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Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada

Cave Avenue, 1.5 km from Bow River Bridge, Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta, T0L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/11/13

General view of the Cave and Basin showing the basin (a pool of mineral water) in the open air adjacent to the Cave.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.
General view
General view of the entrance to the Cave and Basin emphasizing the viewscapes from the site to the surrounding natural setting.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, n.d.
General view
Interior view of the Cave and Basin showing a continuing flow of warm mineral water into the Cave and Basin from the natural springs, 2002.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, K. Dahlin, 2002.
Interior view

Other Name(s)

Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada
Cave and Basin
Cave and Basin

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada is a hot spring located in Banff National Park. The site was developed for public use with a nearby swimming pool and bath-house and is now operated as a historic site open to the public. The official recognition refers to the cave, including its interior pool and the original vent hole, the basin, the hot-spring-fed waters and the vestiges of the building erected next to the vent hole between 1883 and 1885.

Heritage Value

Cave and Basin was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is the birthplace of Canada's national parks.

The heritage value of Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada lies in the integrity and legibility of the cultural landscape that developed around the hot springs. The mineral spring issues from Sulphur Mountain where surface water penetrates the rock, absorbing minerals and being heated by geothermal energy to emerge in a cave and in a nearby basin before joining the bow river drainage system below. Long known to local Aboriginal people, the site was found by non-Aboriginal people in 1859 and reserved for public use with the surrounding 16 square kilometres in 1885. By 1887, development of this reserve had evolved into Canada's first national park, the Rocky Mountain Park of Canada.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1985; Commemorative Integrity Statement, December 1998.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value include:

- its interior pool, original surface vent hole, the basin (a pool of mineral water) in the open air adjacent to the Cave, the natural springs which flow into the Cave and Basin, and vestiges of the log shanty known as ''the Hotel'' built next to the vent hole between 1883 and 1885 in their extent, geophysical and construction materials;
- the health and wholeness of the natural features of the cultural landscape inside the Cave and immediately surrounding the Basin;
- the visual unity and functional inter-relationships between and among these natural features;
- a continuing flow of warm mineral water into the Cave and Basin from the natural springs;
- public accessibility to the site;
- the viewscapes from the site to the surrounding natural setting.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1981/11/13

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1883/01/01 to 1885/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
People and the Environment
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Pool or Beach

Historic

Architect / Designer

Walter S. Painter

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

3

Status

Published

Related Places

Main entrance of Cave & Basin.

Cave and Basin Bathing Pavilion

The Cave and Hot Springs Bathing Pavilion in the Banff National Park of Canada consists of a symmetrical frontispiece articulated by two octagonal belvederes. Behind it is a long…

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