A historic lodge and landmark in a southern Alberta national park burned to the ground Tuesday morning.
The Kilmorey Lodge in Waterton Lakes National Park caught fire at 4 a.m.
Everyone made it out safely, according to park officials. No other buildings were damaged.
"For a lot of people the Kilmorey was near and dear to their heart, so it's a very sad day for the park and for visitors," said Rod Blair, the park superintendent.
The Kilmorey Lodge in Waterton Park, pictured here before the fire, burned to the ground Tuesday morning.The Kilmorey Lodge in Waterton Park, pictured here before the fire, burned to the ground Tuesday morning. (Courtesy www.watertoninfo.com)
Blair rushed to the lodge when he learned about the fire and watched the engulfed and partially collapsed building burn.
The loss of the Kilmorey will have an impact on tourism in the village of Waterton Park near the U.S.-Canada border because it was a popular spot, said Blair, but not just with visitors.
Blair was among the parks staff who ate lunch at the lodge since it was the only restaurant open in the winter.
"It's sort of an icon in the community," said Blair. "It's a sad thing to see a beautiful old building like that destroyed.
Blair described the interior as "Victorian-style."
"I think it was the only place left that didn't have televisions, radios and telephones in the rooms. It was keeping in the era of the original rooming house," he said.
The lodge was built in 1926 as a rooming house by Ida Kemmis. It burned down in 1933 and was rebuilt and expanded in 1940.
The cause of the fire is unknown and fire officials are investigating.
"Hopefully the owner will rebuild," Blair said.
The story is from cbc.ca. This is truly terrible news, and I'm really saddened by it. The Kilmorey was always the last stop before driving to Lethbridge after a day in the mountains, for beer or a hot drink, and often for a delicious burger. Just this past December as we navigated icy roads to Waterton National Park, we couldn't reach the ranger's office to ask if the roads worsened ahead or to ask about trail conditions, so we phoned the Kilmorey. The lady at the front desk was so nice and answered all my questions to the best of her knowledge. Certainly not her job and she had no responsibility to help us out, but she was kind enough to tell me what she knew about conditions. We picked up hot coffees there after a wonderful day snowshoeing but unfortunately didn't have time to stop for longer. I'll sure miss this place!