Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition

The 2024 Competition is Approaching!

Congratulations to the 2023 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition Guest Favourite, Pavilion of Historic (Fabric)ation, created by PCL and Stantec. It got over 1,400 votes during the event! The design team will enjoy a private three-course dinner with wine in Heritage Park’s elegant Founders’ Lounge, hosted by world-class Executive Chef Tobias Larcher.

We thank all competitors who made the competition a success. We’re excited to see familiar and fresh faces in this year’s competition. We also thank all guests who visited the warming huts and voted for their favourite during Once Upon A Christmas!

Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming 2024 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition. Scroll down for more information on past winners, the blind jury and the competition itself.

2024 Project Submission Deadline: Sept. 18, 2024

Photo Credit: The Forks Winnipeg

Quick Links

Warming Hut at Heritage Park
Warming hut at Calgary's Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition

What is a Warming Hut?

Inspired by the international Warming hut event in Winnipeg, Heritage Park started its own warming hut competition in 2023. The competition takes place during Upon A Christmas, the Park’s annual holiday event and Calgary’s favourite family Christmas tradition.

Warming huts are outdoor shelters to keep people warm in remote areas. Western Canadian huts were first built in Rogers Pass, Lake Louise and Lake O’Hara at the start of the 20th century. Heritage Park has its own warming hut, the Banff Curling Club, built in 1896.

Photo Credit: The Forks Winnipeg

2023 Warming Hut Competition Guest Favourite

Congratulations to the 2023 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition Guest Favourite, Pavilion of Historic (Fabric)ation, put together by PCL and Stantec. Their design was selected for the competition after a blind jury evaluation by seasoned industry professionals and Heritage Park management. Then, their warming hut got over 1,400 votes from guests during Once Upon A Christmas, making their hut the 2023 Guest Favourite! As Guest Favourite winners, the design team will enjoy a private three-course dinner with wine in Heritage Park’s elegant Founders’ Lounge, hosted by world-class Executive Chef Tobias Larcher.

2023 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition Guest Favourite Winner, Pavilion of Historic (Fabric)ation

Pavilion of Historic (Fabric)ation

By Heather Bretz, Chris Onyszchuk, Ryan Kuntz, Eric Kristjansson, Anna Batebe, Jonathan Monfries, Matthew Walton and Al Popp – Calgary, Alberta

Inspired by traditional fabrication and vernacular architecture experienced across Western Canada, the Pavilion of (Fabric)ation invites the viewer into a playful exploration of three experiences. Traversing through the hut takes you through a spatial adventure as the user is prompted to move through  he space and experience changes in volume and components of play, while warming up from the outside.

Project Summary

Project Images and Drawings

Other Winners of the 2023 Warming Hut Competition

These warming hut designs were all selected for the competition after a blind jury evaluation by seasoned industry professionals and Heritage Park management.


By Michael Zabinski, Yves Poitras and Matt Stewart – Calgary, Alberta

Confluence uses snow as its building material, taking advantage of its inherent
availability around the site as well as its beautiful material and light quality.
This material is often overlooked due to its ephemeral nature, however, when
manipulated into a reliable, long-lasting format, its has the potential to create
a dynamic and memorable shelter experience that is in striking contrast to the
architecture of Heritage Park.

Project Summary

Project Images and Drawings

Confluence, winner of the 2023 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition
Snow Eater, Winner of the 2023 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition

Snow Eater

By Corwin Chung – Toronto, Ontario

Positioned in the agriculture area of Heritage Park, the curved wooden structure emulates the shape of a chinook arch cloud on the horizon. Sheer drapes are soaked in water, then frozen to mimic snow and hooked onto the shape of the wooden “arch” structure, creating a highly interactive user experience while providing protection from outside winds. In this way, the broad experience of a warming chinook wind is brought down to a human scale for all to enjoy.

Project Summary

Project Images and Drawings

The Milk Carton

By Patrick Li – Etobicoke, Ontario

Nostalgic objects have the power to warm the heart by evoking happy childhood memories. The Milk Carton Warming hut is a Pop Art style sculpture created in the
form of the classic paper milk carton many of us grew up with and remember fondly. The outside is painted with a fluorescent paint so that it literally glows against
the muted colors of winter day and night, drawing people’s attention and curiosity.

Project Summary

Project Images and Drawings

The Milk Carton, Winner of the 2023 Once Upon A Christmas Warming Hut Competition

2023 Warming Hut Competition Jury

This amazing group of people, comprised of seasoned industry professionals and Heritage Park management, selected the winning warming hut designs for the 2023 Warming Hut Competition after a blind jury evaluation.

