Description of Historic Place
The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter is a simple, open-sided, log frame pavilion with a truncated, shingle-clad pyramidal roof, half-height vertical log walls, and log cross-bracing. The shelter has openings on all four elevations, and is located on a small, wooded island connected to the shore of Pyramid Lake, in Jasper National Park, by a rustic wood footbridge. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building
The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:
The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter is associated with the development of tourist facilities in Canada's National Parks. Constructed by labourers from the Pyramid Lake work camp established in Jasper under the Unemployment Relief Act, this building is a modest example of federal relief efforts initiated during the Great Depression. The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter also illustrates an important phase of recreational development in Jasper National Park, which took place during the 1930s in response to the increased number of visitors coming to the park by automobile and bus. This picnic destination was constructed along with other park facilities such as the warden's patrol cabins, warden's residences, and bathhouses, to accommodate the growth of tourism in the park.
The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter is a well-crafted, log shelter, which in the context of outdoor recreational structures, is a good example of the rustic style of architecture. As an open-sided pavilion with four points of access, the interior of the shelter is open and undivided, and the only functional requirements of the building are to provide minimal protection from the elements, and to offer a view of the surrounding area. The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter is constructed of natural, local materials and features vertical log half-height walls, pole rafters, wood shingles, and log cross-bracing.
The Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter is the only building on this small wooded island, and along with the rustic wooden footbridge, which connects the island to the shore of Pyramid Lake, it contributes to the picturesque character of the setting. The Picnic Shelter is a popular local picnic destination and frequently serves as a backdrop for family and wedding photos.
Kate MacFarlane, Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter, Jasper National Park, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 98-082.
Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter, Jasper National Park, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 98-082.
The following character-defining elements of the Pyramid Lake Island Picnic Shelter should be respected, for example:
Its role as an illustration of the development of tourist facilities in the National Parks is reflected in:
-the building's rustic aesthetic which became part of the architectural character of Canada's national park facilities from the 1880s onwards.
Its rustic style, indigenous building methods and local materials as manifested in:
-the simple, symmetrical composition of this rectangular, open-sided pavilion which features a truncated, pyramidal roof of medium pitch supported on a log frame with exposed rafter tails, half-height vertical log walls and log braces above the entry openings;
-the use of natural, local materials consistent with the principles of rustic architecture such as the peeled log frame construction, the vertical log half-height walls, and the wood shingle roof;
-the use of consistently sized logs and rustic detailing such as notched and lapped log construction.
The manner in which the building reinforces the picturesque character of the setting as evidenced in:
-its scenic location on Pyramid Lake;
-the compatibility of the building's rustic form, natural materials and rustic detailing with the picturesque wilderness setting; and,
-the retention of its relationship with the site, in particular its location on this small, wooded island along with the rustic wooden footbridge that connects it to the shoreline.