Description of Historic Place
The Information Bureau, located at the Ingonish entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, is a small, rectangular, gable roofed structure. Closely modeled after Scottish traditional dwellings of crofters or tenant farmers, the structure features low, thick, stone walls, rough-hewn timbers and gable end chimneys. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Information Bureau is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Information Bureau at Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP) is part of one of the first national parks in the maritime provinces and is closely associated with the expansion of the national parks system to eastern Canada. Associated with the initial phase of development of CBHNP, the Information Bureau represents one of the first buildings reflecting the Scottish theme, which was adopted by the National Parks Bureau in order to highlight Cape Breton’s physical resemblance to the Scottish Highlands.
The Information Bureau is a good example of the federal government’s interest during the interwar years in promoting local heritage values, in this case a reflection of Scottish immigrant heritage. Inspired by a Scottish crofter’s house, the building exhibits very good functional design and good craftsmanship. Its style is characterized by the low, thick, stone walls, the window and door heads arranged close to the eaves, the single storey, and the unfinished stone interior with roughly hewn ceiling beams.
The Information Bureau reinforces the character of the Highland Park setting at Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The first building encountered at the Ingonish entrance, it is a well-known building to all individuals entering or leaving the park at this location.
Joanna H. Doherty, Information Bureau, Cape Breton Highlands National Park Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 88-093;
Information Bureau, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 88-093
The character-defining elements of the Information Bureau should be respected.
Its basic Scottish Crofter’s House appearance, functional design, craftsmanship and
materials, for example:
- its simple, low, single storey massing;
- its gable roof and gable end chimneys;
- its thick, load-bearing, random, rubble masonry walls;
- its natural building materials such as stone, wood and slate;
- the symmetry in the size and arrangement of openings;
- its interor layout and features such as the unfinished stone walls, the roughly hewn beams and the stone hearth which reflect the building’s traditional function.
The manner in which the Information Bureau reinforces the character of its Highland Park setting and is a well-known landmark in the area, as evidenced by:
- its overall appearance and natural construction materials which harmonizes with its manicured landscape surrounded by mature trees;
- its high visibility, accessibility, and familiarity to people entering and leaving the park by virtue of its location and role as an information centre for visitors.