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Former Bathhouse

Banff National Park of Canada, Alberta, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/07/03

General view of the Former Bathhouse, showing its simple massing as a gable-roofed structure with a shed-roofed extension along the back, 1994.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1994.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Former Bathhouse at Skoki Ski Lodge
Ancien pavillon de bain de l'auberge de ski Skoki
Former Bathhouse

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Former Bathhouse is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 2,164 metres in a clearing on the banks of Little Pipestone Creek at the Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site of Canada in Banff National Park of Canada. It is a rustic style, simple rectangular log structure with a patina of weathered wood and two front entrances each with a gable porch roof. Adjacent to a glacier fed mountain stream and surrounded by a forest filled with spruce and white bark pine, it was originally constructed, along with three other guest cabins as a bathhouse for tourists in 1936 by Earl Spencer for noted Banff guide, outfitter and log builder James Boyd, and completes the site. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Former Bathhouse is a Classified Federal Heritage building because of its historical associations and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Former Bathhouse is a very good illustration of the national historic theme of recreation and tourism and its development in Canada’s National Parks. The first such facility to operate on a commercial basis in Canada, the bathhouse, as part of the facility, was built specifically to cater to ski-tourists and represents the pioneering phase of skiing as a major recreational activity in North America. Skoki Ski Lodge remains a major destination point within the park where the Former Bathhouse continues to accommodate park visitors from all over the world.

Architectural Value
The Former Bathhouse is a very good example of the rustic design tradition in Canada’s national parks and winter resort construction. It serves as an example of traditional log design and construction using local materials and workmanship long associated with the Banff region. The design at Skoki Ski Lodge has been followed in the development of other ski lodges throughout North America.

Environmental Value
The picturesque mountain setting around the Former Bathhouse, the layout of the buildings and their relationship to each other, historic trails, footpaths and unspoiled setting reinforce its historical relationship to the site. The Former Bathhouse and the four other guest cabins are arranged in a fan-like semi-circle around the centrally placed main building and maintains its original physical and functional relationship to the site and its natural surroundings. Along with the other buildings on site, the Former Bathhouse acts as a visual landmark for tourists in the park and is a well known skiing and hiking destination for travelers. Access to the site is restricted to traditional methods of transportation and maintaining its original isolated and natural setting.

Sources: Kate Macfarlane, Skoki Ski Lodge, Banff National Park, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 96-105; Former Bathhouse, Skoki Ski Lodge, Banff National Park, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement 96-105.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Former Bathhouse should be respected.

Its role as an illustration of the development and growth of recreation and tourism in Canada’s National Parks is reflected in:
- its representation of the pioneering phase of skiing as a major recreational activity in North America.

Its rustic design tradition and traditional log design construction as manifested in:
- its simple massing as a gable-roofed structure with a shed-roofed extension along the back;
- the use of wood as the predominant construction material with the use of locally-hewn spruce logs;
- the patina of weathered wood;
- the front elevation articulated by two-entrances each with a gable porch roof;
- the walls of unscribed horizontal log construction with saddle-notched corners;
- the multipaned windows regularly located along the side elevations;
- the use of milled lumber components for the multipaned windows, the plank door, and the tongue-and-groove floorboards;
- the simple interior divided into three roughly equal parts, each with a separate entrance.

The manner in which the Former Bathhouse reinforces the picturesque character of the mountain park setting and its historical relationship to the site.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Park Fixture

Architect / Designer



Earl Spencer

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




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