Athabasca Park (Information Centre grounds) area and the heritage buildings it contains, and to support uses of this area for informal gathering and outdoor cultural events.
The Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site receives more than 200,000 visitors every year. The majority of visitors come in the summer months to seek information about services and activities in Jasper National Park.
The ground floor of the building houses visitor information counters for Parks Canada and Tourism Jasper, as well as the Friends of Jasper National Park gift shop. The upstairs of the building houses Parks Canada offices.
The building is in good structural condition. Regular maintenance is performed as required. Improvements to the building’s foundation and roof have helped to ensure the long-term survival of the intact historic exterior. The surviving elements of the original interior such as the internal spaces, the stone fireplace and other detailing have also been conserved.
The grounds of the building, known as Athabasca Park, are not included in the national historic site designation, however they are managed in a manner that complements the site. Parks Canada and partners host many events on the grounds outside the building. Highlights include National Indigenous People’s day, Parks Day, and Canada Day. These events attract visitors and showcase the heritage building as an iconic landmark of Jasper National Park.
The national historic site currently has no visitor service offer separate from its contemporary function as a visitor information centre. This is because there is limited space in the facility to serve visitors and to provide displays and exhibits interpreting the heritage values of the national historic site.
Parks Canada works collaboratively with Indigenous partners in the planning, management and operations of our heritage places. In managing the Jasper Park Information Centre building and the adjacent grounds that are not part of the National Historic Site, Parks Canada will seek to further opportunities for Indigenous involvement and to incorporate traditional knowledge and languages in programming, visitor experiences, and fostering awareness and understanding of Indigenous traditions and perspectives.
- Parks Canada maintains the site and adjacent grounds to respect the site’s heritage values and support its contemporary function as a visitor information centre.
- Parks Canada communicates heritage messages and the reasons for designation of the national historic site through parks publications, on-site information and interpretive signage, and online through the Jasper National Park website.
- Parks Canada works with Indigenous partners to incorporate their traditions, knowledge and languages into events, programming, and interpretation, focusing primarily on the grounds adjacent to the site that are well-suited to those purposes, and which provide for a high level of engagement with visitors.
- Parks Canada works with partners where appropriate to provide a range of visitor services including information, tours and events at the National Historic Site.
- Parks Canada improves the sense of welcome with wayfinding and direction signage at Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site.
Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site of Canada Management Statement
Field Unit Superintendent
Jasper Field Unit