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Canadian Rockies

Where to Dine in Jasper this Summer

May 30, 2016
By Where writers

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Patios with Peak Views
Summer is all about enjoying fresh mountain air in the great outdoors. Pair your peaks with delicious food at these restaurants.

Earls offers daily brunch and upstairs balcony views of Roche Bonhomme (Old Man Mountain), a popular locals’ scramble. Those with a sweet tooth can savour a fresh pastry on Maligne Lake Chalet’s three-tier lake overlook as you watch the light sparkle on Charlton and Unwin peaks.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s Emerald Lounge patio features views of Lac Beauvert, the golf course and Whistlers Mountain, and a summer drink menu. After a day of adventures, head to The Pines’ patio and refuel on a bison burger as you admire Pyramid Mountain, most impressive when drenched in evening alpenglow.

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Latte Art
Need a pick me up after a day on the trails? Head to Snowdome Café for a treat with flair. Graceful designs on latte tops require the tawny espresso crema layer to be expertly combined with velvety steamed milk. “The real skill is controlling the milk pour,” says owner Shelley Koebel. “One of my baristas does dragons and peacocks.”

Kimchi House

Kimchi House

Korean Cuisine
Jasper has fantastic Canadian cuisine, but the town also boasts great international restaurants. Kimchi House owner Monica An offers some of Jasper’s most genuine hospitality. Her savoury-sauced Korean specialties are served in stone hot pots and sizzling cast iron plates. Stainless steel chopsticks add to the presentation.

Becker's Gourmet Restaurant

Becker’s Gourmet Restaurant

Evening to Savour
Embrace the pace of mountain life. “Dining at Becker’s Gourmet Restaurant is all about taking your time,” says executive chef Kami Cochrane. Prepared-to-order dishes range from vegan and gluten-free Agedashi tofu and eggplant to chimichurri-sauced Canadian striploin steak with lobster tail.

While you wait, admire the Mount Kerkeslin view with a glass of organic Summerhill pinot noir from BC’s Okanagan Valley.

See more Jasper restaurants.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

Iconic Adventures: Gondolas & Glaciers

Activities you’ll cross off your bucket list with ease

May 25, 2016
By Afton Aikens with notes from Where writers

In the Canadian Rockies we take our cues from the mountains—we go big. We also get creative. Our tour operators offer activities that allow everyone to explore our wild alpine playground. We’ll get you to the summit; you choose whether you want to ride, fly or climb.

Banff Gondola

Banff Gondola

Glide to Gorgeous Views
Above treeline, peaks stud the skies and wildlife bask on slopes. Hop a sightseeing lift to the mountaintop and watch the terrain below expand. Observation decks, hiking trails and interpretive programs await.

After a $26-million renovation of the upper terminal, the Banff Gondola is back in full operation August 1. Marvel at views of Cascade and Rundle mountains, and the fairytale-esque Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Bighorn sheep greet you on the boardwalk stroll to the historic Cosmic Ray Station. “Now with an expansive interpretive area and immersive theatre, plus new food offerings, this is a premiere family destination,” says the gondola’s Michelle Gaudet.

At Mount Norquay, take the refurbished 1952 North American Chairlift to boardwalk views of Mount Rundle and the Banff townsite. Visit the Cliffhouse Bistro at 2,133 m (6,998 ft) where Marilyn Monroe once dined. Thrill-seekers can embark on a guided Via Ferrata climb, a former Where magazine Best New Attraction.

Lake Louise Summer Gondola (Photo Credit: Lake Louise Ski Resort)

Lake Louise Summer Gondola (Photo Credit: Lake Louise Ski Resort)

Farther west, ascend Mount Whitehorn over grizzly habitat aboard the Lake Louise Gondola. At 2,088 m (6,850 ft), get a stunning bird’s eye view of Victoria Glacier, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and its aquamarine namesake. Gaze across the valley at massive Mount Temple, stop at the Wildlife Interpretation Centre and take a guided walk.

In Jasper National Park, take the seven-minute SkyTram ride to the top of Whistlers Mountain. On Canada’s highest aerial tram, ‘flight attendants’ chat with up to 26 guests about the park’s history, geography and ecology. At 2,227 m (7,306 ft), see six mountain ranges and hike the Summit Trail. “You’ll be hiking above treeline in the alpine,” says manager Todd Noble. Fear not—the trail is enjoyed by all ages.

