Williams Lake’s extraordinary Tourism Discovery Centre officially opened its doors in October 2006. Designed by Bernard Perreten Architect Inc., the Discovery Centre is more than just a tourism information centre. This building is a “one of a kind” in the province and poses as a gateway to demonstrate the city’s growing industry and economy as well as its rich history and culture.
The Tourism Discovery Centre is, in total, a 14,596 square foot log structure. The log and timber frame was built by local log home builders, Pioneer Log Homes and Durfeld Log and Timber. The building was finished by general contractor Sprucelee Construction and their sub-contractors.
Pioneer’s grand log post and beam structure comprises the front of the building that houses the reception area, administration, gift shop and washrooms. Using a combination of old world craftsmanship with modern technology and highly skilled craftsmen, Pioneer has integrated intricate mortise and tenon, dove tail notches, and log post and beam to produce sold wood joinery with engineered steel apparatus hidden in the joints, bringing the architects design to life.
The centre post with its flared root in tact is approximately 10 feet across and rises over 52 feet. It was sensitively harvested from Bella Coola and estimated to be 745 years old. These feature type posts are one of Pioneers trademark signatures. Natural forked posts, nature's oddities become beauties in this structure demonstrating Pioneers Artisans ability to let the natural logs and their uniqueness determine the final design and true elements in the structure.
Wood Truss System
Durfeld’s unique engineered wood truss system covers the main exhibit area in the rear of the building, creating a spacious venue for the Centre’s range of displays. The creation of each of these truss chords was adapted from European traditional timber framing techniques where larger diameter timbers were not always available and so the solution was to put 2 or more timbers together to provide an incredibly strong beam; a technique rarely even seen in Europe anymore. The steel elements tie the truss together and provide the tensile strength to the bottom chord of the truss; they also give the truss a lighter and more modern feel.