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Banff Lodging Company

James Thompson House and Cabins

220 Beaver Street, 1950/1914

The demand for tourist accommodation in Banff has always exceeded supply. In 1888, the Banff Springs Hotel and a few others offered rooms. By the 1920's the shortage was acute. In an attempt to alleviate the problem and earn extra income, many Banff residents constructed backyard "tent cabins" (canvas walls and roof with a wood floor) and later, full cabins. At the time, the Parks Department considered many of these to be substandard and required improvements.

In 1928, the Parks Department decided to allow such backyard development. A permit had to be obtained, fresh water and refuse collection were to be provided, and cabin design had to be formally approved and built on properties with an existing house. In 1932, regulations were revised to allow more substantial bungalow cabins to replace the small tent cabins. A 1937 survey reported there were over 400 backyard cabins and tent cabins in Banff, most of which are now gone. Due to continued abuse of the regulations, the government ended further cabin construction in 1939.

The buildings on this site are very well maintained and offer an excellent example of such backyard development.

James Thompson House and Cabins


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