Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Nakusp Hot Springs comprises a 100-hectare (245-acre) parcel of land owned by the Village of Nakusp and the 8.5-kilometer (5.3 mile) Kuskanax Creek Trail on Crown Land linking the Hot Springs site to the Village of Nakusp in southeastern British Columbia. The Nakusp Hot Springs site contains several hot mineral springs, a public spa building and pools, chalets and hiking trails. It also includes a suspension bridge over Kuskanax Creek, water pipes and concrete structures at the original source of the springs.
Nakusp Hot Springs is valued for its association with spa development in the Kootenays. Like other hot springs in the region, the Nakusp Hot Springs were likely visited by First Nations people before European settlement. Following development of the hot springs in Banff in the late 1880s, plans were made for commercial tourism development at Halcyon Hot springs and St. Leon Hot Springs on the Arrow Lakes. An application was made for 160 acres around the Nakusp Hot Springs in 1894. Local residents objected to private ownership and the claim was rejected. However, three years later a mineral claim was staked for 40 acres around the springs. The owners intended to pipe the water to a hotel in Nakusp. Further public opposition led to the project being dropped. In 1912 a trail was built to connect the hot springs to Nakusp; this is currently known as the Kuskanax Creek Trail. The trail opened the site to access by horse and pack train. By 1916 a log structure had been built over the original rock pools, and cabins and tents were being advertised at the site. In the 1920s there were further efforts to commercialize the site, and the subsequent public protest led to the creation of a provincial park in 1925. A Board of Commissioners was established to operate the site. In 1928 the Farmers' Institute raised funds throughout the West Kootenays for a concrete pool, community kitchen and cabins. In 1967 the site was reclassified as a Class A provincial park. Five years later the Province provided funds to build a new pool and to improve road access. The new facilities were opened in 1974. In 1992 the Province removed the Class A park status and transferred the title for 168 acres of land containing the source of the springs to the Village of Nakusp. The Village leased the remaining 77-acre parcel containing the pool facility until 2003, when they purchased it from the Province. The Village improved the facilities, culminating in major repairs in 2005 and 2006.
Nakusp Hot Springs is further valued as a testament to the tenacious efforts of Nakusp citizens to maintain public ownership of the hot springs. These efforts began in the 1890s and continue today. H. W. (Bert) Herridge was prominent in leading these efforts. He helped build the trail, was on the first Board of Commissioners, and led the campaign to create a provincial park. Other individuals and community organizations volunteered to build and maintain facilities at the hot springs and to develop access to the site. Groups such as the Board of Trade were active in public campaigns against private ownership of the water supply and the land.
Nakusp Hot Springs is also notable for the architecture and design of its buildings, in particular the striking circular pool and semi-circular pool building. The building is a modernist design with large curved glass windows, laminated beams, and a saddleback roof. The pool deck and retaining wall use natural rock from the site. The horizontal emphasis of the structure, the use of natural materials, and the round shape are intended to create harmony with the natural surroundings. The site is further valued for the design of its chalets, with their steeply-pitched roofs and cedar shakes.
Source: Village of Nakusp Municipal Office, 91-1st Street NW, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1R0
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Naksup Hot Springs include its:
-use as a public facility
-modernist design of the pool building including the saddleback roof, laminated beams, curved glass, and use of natural rock
-circular plan and horizontal massing of the pool building
-the design of the chalets, including the steeply-pitched roofs and cedar shakes
-the original pool structures, including the concrete box and the old concrete pool at the source
-the suspension bridge over Kuskanax Creek
-natural surroundings including Kuskanax Creek, mature cedars, lady ferns, devil's club, and lichens
-Kuskanax Creek Trail to Nakusp
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
1967/01/01 to 1992/01/01
2003/01/01 to 2003/01/01
1894/01/01 to 1894/01/01
1925/01/01 to 1925/01/01
2005/01/01 to 2006/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Peopling the Land
- People and the Environment
- Building Social and Community Life
- Community Organizations
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Sports and Leisure
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Clifford Weins Architect Ltd.
Location of Supporting Documentation
Village of Nakusp Municipal Office, 91-1st Street NW, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1R0
Cross-Reference to Collection