200-Block Banff Avenue Redevelopment

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In the late 1990s, Parks Canada identified a need to improve reception, orientation and education services for visitors to Banff National Park. It was determined that the best place to deliver these improvements would be in the heart of the town of Banff, where 80% of visitors stop during their trip. To this end and knowing it would take many years, Parks Canada began acquiring the necessary lands on the 200-block of Banff Avenue.

After more than two and a half decades of work, it is anticipated that by September 30, 2024, Parks Canada will have 10 adjacent lots on Banff Avenue. These lots include Banff Avenue Park, the current visitor information centre and its associated parking, and two other buildings.

The intention is for these lots to be redeveloped with facilities, spaces and programs that support visitor reception, enjoyment and connection with the rest of the park, and which foster their understanding of the challenges faced by protected areas like Banff.

A full picture of what this redevelopment will look like, and the details of its programs and services has yet to be developed. This picture will be created through a planning process called scoping which focuses on

1) obtaining a complete picture of the site through detailed studies, and

2) identifying the principles, considerations, constraints, needs and aspirations for redevelopment of the site with the help of Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public.

The results of these activities will then be used to create a framework to guide decisions and redevelopment options (also known as conceptual designs).

Project Principles and Considerations

Project principles guide the overall planning and redevelopment options for the site. The draft principles are:

  • Sustainability – Recognizing that a healthy environment is fundamental to a healthy and resilient population, the redevelopment should contribute to the preservation and protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources during through its design, construction and long-term operation.
  • Accessibility – The redevelopment should ensure inclusiveness and non-discrimination through barrier-free design, gender neutral washrooms, and a welcoming, respectful environment.
  • Sense of Place – While integrating with the urban space around it, the redevelopment should: strike a balance between built and open spaces; invite people to move beyond the site to the greater park environment; reflect the national park character; and protect the quality of the scenic views.
  • Fostering Connection – To encourage exploration and transition to the broader park environment, the redevelopment should be permeable and include open spaces for gathering, contemplation and conversation.
  • Purpose-Built – The redevelopment should not endeavour to be all things to all people; rather its design, construction and operation should support the long-term objectives of the park management plan and Parks Canada’s mandate.
  • Collaboration– Any redevelopment should reflect the values and aspirations that Canadians have for their national parks. This is supported by timely, accessible information and open and transparent engagement processes. Final decision on the project should be sensitive to the location in the heart of the community, and the potential role that others may play in the site’s future.
  • Respect and Authenticity – the process of redevelopment should be sensitive to the diverse histories and cultures that have influenced the area, and where possible and agreed upon, incorporate the related stories, milestones, ceremonies and traditions with authenticity and integrity.

Considerations provide the criteria for deciding between options, and determining what will happen on the site and how. The draft considerations include:

  • Ecological and cultural integrity
  • Prudent use of taxpayer dollars
  • Public Safety
  • Federal and Provincial Laws and Standards
  • Government of Canada & Parks Canada priorities, commitments and plans.
  • Indigenous, stakeholder and public input
  • Visitor experience contribution
  • National park and community context
  • Site specifics
  • Long-term operations

We Want To Hear From You!

Parks Canada wants to ensure that the redevelopment reflects the values and views of Canadians, and makes a meaningful contribution to the visitor experience. Advice and feedback from Canadians is essential to achieving this. In this first stage of engagement your feedback will help us set the framework for moving forward and making decisions.

In the late 1990s, Parks Canada identified a need to improve reception, orientation and education services for visitors to Banff National Park. It was determined that the best place to deliver these improvements would be in the heart of the town of Banff, where 80% of visitors stop during their trip. To this end and knowing it would take many years, Parks Canada began acquiring the necessary lands on the 200-block of Banff Avenue.

After more than two and a half decades of work, it is anticipated that by September 30, 2024, Parks Canada will have 10 adjacent lots on Banff Avenue. These lots include Banff Avenue Park, the current visitor information centre and its associated parking, and two other buildings.

The intention is for these lots to be redeveloped with facilities, spaces and programs that support visitor reception, enjoyment and connection with the rest of the park, and which foster their understanding of the challenges faced by protected areas like Banff.

A full picture of what this redevelopment will look like, and the details of its programs and services has yet to be developed. This picture will be created through a planning process called scoping which focuses on

1) obtaining a complete picture of the site through detailed studies, and

2) identifying the principles, considerations, constraints, needs and aspirations for redevelopment of the site with the help of Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public.

The results of these activities will then be used to create a framework to guide decisions and redevelopment options (also known as conceptual designs).

Project Principles and Considerations

Project principles guide the overall planning and redevelopment options for the site. The draft principles are:

  • Sustainability – Recognizing that a healthy environment is fundamental to a healthy and resilient population, the redevelopment should contribute to the preservation and protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources during through its design, construction and long-term operation.
  • Accessibility – The redevelopment should ensure inclusiveness and non-discrimination through barrier-free design, gender neutral washrooms, and a welcoming, respectful environment.
  • Sense of Place – While integrating with the urban space around it, the redevelopment should: strike a balance between built and open spaces; invite people to move beyond the site to the greater park environment; reflect the national park character; and protect the quality of the scenic views.
  • Fostering Connection – To encourage exploration and transition to the broader park environment, the redevelopment should be permeable and include open spaces for gathering, contemplation and conversation.
  • Purpose-Built – The redevelopment should not endeavour to be all things to all people; rather its design, construction and operation should support the long-term objectives of the park management plan and Parks Canada’s mandate.
  • Collaboration– Any redevelopment should reflect the values and aspirations that Canadians have for their national parks. This is supported by timely, accessible information and open and transparent engagement processes. Final decision on the project should be sensitive to the location in the heart of the community, and the potential role that others may play in the site’s future.
  • Respect and Authenticity – the process of redevelopment should be sensitive to the diverse histories and cultures that have influenced the area, and where possible and agreed upon, incorporate the related stories, milestones, ceremonies and traditions with authenticity and integrity.

Considerations provide the criteria for deciding between options, and determining what will happen on the site and how. The draft considerations include:

  • Ecological and cultural integrity
  • Prudent use of taxpayer dollars
  • Public Safety
  • Federal and Provincial Laws and Standards
  • Government of Canada & Parks Canada priorities, commitments and plans.
  • Indigenous, stakeholder and public input
  • Visitor experience contribution
  • National park and community context
  • Site specifics
  • Long-term operations

We Want To Hear From You!

Parks Canada wants to ensure that the redevelopment reflects the values and views of Canadians, and makes a meaningful contribution to the visitor experience. Advice and feedback from Canadians is essential to achieving this. In this first stage of engagement your feedback will help us set the framework for moving forward and making decisions.

Page last updated: 28 Nov 2022, 04:10 PM