Coben Christiansen | Architect AAA, AIBC, M.Arch., B.Sc., FRAIC

Principal Architect with Ace Architecture

Coben is a graduate of the University of Calgary, University of Toronto and a fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada. Coben established Ace Architecture in 2016 and over the past 6 years continues to lead the practice as a pragmatic and driven registered architect.

He has proven design excellence with his work from KPMB Architects and Teeple Architects while bringing over sixteen years of expertise and a strong ambitious spirit to every project. Coben is always seeking new challenges and opportunities to strengthen our communities by integrating sustainability and design excellence. 

He is highly dedicated to maintaining design intent while incorporating scheduling and fiscal constraints through all phases of a project. Coben’s design and management experience includes a wide range of project types, ranging from schools and community centres to highrise mixed use residences.  

He is the past 81st President of the Alberta Association of Architects and proudly supports the advancement of the professions of Architecture and Interior design. 

Bryan Douglas Gartner | Architect AAA, M. Arch, B.F.A.

Senior Project Architect with Ace Architecture 

Bryan grew up in parts of Vancouver Island and Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. Eventually he left the west coast to attend the University of Waterloo where he discovered a love of drawing in the fine arts department. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (studio specialization) and a love of architectural history. Following this new passion, he pursued a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Calgary where he met his wife (also an architect).

Now raising a family of 2 boys in Calgary where he has lived since 2008, he enjoys snowboarding, golf, biking and fishing but spends a lot of his free time these days renovating their 1954 bungalow – testing out deep and shallow energy retrofits with his own pocket money. Professionally Bryan has worked in many roles before finding his way to architecture, including web and graphic design, commercial and residential construction. He currently values any professional work related to community, health and wellness.  

 Notable work as a project architect would include: The Calgary Cancer Centre, Calgary International Airport, Calgary Lamborghini Dealership, Basin Glacial Waters at the Fairmont in Lake Louise and all work with non-profit and charity groups over the years.

Dan Prentice

Structural Engineer, RJC Engineers

Dan is a structural engineer with RJC Engineers who has worked on numerous technically demanding and award-winning buildings. He develops creative solutions for structures and spaces with the intent of inspiring the people who use them.

His passion for preserving our heritage and buildings that bring communities together has led to his frequent collaboration with Heritage Park Historical Village on such projects as Innovation Crossing and Dingmans Oil Well. 

Dan completed his Bachelor’s degree at Queen’s University and his Master’s at the Royal Military College of Canada. Shortly after graduating, he joined RJC and has over 17 years of industry experience designing structures that shape our landscape.

He is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals, a designation that recognizes Dan’s proficiency in helping to preserve, restore and rehabilitate heritage structures. Dan’s work focuses on identifying and preserving unique aspects of original construction and modernizing where appropriate.

In addition to heritage work, he leads RJC’s special projects group where he manages unique, complex projects throughout Canada. His portfolio of work includes the University of Calgary’s CNRL Engineering Complex, cSPACE King Edward School, General Block and Studio Bell – Home of the National Music Centre. 

Shawna Cochrane

Architect AAA, MRAIC

Shawna has worked as an Architect in both the private and public sector, including the municipal government level for over 14 years.  Acting as an Owner Representative, she believes strongly in good design for all citizens, championing sustainable and equitable spaces that are accessible to all and encourage community well-being. 

She is a supporter of fair and reasonable hiring practices for design teams, and has helped initiate and administer municipal design competitions such as the Park Pavilion competition in Edmonton and the Riverwalk West competition currently underway in Calgary. 

Shawna is an advocate for the profession of Architecture as a member, mentor, and volunteer with the Alberta Association of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and with various grassroots initiatives over the years, from Media Architecture Design Edmonton (MADE) to the Café Forum for a National Architecture Policy.

A graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Masters Degree in Architecture in 2003, she has made Alberta home for all of her professional career and loves walking her dog in the various beautiful landscapes around the province, from the mountains to the foothills to the badlands.  

hor Politylo, P.Eng. | M.Eng.  

Director of Facilities & Maintenance, Heritage Park Historical Village

Originally from Ukraine, Ihor is a strategic leader for Facilities at Heritage Park that is accountable for the overall success of the Facilities management.  

 Ihor is leading the interdepartmental departments that are comprised of all building disciplines for lifecycle and maintenance, leading the PMO office that is engaged in short and long-term planning and execution for capital project delivery, and leading the fleet team for Trains, Trolley and SS Moyie.  

A visionary leader, Ihor is a Registered Professional Engineer with Applied Project Management Certificate of Achievement along with over 25 years of combined professional experience in managing complex projects and leading project delivery departments within the public-funded sector, municipal government, school boards and private industry.  

Ihor’s passion is within the wide spectrum of structures, starting from centuries-old structures to futuristic and sustainable housing and infrastructure. 

