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Interpretive Building

Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada / Parc national du Canada des Lacs-Waterton, Alberta, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/08/01

View of Interpretive Building, showing the simple, low massing of the one-storey structure.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

Interpretive Building
Waterton Lakes National Park Interpretive Building
Bâtiment d’interprétation du parc national des Lacs-Waterton

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/09/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

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, T-shaped, one-storey timber structure in a rustic style with a gable-hipped roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Interpretative Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Interpretative Building is strongly associated with the theme of automobile-accessible campground development in Canada. Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada was one of the first national parks to develop a series of specific facilities for park visitors. The Interpretative Building was the first community building and the only building to combine residential, administrative and social functions under one roof.

Architectural Value
The Interpretative Building is a good example of a structure in a Rustic style and reflects the aesthetics favoured by the designers of national parks during the 1920s. The use of natural materials and uniform design resulted in structures that are sympathetic to their picturesque environment. It is also a good functional structure.

Environmental Value
The Interpretative Building is an integral part of Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada campground, and is linked to the other buildings by the use of similar materials and also by the uniform colour scheme. The Interpretative Building has retained an unchanged relationship to its site and is familiar to wardens and campers within the park.

Sources: Interpretive Building, Waterton Lakes National Park, Waterton Lakes, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement 90-235; Edward Mills, 16 buildings, Townsite Campground and Playground Area, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement 90-235.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Interpretative Building should be respected.

Its Rustic style, utilitarian design and craftsmanship, for example:
- the simple, low massing of the one-storey structure;
- the gable hipped roof and the use of horizontal tapered wood siding for the walls;
- the uniform colour scheme with white trim;
- the multi-pane casement wood windows.

The manner in which the Interpretative Building is compatible with the campground and picnic area setting within Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada as evidenced by:
- its compatible scale, materials and paint colours in relation to the adjacent buildings.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Historic or Interpretive Site

Architect / Designer

Parks Canada Agency



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




Related Places

General view of the place

Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site of Canada

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…


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