Central location chosen for important new facility
In July 2015, the Government of Canada announced significant investments for Waterton Lakes National Park totalling $107.5 million. $7.6 million was identified for a new Visitor Reception Centre (VRC) for the park as part of this investment program.
“This is the most important of all the new projects in Waterton Lakes National Park. This reception centre will welcome Canadians and visitors from around the world, and provide them with opportunities to learn about the park’s cultural and environmental significance and its international status as part of the world’s first International Peace Park and World Heritage Site,” says Ifan Thomas, Field Unit Superintendent, Waterton Lakes National Park.
Based on a review of a range of options for the location of the new Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Reception Center over the past eight months, which has involved Parks Canada specialists, architectural consultants and stakeholders, Parks Canada has confirmed that the new Visitor Reception Centre will be situated on an open area within the townsite along Windflower Avenue, close to the entrance of the Townsite Campground, and adjacent to the tennis courts and playground.
The townsite location provides an unparalleled platform for presenting the park. Located in the center of the town, it offers magnificent views in all directions that reinforce the park’s ecological, cultural and historical significance.
“It is wholly fitting that the hundreds of thousands of visitors of one of Canada’s most beautiful and pre-eminent national parks will be served by a new visitor reception centre located at the very heart of Waterton Lakes National Park,” says the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
The townsite location provides easy visitor access from anywhere in the village, which receives all of the national park’s visitors. This location will maximise the opportunity for Parks Canada to connect directly, multiple times during a single visit, with the greatest number of visitors through welcome, orientation and the full range of interpretive programing possible from early morning to evening.
Parks Canada will consult on the design of the new facility in 2016. Construction of this new Visitor Reception Centre will start in 2018, with expected completion in 2019.