Description of Historic Place
Perched on the top of an exposed ridge at the peak of Sulphur Mountain and overlooking the Banff townsite, the Sulphur Mountain Weather Station, also known as the Sulphur Mountain Observatory, is a small, plain, one-storey, stone building with a hipped roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Sulphur Mountain Weather Station is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Sulphur Mountain Weather Station is associated with the collection of climatological data for the Meteorological Service of Canada. The data collected at the station made a significant contribution to the knowledge of the climate of the Canadian Rockies, and was part of an effort launched by the federal government to promote tourism in Banff National Park of Canada and to provide information for visitors. It is also associated with Norman Bethune Sanson, who was the meteorologist in charge of the Weather Station.
The Sulphur Mountain Weather Station is a very good example of a vernacular meteorological observatory. It is built of limestone gathered from the top of the mountain to provide shelter, and its simple and solid construction was a response to the elements of its natural and wild site.
The Environmental Value
At the top of Sulphur Mountain, the Weather Station appears to grow out of the natural rock summit. It is a well-known landmark and is viewed from the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, which transports many visitors annually. The Sulphur Mountain Observatory, with its solid construction and indigenous materials, is compatible with the present character of its Rocky Mountain wilderness setting.
Sources: Sally Coutts, Sulphur Mountain Observatory, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Federal Heritage Building Report 86-040; Sulphur Mountain Observatory, Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement, 86-040.
The character defining elements of the Sulphur Mountain Weather Station should be respected.
Its very good functional design, good construction and quality materials and craftsmanship, such as:
- its simple, one-storey massing with a hipped roof;
- its two feet thick walls constructed of local limestone.
The manner in which the Sulphur Mountain Weather Station is compatible with the present character of its Rocky Mountain wilderness setting, in Banff National Park of Canada.