Description of Historic Place
The Interpretive Centre, also known as Building B1, is a picturesque one-and-a-half storey building, set in a formal landscaped setting at Riding Mountain National Park of Canada.
Constructed of log and stone in the Rustic style, this building features a hip roof clad with wooden shingles. Tudor inspired decorative elements distinguish the building, including the false half-timbering of the gables, the leaded casement windows, and the stone and brick chimneys. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Interpretive Centre at Riding Mountain is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations and its architectural and environmental values.
The Interpretive Centre is one of the most significant designs produced by the Architectural Division of the National Parks Branch during its period of active involvement in park development.
The Interpretive Centre is valued for its excellent aesthetic design, very good functional design, and its excellent craftsmanship and materials. It represents the fullest expression of the rustic style as developed by the division under W.D. Cromarty's direction, and it was purposefully intended as a conspicuous landmark for Riding Mountain National Park of Canada, as well as the national parks system in general. The architectural detailing and craftsmanship lavished on the building reflect its intended status and are extended to the design and construction of the interior furnishings and display cases.
Placed in a formal landscaped setting, it was designed to serve as a visual focus for the Wasagaming townsite. The surrounding landscaping, including remnants of an English formal garden introduced in 1934, remain in place. The building continues to fulfill a central role, through its siting, scale and function, in the life of the park.
Sources: Dana Johnson, Interpretive Centre, Riding Mountain National Park of Canada, Manitoba, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 84-032; Interpretive Centre, Riding Mountain National Park of Canada, Manitoba, Heritage Character Statement, 84-032.
The character-defining elements of the Interpretive Centre should be respected.
Its excellent aesthetic design, very good functional design, its excellent craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the continuity between the whole of its exterior, interior and grounds, an essential element of the original design;
- the use of bearing log construction, rather than log veneer over frame, made possible by Scandinavian-born labourers who were skilled in this form of building;
- decorative touches, many of them Tudor in inspiration, provided by the exposed log rafters bracketing the eaves, the false half-timbering of the gables, the leaded casement windows, and the stone and brick chimneys;
- the interior, which is marked by a peeled log truss system and a unique pole siding finish on the sloping roof surfaces of the lecture hall;
- the surrounding landscape, which enhances the picturesque quality of the building's design and still retains remnants of the 1934 formal garden.
The manner in which the Interpretive Centre reinforced the present character of its formal landscaped setting and is a familiar landmark within Riding Mountain National Park of Canada, as evidenced by:
- its overall aesthetic design, materials and formal garden which harmonize with its park-like surroundings;
- its siting, scale and ongoing function as an interpretive building which makes it a familiar building within the park.