Mount Stephen House

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Hotel and Mount Stephen in 1908

Mount Stephen House was a hotel located in Field, British Columbia from 1886 to 1963. It was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and was a central feature of Yoho National Park. It was named for the eponymous Mount Stephen, which was named for a president of the CPR, George Stephen.

Along with Glacier House in Glacier National Park and Fraser Canyon House (aka Canyon House) at North Bend in the Fraser Canyon, it was designed by Thomas Sorby.[1] Because of the steep grade of the "Big Hill" east of Field (which climbs to the Continental Divide), heavy dining cars could not be hauled over this section of track. The hotel was designed as a simple meal stop between Banff and Golden. The demand for overnight visits increased as tourists began to explore the surrounding area.[2] Between 1900 and 1902, the hotel underwent a major expansion designed by architect Francis Rattenbury. Sorby's small rectangular building was augmented with fifty new rooms, as well as amenities such as a billiards room and modern plumbing. Rattenbury changed Sorby's Alpine architecture to something closer to English Tudor design, adding gables and exposed wood beams.[3]

The Field Hotel below Mount Stephen, British Columbia, 1887. Watercolour by Edward Roper (1833-1909).

In its heyday between 1885 and 1918, the hotel was frequented by wealthy Europeans, and had a large dining room, ballroom, and a library.[4] The hotel was managed by Annie Mollison; her sister Jean was the manager at Glacier House. Mount Mollison in the nearby Ottertail Range is named for the sisters.[5] In 1918, the hotel was converted to a YMCA facility, and began housing CPR employees, reducing its use by tourists. By the 1950s, the number of rail passengers had declined, and the building was demolished in 1963.[6]


  1. ^ Luxton, Eleanor Georgina (1975). Banff, Canada's first National Park : a history and a memory of Rocky Mountains Park. Banff, AB: Summerthought. p. 98. ISBN 9780919934047. 
  2. ^ Knowles, Valerie (2004). From telegrapher to Titan : the life of William C. Van Horne. Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press. p. 223. ISBN 9781550024883. 
  3. ^ Barrett, Anthony; Liscombe, R W (1983). Francis Rattenbury and British Columbia : architecture and challenge in the Imperial Age. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780774801782. 
  4. ^ "Historic Sites of Field" (PDF). Friends of Yoho National Park. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Boles, Glen W.; Laurilla, Roger W.; Putnam, William L. (2006). Canadian Mountain Place Names. Vancouver: Rocky Mountain Books. p. 174. ISBN 9781894765794. 
  6. ^ Brown, Ron (1991). The train doesn't stop here anymore : an illustrated history of railway stations in Canada. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press. pp. 117–118. ISBN 9780921149842.