She’s owned a national historic tea house for 57 years — now Parks Canada is forcing her out

Stephanie BabychStephanie Babych

Fran Drummond was locked out of her Twin Falls Chalet in Yoho National Park after it was leased, but is back for what may be her final year

The long-term operator of the Twin Falls Chalet returned to the tea house Saturday for her 57th and potentially final season of operations.

Fran Drummond received permission to operate the chalet for the 2019 season during a meeting with Parks Canada on Friday, after being locked out on July 1. However, the agreement requires Drummond to vacate the tea house by the end of the year and apply in a competitive process for a further licence of occupation. Fran’s niece, Jessica Drummond, said it isn’t the outcome they were hoping for.

“Fran is upset. I spoke with her when she was about to hike in on Saturday and she was up until 5:45 a.m. the night before because she’s distressed,” said Jessica.

“She’s poured her whole life into this.”

Fran was locked out of the national historic tea house in Yoho National Park after Parks Canada deemed the status of her previous licence of occupation “not in good standing.” After Friday’s meeting, Parks Canada changed her status to “in good standing,” giving her the chalet key and necessary authorizations to operate for the remainder of the season.

In a statement to Postmedia, Parks Canada said they “strive to deal with all operations in a fair and transparent manner.”

Opening it up for a competitive public bid is an established practice by the federal government, according to Parks Canada.

“Twin Falls Chalet will not be open in 2020 in order to provide sufficient time for Parks Canada to manage the competitive process and to make any required repairs or improvements to the facility.”

Fran has lost two weeks of operation but Jessica is confident the reservations will book up with people visiting Fran for what could be her final season at the tea house. The outpouring of support in the form of emails, Facebook posts and phone calls for Fran has overwhelmed Jessica, who took to social media to raise funds for Fran’s legal fees and spread an online petition.


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