Yoho National Park’s tea houses steeped in history

Teah houses constructed in Yoho National Park

Lindsay McPherson

submitted

With the railway complete and tourists flocking to the Canadian Rockies, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) recognized the need for a place where visitors could relax and take in their surroundings. This resulted in the construction of tea houses throughout Yoho National Park as a rest spot for travellers at major scenic points. Some of these iconic structures are still in use today.

The first of these structures to be built was the two-storey Twin Falls tea house in 1923, and on December 1, 1923, a 21 year lease was issued. In the same year, CPR applied to the Dominion Parks Branch (later re-named Parks Canada) for a permit to build another tea house above Yoho Station between Mt. Burgess and Mt. Cathedral, overlooking the Spiral Tunnel. This became known as the Kicking Horse Rest House and construction began on it in spring of 1924.

Both of these tea houses offered light lunches to travellers and overnight accommodation. A third, and much smaller, tea house was constructed by CPR near the Natural Bridge on the way to Emerald Lake.

The Kicking Horse Tea House served visitors over the next four years, and in addition to selling meals, it acquired a hotel license, allowing the sale of souvenirs. The tea house was boarded up between 1932 and 1935 due to a lack of visitors, and when it re-opened in 1936 CPR transferred its lease to a private holder. During the war years, the tea house was once again closed, but re-opened in 1945. The lease for the building transferred hands a few times during the late 40’s and early 50’s. The fate of the Kicking Horse Tea House was sealed in 1956 when then lease holder Angileno Corradetti was informed the land was required for the widening of the Trans Canada Highway. Today, the Spiral Tunnel lookout on the Trans Canada east of Field, BC, occupies the site of the former Kicking Horse Tea House.

Although the chalet at Twin Falls wasn’t constructed until 1923, a basic log structure had sat on the site as early as 1908.

Construction of the chalet, along with improvements to the trail leading from Takakkaw Falls to Twin Falls, encouraged visitation to Yoho’s back-country. The chalet has since underwent a series of overhauls and even overcame a threat of being demolished in 1969.

Named a national historic site in 1992 for its role in early recreation and tourism endeavours in Yoho National Park, Twin Falls Chalet commemorates the rustic design tradition utilized in early national park architecture.

Today the tea house is owned by Parks Canada, and is operated on a seasonal basis by the holder of the license of occupation, Fran Drummond, who has been running the tea house since the early 1960s.

Keeping true to its roots, the Twin Falls Chalet has no electricity or running water, making it the perfect stop for those who wish to get away from the daily grind and take in the unspoiled views of the falls and Fran’s comfort food. For more information about escaping to the Twin Falls Chalet, visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/activ17.aspx

Just Posted

UPDATE: Slash pile fire near LaFointaine Road intentionally lit

Golden Fire Rescue responded to a report of a fire near LaFontaine… Continue reading

Youngest Golden Two-Four team enjoys ‘learning experience’

The youngest team in the Golden Two-Four this year was made up… Continue reading

First Nations included in latest Columbia River Treaty talks

Seventh round of negotiations between Canada and U.S. wrap up in Washington D.C.

Golden’s weekly news recap

Find out what’s going on in the community

Host/creator of ‘Sport Fishing on the Fly’ shares destination portal

‘Sport Fishing on the Fly’ host Don Freschi hooks people up with the ultimate fly-fishing experience

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

Olympic skier from B.C. suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Case of missing Kootenay teen still unsolved 50 years later

Phillip Porter, age 16, disappeared near his home in Kimberley on June 26, 1969

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Most Read