The 1927-built Prince of Wales Hotel, a national historic site overlooking Upper Waterton Lake in Waterton, Alberta, is a breathtaking example of Canada’s grand railway hotels. Standing hilltop in one of the windiest locations in Canada has taken its toll on the 90-year-old wood structure. The project team was called in to assist the client in the reconstruction of the hotel’s exterior balconies and fire escapes ahead of the upcoming summer tourist season and prior to the end of the structures' anticipated service life.
This national historic site situated within the boundaries of Parks Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park posed significant challenges for the project team regarding acceptable construction materials. Both hotel ownership and Parks Canada were consulted to ensure the materials used were appropriate for the site and implemented in a suitable way. The project team placed additional importance on protecting the delicate surrounding parklands by sourcing appropriate equipment and matting. By applying such solutions and working through extreme winter conditions, the hotel’s seasonal opening in May was achieved. Working closely with the hotel’s operations team, the design team, and Parks Canada allowed the construction team to solve issues on the fly and complete the restoration of the exterior balconies ahead of schedule and with minimal impact to the constant stream of tourists coming to experience the beauty of the Waterton area.