Kesia Kvill, MA, ABD 

Chief Curator, Heritage Park Historical Village

Growing up in the small town of New Norway, Alberta, Kesia gained her love of community, historic buildings, and museums through her father and grandfatherShe attended the University of Calgary for her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) and Master of Arts degrees in History and Museum studies, working at Heritage Park in interpretation each season.

In 2016 Kesia moved to Ontario to pursue a PhD in Canadian History at the University of GuelphKesia’s dissertation explores the impact of wartime government on Canadian women, foodways, and kitchen technology and design during the First World War.

Her areas of expertise include Western Canadian cultural and social history, rural and agricultural history, public history and heritage, and Canadian foodways.

She served on the city of Guelph’s Heritage Committee for several years, where she gained a passion for adaptive reuse and the importance of cultural heritage landscapes in retaining community identity.

Returning to Heritage Park in March of 2022 as the new Chief Curator at Heritage Park, Kesia has enjoyed showing her husband, Kyle, around Alberta on camping trips and taking their dog on adventures in between writing, sewing, and, of course, working with her wonderful curatorial team. 

Dominic Terry

Strategic Communications Manager, Heritage Park Historical Village

Originally from Irishtown, Newfoundland, Dominic is the Strategic Communications Manager at Heritage Park. A creative person by nature, Dominic took to drawing things and then building what he had drawn from a very young age.

Carpentry and construction wasn’t to be and so he pursued a broadcasting diploma from The Atlantic Media Institute in Halifax, and worked for the next 17 years as a reporter and producer in some of Canada’s biggest newsrooms. Pursuing further education in Public Relations from Mount Royal University, he jumped from broadcasting to communications in 2018, and joined Heritage Park early in 2022.

Since moving to Calgary, Dominic and his wife Danielle have had three children (2 boys and a girl) and he spends his free time fronting the Calgary-based Celtic Band Cabot’s Crossing. When not standing on the sidelines of soccer pitch imparting wisdom or yelling at his goalie daughter on a ringette sheet, Dominic can be found on the golf course, or renovating his townhouse, under Danielle’s watchful eye.

He still loves to ask people questions (old habits die hard) and does so by co-hosting the Heritage Park podcast, Stories From the Park.

Additional Information About the 2023 Warming Hut Competition

About the 2023 Warming Hut Competition

Heritage Park is inviting local businesses and post-secondary institutions to submit designs for blind jury evaluation by seasoned industry professionals and Park management. This means the designer(s)’ information will not be revealed to the jury until after their selections have been made. The contest is open to worldwide participation, provided the designer(s) are prepared to travel to Heritage Park to install and deinstall their hut.

Designer(s) need to provide the supplies and labour for hut installation and deinstallation. To aid winning designers from post-secondary institutions, they may request Heritage Park’s help in partnering with an experienced general contractor.

Designs should correlate to an area of Heritage Park, and will be displayed in that area. Huts will be judged by:

  • Effectiveness in providing a warm shelter
  • Originality and clarity of the design
  • Ability to engage, inspire and delight guests
  • Durability for guest interaction and inclement weather
  • Cost and ease of fabrication
  • In line with Alberta building codes and standards for safety
  • Deinstallation plan that favours recycling, composting, or repurposing
  • No use of electricity, fire, or inappropriate content

Winning designers will be notified and requested to develop construction drawings for submission to Heritage Park consultants. Design development will involve input from the consultants to ensure that construction is feasible and within budget.

Once construction designs are approved by the consultants, Heritage Park’s 50% contribution to the budget will be given to the designer(s), minus the final $2,000, which will be withheld until deinstallation is complete.

Why Get Involved? (2023)

  • Heritage Park is a registered charity, and participation in the warming hut competition will support the Park’s premiere Christmas event, Once Upon A Christmas. The huts will bring warmth, wonder, and a shared experience to Calgarians, other Canadian visitors, and tourists from around the world.
  • The warming hut competition will provide architects, engineers, artists, and designers the opportunity to:
    • Flex their skill competing against other companies, and rising stars from academia
    • Inspire teamwork, creativity and fresh fire, with a project off the beaten path
    • Be part of the design, construction, and decommission process from start to finish
    • See their creations experienced and evaluated by Park guests.
    • Bond and celebrate with the design community, including a launch party!

Funding and Prizes (2023)

For winning submissions, Heritage Park will pay 50% of funds spent on installation and deinstallation of the hut (supplies and labour), up to $7,000, for a maximum budget of $14,000.

Designers attending post-secondary institutions full-time at the time of design submission will receive a $1,000 honourarium per winning design.

Park guests will vote on their favourite hut, and the design and construction team of that hut will receive a private three-course dinner with wine, for up to eight team members, in Heritage Park’s elegant Founders’ Lounge, hosted by world-class Executive Chef Tobias Larcher.