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Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site of Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/11/06

General view of the Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site of Canada showing its Swiss chalet motifs, pitched gabled roofs, two-storey dormers, tiers of continuous balconies, and the use of contrasting finish colours, 1995.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1995.
General view of the place
Corner view of the Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site of Canada showing its blocky, six-storey massing and its reliance on wood materials for its construction, cladding and detailing, 1989.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, W. Lynch, 1989.
Corner View
Panoramic view of the Prince of Wales Hotel emphasizing its spectacular siting on a promontory overlooking Waterton Lake and its viewscapes of the surrounding prairies, mountains and lakes, 1999.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, J.F. Bergeron. 1999.
Panorama

Other Name(s)

Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site of Canada
Prince of Wales Hotel
Hôtel Prince of Wales

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1926/01/01 to 1927/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Prince of Wales Hotel is a large hotel, designed in a Swiss-chalet style. It is picturesquely situated on a promontory overlooking Waterton Lake and the town site of Waterton Lakes National Park. The formal recognition consists of the footprint of the building at the time of designation.

Heritage Value

The Prince of Wales Hotel was designated a national historic site in 1992 because it is constructed in the Rustic Design tradition and it is associated with tourism development in the national parks.

Built in Waterton Lakes National Park by the Great Northern Railway (GNR) as the only Canadian link to a network of American park resorts, the Prince of Wales follows the Swiss-chalet theme established for GNR resorts. The design theme extended the bold Rustic aesthetic used in Canada's national parks during the early 20th century.

Built in 1926-7, the Prince of Wales Hotel represents the golden age of railway resort development in Canada. The construction of a large hotel was considered vital to the success of the national park as a tourist destination. The hotel functions as the pre-eminent resort facility within the park. The hotel's striking design and spectacular setting make it a landmark and symbol of Waterton Lakes National Park.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1992; Commemorative Integrity Statement.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements relating to the heritage value include:
- its Swiss chalet motifs, including steeply pitched gabled roofs, intersecting gables, two-storey dormers, tiers of continuous balconies supported on large brackets, a lantern cupola, and the use of contrasting finish colours;
- its blocky, six-storey massing;
- its reliance on wood materials for its construction, cladding and detailing;
- the natural, textural qualities of its materials;
- rustic features of its interior, including the open, timber-framed lobby, with an open space ascending to the building's roof ridge line, natural wood finishes and original detailing, original doors and windows;
- its spectacular siting on a promontory overlooking Waterton Lake;
- viewscapes to and from the hotel and the surrounding prairies, mountains and lakes.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1992/11/06

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer

Thomas D. McMahon

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

44

Status

Published

Related Places

Front elevation

Interpretive Building

Overlooking Waterton Lake, the Interpretative Building is located within the large public campground and picnic area of the Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. It is a simple,…

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