HISTORY OF JASPER PARK LODGEIn 1813, a fur trade outpost named Jasper House was established by the North West Company at the entrance of the Rocky Mountains. For twenty years it supported the Hudson’s Bay Company’s traffic over the mountains via Athabasca Pass. This post was responsible for meeting the transportation and supply demands, caring for horses and trading goods for meat and furs with the local Aboriginal groups which included Iroquois and Métis. It wasn’t until 1907 when Jasper National Park became official and the townsite was established by Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1911. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway tore down Jasper House and used the materials to build rafts. Jasper was originally named Fitzhugh after a Grand Trunk Vice President and was later renamed Jasper in 1913 after the original outpost. Today, Jasper National Park is one of North America’s largest natural areas – spanning 11,288 sq. km (4,200 sq. mi) and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has a firmly embedded place in the history of tourism in the Canadian Rockies. Its legacy began in 1915, originally called “Tent City,” it consisted of ten large tents located on the shores of Lac Beauvert, each with wooden floors and walls. There was also a main dining tent that turned into a social area in the evening for guests to play cards and visit.
In 1921 Canadian National Railways took over Tent City. They immediately renovated the existing camp to eight log cabins, and officially opened in June of 1922. Expansion proceeded through the year with additional guest cabins. Some of these original cabins still stand today. The main building was touted as the largest single-storey log structure in the world.
The 1920’s also saw the addition of Jasper’s world-famous golf course, designed by Canada’s master golf architect Stanley Thompson. Stanley Thompson’s design philosophy has been described as “natural artistry” and this is true for The Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course. Imagine a course that hugs snow capped mountains, meanders past glacial-fed lakes and through a wildlife corridor featuring elk, caribou, bears and wolves. Stanley had the vision and a team that conceived and constructed a world-class course in the heart of Jasper National Park. The fairways were carved through the surrounding forests, complimenting the natural contours of the mountains. It took a total of 50 teams of horses and over 200 men working in unison to clear the land of boulders and debris. As a result, the par 71 course features elevated tee boxes, dramatic bunkers and vistas that scan the surrounding mountain peaks.
In 1939 we had the honour of hosting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they stayed in Outlook Cabin. Unfortunately, in 2000 the Outlook Cabin burnt down. Because there was so much history involved in this building, Fairmont wanted to keep as close to the original as possible. The same blue prints were used and the original furniture and paintings were matched. It is almost a replica of the old building, but has an additional 600 square feet to allow for wheel chair accessibility. In 2005, JPL once again had the honour to host royalty when Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip stayed in Outlook Cabin during their visit to Alberta to celebrate the Province’s 100th Anniversary. Moving forward, Outlook Cabin was crowned with the title: Outlook Cabin, the Royal’s Retreat.
The magnificent Icefields Parkway, Canada’s most scenic drive officially opened in 1940 connecting Banff and Jasper. Stretching 230 KM (142 miles) between Lake Louise and Jasper, The Parkway offers a window to the wild, ancient glaciers and sparkling lakes. This made way for an increase of international visitors and adventurers.
Disaster struck in July of 1952, when the original main building was destroyed by a fire. By September of the same year, the concrete foundation for a new building was poured. Completed in June of the following year, Jasper Park Lodge’s new main building featured stunning views of its surrounding lakes and mountains and epitomized the Grand Rocky Mountain Experience. The 1960’s and early 70’s saw the construction of our outdoor heated pool, tennis courts, golf club house and the Beauvert Suites located on the shores of Lac Beauvert. In 1988 the Jasper Park Lodge went from a summer resort to a four season resort. Up until that year, the Jasper Park Lodge would close for the winter with the exception of 3-4 managers. As Alberta only supplied a small amount of power to the Lodge in the winter, the lights were always kept off and the rounds were done by flashlight.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge continues to be a year round destination resort and consists of the main building and 56 adjacent cedar cabins for a total room count of 446 all located in the heart of Jasper National Park. In fall of 2010, The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge introduced a luxury Fairmont Spa. The 10,000 square foot spa was inspired by the natural elements of Jasper National Park and reflects the energy of the mountains, rivers and waterfalls surrounding it.
Celebrating 100 years!
Jasper Park Lodge - 1915 - 2015
Enter the #JPL100 Centennial Contest
#JPL100 Centennial contest rules.pdf