“Pic of the Week”, July 19, 2019: Indian Trading Post, Banff

02 Indian Trading Post, Banff

One of the classic places to visit in the Banff townsite, within Banff National Park, is the Indian Trading Post.  It has been around since 1903 and was originally called the “Sign of the Goat Curio Shop”.  It’s one of those places that hasn’t changed much during the years.  

Situated on the bank of the Bow River, it is removed from the busy touristy part of Banff.  The exterior decorative items are interesting, but not as interesting as what you find when you enter the shop.

The walls of the shop are a museum of taxidermy, with a large variety of local species on display.  Initially dealing primarily in furs, the shop now sells mostly First Nations (Aboriginal) handicrafts.  These include items like …

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“Pic of the Week”, May 10, 2019: Miners’ Union Hall, Canmore

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The first Europeans to live and work in the Rocky Mountains were hunters and miners.  Canada’s Rocky mountains are rich in minerals and the Canmore region — just south of Banff — has especially good coal deposits. 

The Canmore Miners’ Union Hall has been part of this community for more than a century and the building is one of the oldest in the town.  Completed in 1913, it was built to serve as the union office for local coal miners.  The building was one of the first in town to have electric lights.  The miners union helped improve working conditions, safety and miners’ wages.  

Coal mining has ceased in Alberta and the mining jobs have also disappeared, so there is no need for a …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 25, 2019: Bow Valley Provincial Park

04 Bow River PP

Alberta has a fine network of provincial parks (analogous to American state parks).  One of these is situated just east of the Alberta Rocky mountains on the banks of the Bow River as it makes its way from Banff to Calgary and ultimately to Hudson’s Bay.
 
The park has several campgrounds which are very popular during the summer months.  It provides excellent access to Banff and Canmore, and is also not that far from Calgary.   The park also offers some easy hiking trails that provide a nice way to explore the terrain of the Rocky mountain foothills.
 
We parked at Middle Lake and explored many of the trails in the area — Middle Lake, Moraine and

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Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

35-02 Cave and Basin (58)

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is a small site just outside the town of Banff, but is important to Canadians because it was a catalyst to the formation of Canada’s first national park, Banff National Park.

Historic aspects

The Cave and Basin is the lowest of nine sulphurous hot springs, arranged in three groups, on Banff’s Sulphur Mountain.  The water is heated geothermally at a depth of about 3 km (2 mi) and escapes to the surface at these sites.  The Cave and Basin is the only natural cavern in the area big enough to comfortably accommodate groups of people.

Humans have inhabited this region for at least 10,000 years, back to the retreat of the massive …

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Signs of Banff

04 Signs of Banff

Banff is the premier resort town of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  Nestled on the leeward side of the Continental Divide, it became a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century when the Canadian Pacific Railroad first laid tracks and built tourist resorts in and around Banff.

Today’s Banff is much larger than the Banff I remember visiting as a boy a half century ago.  It still has great historic alpine charm and is in a magnificent natural setting, but during the summer the place is crowded with tourists –mostly Asian tourists  (Japanese especially) but with lots of Europeans (Germans mostly).  People who live in Alberta value and respect their visitors but tend to avoid the Banff townsite during the summer …

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A visit to the Historic Banff Springs Hotel

09 Banff Springs Hotel

Situated in the heart of beautiful Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs stands like a castle dominating the pretty alpine town of Banff, Alberta.  Nestled between Mt. Rundle, Tunnel Mountain and Sulphur Mountain, it offers some of the best alpine scenery in the world.  It’s just a short 10 minute stroll from the hotel along the beautiful Bow River to the Banff townsite, where a large number of shops, restaurants and other services are located.

Fairmont Banff Springs is a year-round luxury resort that offers access to activities as diverse as horse-back riding and golf, to superb skiing in the winter.  The hotel has been serving guests for more …

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The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.

06b Banff Museum 08-2015

Today we’re going to visit Western Canada’s oldest Natural History Museum, the quirky yet fascinating Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.   I first visited this museum as a boy decades ago and it’s one of the few things around that hasn’t changed over the years.

Situated at a prime location in Banff, beside the Bow River at the corner of Buffalo St  and Banff Ave, there’s a large building constructed of logs, the Banff Park Museum.   It’s been declared a national historic site because the museum’s original exhibits are still on display, a collection reflecting an early (some might even say “primitive”) approach to the interpretation of Western Canada’s natural history.  Also, the architectural style and detailing of …

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Banff National Park: Hiking Tunnel Mountain

026 Tunnel Mountain Banff National Park

As summer is upon us, I thought  I’d feature another walk from the Canadian Rockies, this one directly accessible from downtown Banff on a trail that’s been around almost as long as Banff itself has.  The hike is up Tunnel Mountain, a misnamed place in that there is no tunnel and this “mountain” is really just a large hill when compared to the size and grandeur of the other Rocky Mountains peaks around it (it’s the smallest mountain by Banff, but definitely still a memorable peak).  There are wonderful views to be enjoyed from much of the trail, reason enough to make this a worthwhile hike.

The original name given to this peak by the natives was “Sleeping Buffalo Mountain” (because the …

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