Dating back to the era of 1883 when it is said three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled upon the caves containing hot springs on the Eastern slopes of the Alberta Rocky Mountains, I have to wonder what went through the minds of those three workers. You see, whenever I’m faced with the beauty of these natural phenomena I am left breathless. It is from that era Canada would name its first National Park – Banff National Park and the world’s third reaching 6,641 square kilometres of mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, and glaciers home to 53 species of mammals.
Little souvenir shops line the main streets of downtown Banff with a limited number of Hotels and Inns that will give you a piece of Banff in its woodsy and mountaineer’s architecture. To date, the famous Banff Springs Hotel continues to be the hotel of choice even after 125 years but is rallied by its counterparts of the Rimrock Hotel, the Banff International Hotel, and the Mont-Royal which continue to be hotels that stand the time of the National Park.
Restaurants meeting almost every culinary palette along with trails of pubs and nightlife meets a young hip lifestyle ubiquitous to this town. I find it all rather exciting and moved here myself in the Summer of 2012 with my family and if I haven’t mentioned it before its an excellent destination to raise a family. The pureness of fresh air and simpleness in lifestyle adds for a humbling but very enlightening beginning.
A few of my most loved attractions have got to be the ever beautiful Cascade Gardens, Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, Lake Minnawanka and the Columbia Icefields.
For my many die-hard slope loving friends this surely is one of the best places to enjoy the thrill of it all. I took to the lighter cross country trails and got all wrapped up in the unimaginable raw beauty of the hills. Attractions are everyday specials with many operators and getting a bird’s eye view of the Banff National Park is none other than a lift aboard the Brewster gondola.
I remember my two-year-old son being whisked away the gondola; he was so excited and didn’t seem to mind one bit being so high up in the air. The experience and view of surrounding mountains were worth the trip added to the wooden stairs that offered an exciting trail to the mountain peak. If you’re also a fan of the great western carriages, a sweet ride around Banff in an old-fashioned carriage with your very own horse and the big old wheels will be something to tickle your fancy.
These are quite popular with couples and families. Thousands come to witness these natural gifts that have stood the era of time and continue to amaze us. Winter brings with it a special and particular joy to the winter lovers. Ski slopes are filled with people from all over the world, tongue kissed snowflakes, ice rock climbing, lake skating, Husky sled riding and Holiday street festivals.
Not to mention a Christmas in Banff – is a Christmas indeed! The year-round Christmas store is evidence of that. Check it out the next time you stroll around Banff Avenue.