Elk Island is home to several historic buildings and plaques that tell the story of the park’s long history within the National Parks System.
In Canada, any federal government building more than 40 years of age is evaluated by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO) to assess the historic nature of the structure and the appropriate level of protection. In Elk Island National Park, the Superintendent's residence, the Pavilion overlooking the beach area, the horse barn, and the Ukrainian Pioneer Home have FHBRO protection. These buildings are maintained and managed in accordance with FHBRO direction.
The Superintendent’s residence
The superintendent's residence at Elk Island National Park was built in 1907. It served as the residence of the park superintendent and the park administrative offices until 1937. It is now used only as the superintendent's residence. Environment Canada is custodian of the building.
The residence was designated Recognized because it is the oldest surviving building in the park and it is the oldest superintendent's residence in continuous use in the national park system.
Unlike other early national park buildings, the Elk Island superintendent's residence was not designed in the rustic style. This could have been a reflection of the wildlife conservation and protection orientation of this park.
Built in the 1930's as a make-work project during the Great Depression, the Pavilion is the oldest picnic shelter with a chimney in the national parks system.
Over 80 years old, this open air structure is classified as a Federal Heritage building.
During the summer of 2010, the Pavilion's pillars and chimney were restored as part of our ongoing maintenance of the building, under Federal Heritage Building Review Office (FHBRO) regulations. Exterior painting of the shelter will occur in 2011.
The historic barn was constructed as make-work projects during the Depression of the 1930s. The horses that were kept in the barn were unique within the parks system because they were used not as pack animals but to herd bison and elk.
The Ukrainian Pioneer Home
The reconstructed Ukrainian Pioneer Home (built in 1951) was the first purpose-built structure country-wide to commemorate the presence of Ukrainians in Canada.
It was designated as a "Classified" federal heritage building because of its commemorative history, its stature as the oldest purpose-built Ukrainian museum in Canada, and its association with important individuals and events related to the commemoration of Ukrainian immigration to Canada. Two Prime Ministers, Louis St. Laurent and Lester Pearson, have participated in events at this site.
All historic buildings undergo regular maintenance to protect their historic qualities. The Ukrainian Pioneer Home requires special efforts. Recent maintenance includes the re-thatching of the roof during the summer of 2014.
A portion of the collection of tools, clothing and textiles, and other artifacts related to the Ukrainian settlement in the Elk Island Park area - formerly displayed in the Home - has been lent to the Basilian Fathers Museum in Mundare, Alberta, for public viewing.