Elevation Place

Canmore, Alberta

Project Details

Sub Consultant (Lead: Structural Engineering)

Town of Canmore

March 2009

February 2013


Buildings | Structures | Timber

Project Description


Located in Canmore, Elevation Place is a 66,325 m2 multi-use facility that is the heart beat of the community. Opened in 2013, Canmore’s indoor playground features a competition-size swimming pool, a water slide and lazy river, a climbing wall rated for international competition, a library and other multipurpose community spaces for kids of all ages. Elevation Place combines heavy timber elements with steel, concrete and stone features to provide the “mountain architecture” that creates a point a pride for the town.

Beginning in 2009, the project team began the work to design the new facility to replace the existing complex that had fallen in to disrepair and was no longer viable.

The pool design required consideration of Canmore’s high water table resolving positive and negative pressure on the pool tank structure. The ISL Structural Team designed the pool to resist both uplift due to pool buoyancy as well as the water pressure when the pool is full. A solution was used to waterproof the swimming pool from the inside to prevent pool water from leaving the tank as well as waterproofing a thick raft slab foundation to prevent groundwater from entering the tank and associated pool equipment rooms within the facility.

The unique pool area features 2.4metre tall glulam beams spanning over 28 metres and weighing nearly 15,880 kilograms, the largest ever manufactured in western Canada. They were delivered from Penticton, BC over 500 kilometers away. Due to space requirements the mechanical duct work and structural beams competed for space. The glulam beams were designed with steel rods embedded around the 3-5’ diameter holes.

Elevation Place’s large glulam beams span over the pool which provided a test for resisting high winds and seismic loads. Facing this challenge ISL designed inverted portal frames from the foundation to the underside of the roof beams.

Knowing the importance that this building would have within the Town of Canmore, Elevation Place was developed with extensive input from the community ensuring that it was a place that everyone could enjoy. The vision of Elevation Place is “to be an inspiring gathering place that enriches the well-being, enjoyment and aspirations of the community.” Since its opening in 2013, the facility has been an instant success and was recognized with a LEED Silver designation as it highlights the community’s commitment to sustainable building design.