Riding Mountain National Park

Historic Building With Modern Updates

In 2018, the Visitor Centre renewal project began to update the building from displays to heating systems. Parks Canada worked with historic builders, award-winning Canadian design teams, and local companies to create a place to share the most important stories of the park.

Visitor Centre Renewal Project

Photo: Jennifer Gustafson

What changed?

  • Installed a geothermal system, offering state-of-the art heating and cooling year round. It protects the environment and it extends our ability to have the Visitor Centre available to visitors year-round.
  • Upgraded the roof with insulation and shingles.
  • Created new exhibit content and digital displays to reflect the theme of Home, the work that takes place to protect RMNP will support visitors in the park, work with partners, and Parks Canada’s history with Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation.
  • Renewed historical elements of the building with Parks Canada’s Restoration Workshop
  • Installed a fire protection system, alarm systems, and security systems to better protect this important part of Wasagaming.
  • Updated electrical and lighting systems and improved communications infrastructure.
  • Designed and built new patio and pergola, kitchen servery, and four inclusive washrooms
  • Renovated reception and merchandise area, entrance, accessible walkways, and outdoor panels.

Historic Building

Since the Visitor Centre was built in 1933, it has had many lives. It has been used as a theatre, a church, a museum, staff accommodation (barracks) and more. Local Swedish immigrants and craftsmen were hired to design and construct the Visitor Centre. With the aid of relief workers through the Depression Relief Program, they used the craftsmen's expertise in log and stone construction to build the Visitor Centre and 86 buildings of various descriptions, including those at the East Gate National Historic Site entrance between 1930 and 1936.

The Visitor Centre is a delegated Federal Heritage Building through the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO). It is a picturesque rustic log and stone building with Tudor inspired decorative elements, such as exposed log rafters bracketing the eaves, false half-timbering of the gables, leaded casement windows, stone and brick chimneys. It is valued for its aesthetic and functional design, and its excellent craftsmanship and materials. It was purposefully intended as a prominent landmark for Riding Mountain National Park of Canada.

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