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Wright Studies
Banff National Park Pavilion, Banff, Alberta (1911) (S.170)
 
Photographs of the Original Site, June 2010
       Our first stop in Banff was the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, located in downtown Banff. Among the numerous items related to the Pavilion, the Archive Department contained a major key. A 1916 survey by C. M. Walker. The museum also contains some of the only photographs that document the Pavilion.
       There are different report as to the exact location of the original Pavilion. The Banff Crag and Canyon, December 16, 1964, places it at the "site now occupied by the tennis courts..." Other reports place it by the shelters.
       The 1916 survey records the curve in the Bow River, the Bridge, still crossing in the same spot, Cave Avenue, the Boat Canal and Boat House, and most
  importantly, the location and positioning of the Pavilion, all at a scale of 150:1. When superimposing it over an areal view from Google, at the same proportion, we are able to locate the original site of the Pavilion. From the center of the Pavilion, it measures approximately 870 feet to the edge of the Bow River and approximately the same distance to the center of Cave Avenue.
       With survey in hand, we headed toward the recreational grounds. Not having the opportunity to superimpose the survey over the areal view at the time, we walked off the approximate measurements, placing us in the eastern ball field, very close to the original location. With photographs in hand we attempted to replicate the views of the original images.
 

Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

1: Looking toward the Southeast, circa 1913. Two of Mt. Rundles' peaks are visible in the background. The roof is cantilevered around 14 feet at the corner. The end of the pavilion is rotated 90 degrees, coming to a point. Two of the fireplaces and the clerestory windows are visible, as well as the broad stairs that lead up to the open terrace that runs half the length of the building. The Ladies Retiring Room and Kitchen are on the left, the interior Pavilion is on the right. The drive does not appear on the survey.
 
1b: Looking toward the Southeast today. Mt. Rundles' peaks are visible in the background.
 

Courtesy of the Public Archives of Canadian.

2: Looking toward the Northeast. The Mt. Astley Range is in the background to the center right with Tunnel Mountain on the right side. There were strong horizontal lines, the low-pitched roof, broad overhanging eaves, horizontal rows of art-glass windows and doors, three prominent fireplaces, clerestory windows and terrace. The Ladies Retiring Room and Kitchen are on the left, Men's Retiring Room and caretaker's room on the right. The drive, from which this photograph was taken does not appear on the survey.
 
2b: Looking toward the Northeast today. The Mt. Astley Range is in the background to the center right with Tunnel Mountain on the right side.
 

Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

3: Looking toward the Northeast, circa 1920. Stoney Squaw Mountain is to the far left, the Mt. Astley Range is in the background on the right. The Banff Craig and Canyon, dated July 10, 1920 reported that "The grounds in front of the recreation building were under water last week, and it was possible for a man, if so inclined. to wade out to the building, sit on the steps and fish." This flood, as well as the severe flooding in 1933 caused irreparable damage to the Pavilion, leading to its eventual destruction.
 
3b: Looking toward the Northeast today. Stoney Squaw Mountain is to the far left, the Mt. Astley Range is in the background on the right.
 

Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

4: Looking toward the North, circa 1925. Stoney Squaw Mountain is in the foreground, Cascade Mountain is in the background. The basic material was wood, stone and glass. The siding was horizontal board and batten. There were strong horizontal lines, the low-pitched roof, broad overhanging eaves, horizontal rows of art-glass windows and doors, three prominent fireplaces, clerestory windows, balconies and terrace. The Men's Retiring Room and Caretaker's Room is on the right. The end of the pavilion is rotated 90 degrees, coming to a point. On the far right the stairway leading to the men's section and the covered entryway can bee seen just under the cantilevered roof. The drive, where the car is in the foreground does not appear on the survey.
 
4b: Looking toward the North today. Stoney Squaw Mountain is in the foreground, Cascade Mountain is in the background.
 

Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

5: Looking toward the North, circa 1920. Stoney Squaw Mountain is in the foreground on the left, Cascade Mountain is in the background. There were strong horizontal lines, low-pitched roof, broad overhanging eaves, horizontal rows of art-glass windows and doors, three prominent fireplaces, clerestory windows, balconies and terrace. There were built-in piers or columns designed for planters like many of Wright's buildings at that time. The horizontal siding was board and batten. The stairs on the right lead to an open Terrace which ran half the length of the building. Doors, which opened outward, lead to an expansive interior "Pavilion". The Ladies Retiring Room and Kitchen were on the far left. The Men's Retiring Room and a room for the caretaker were on the far right.
 
5b: Looking toward the North today. Stoney Squaw Mountain is in the foreground on the left, Cascade Mountain is in the background.
 

Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

6: Looking toward the North, circa 1930. Mount Cory and Edith are in the center background. Mount Norquay is in the foreground on the right. The porte cochere (Carriage Entryway) and center Fireplace are visible. There were strong horizontal lines, low-pitched roof, broad overhanging eaves and clerestory windows. The Men's Retiring Room and a room for the caretaker were on the left. The pond in the foreground, just off the Southeast corner of the Pavilion, no longer exists. Could it have been dug as a winter ice skating rink?
 
6b: Looking toward the North today. Mount Cory and Edith are in the center background. Mount Norquay is in the foreground on the right.
 
 
Unless noted, text and photographs by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2010.
 
 
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