Does altitude give you an appetite? All lifts have dining at the top. Heading into BC? Try the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort with grizzly bear refuge.

Discover Fascinating Glaciers
Prefer to stay on terra firma? The Icefields Parkway that connects Lake Louise to Jasper traces the spine of the Continental Divide. Of the 100 glaciers that grace its western edge, the most famous is the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield. Embark on an epic adventure here.

Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier Icewalks

Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier Icewalks

The ice is as deep as the Eiffel Tower is high, and its meltwaters feed the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The 215-sq km (83 sq mi) icefield continually changes. Millwells develop, crevasses open, seracs form, underground rivers flow and rock moves.

You can stroll the Toe of the Glacier Interpretive Trail, or take a guided Athabasca Glacier Icewalk atop this grand relic of the Ice Age. Brewster Ice Explorer all-terrain beasts journey over moraine and ice to the glacier headwall. In the last 125 years, the Athabasca Glacier has lost half its volume and receded by 1.5 km (.9 mi), up to 10 m (33 ft) annually. Climate change is evident here.

“The glacier’s erosive power affects much of what can be seen in the area,” says Brewster’s Anne Brouillette. “Everything from the creation of mountains to the turquoise colour of the lakes comes from this amazing process. The history of this landscape, although ancient, is still being written.”

Glacier-Skywalk

Glacier Skywalk (Photo Credit: Brewster Travel Canada)

Take the bus from the Glacier Discovery Centre to the Glacier Skywalk, a cliff-edge walkway where you peer down 280 m (920 ft) through a glass floor to the Sunwapta Valley base. This interpretive attraction has won awards for its architecture and engineering. The cantilevered platform is anchored at one end and suspended beyond the cliff allowing a thrilling view of peaks, glaciers and waterfalls. Pick up a handheld audio guide and stop at stations that interpret geology, biology and ecology.

See more Bow Valley and Jasper activities and tours.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

Banff’s New Bowling Alley

May 23, 2016

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Banff’s new retro-themed High Rollers is a must-visit this summer. This Banff Avenue hot spot hosts six 10-pin bowling lanes, bocce and foosball. It also happens to be a beer hall with delicious food.

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

“We wanted to build a place that was really fun with a unique social atmosphere and thought bowling was a good way for people of all ages to get together,” says operating partner Jordan Mendelman. “We followed the craft beer hall trend, but the bowling and games just take it to a new level.”

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

A neon outline of a retro bowler girl hangs over the entry stairs and each of the 48 draught taps is topped with a hand painted bowling pin. There is family style seating and a vintage DJ booth.

As for the bowling alley menu, quality is paramount. “I’ve always loved the huge New York style slices and this was really something we wanted to bring to Banff,” says Banff Hospitality Collective chef Liz Gagnon.

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

“Perfecting the dough was really important – it took a lot of trial and error but I’m really proud of what we’ve made.”

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

High Rollers’ menu features hand-stretched 18-inch ‘New York’ style pizzas piled high with fun toppings like mac ‘n’ cheese (our favourite) and The New Yorker that’s topped with sliced housemade meatballs, ricotta and pepperoncini. There are other classic bowling alley favourites like wings, nachos and a footlong slaw dog. Take-out is also available.

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

Photo by Orange Girl Photography

High Rollers is open daily from 11:30 am to 2 am with league night every Tuesday. Kids’ birthday parties, groups and private functions are welcomed.

See more Banff entertainment and dining options.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

Our Canmore Shopping List

April 25, 2016
By Afton Aikens, Ashley Materi & Jen Groundwater

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Blast from the Past
Five reasons we love the original antique postcards at Sunny Raven Gallery:

  • Cultural History: Images of tent camps, Swiss guides and railway cars give a glimpse into early 1900s life in the Canadian Rockies.
  • Labour of Love: Card makers hand coloured black and white images to bring scenes to life.
  • Environmental Insight: “I’ve had scientists and biologists buy early cards that show forest cover, and benchmark glacier recession,” says gallery owner Meg Nicks.
  • Communication Trends: Messages on early 1900s cards were written in small spaces on the front; only the address went on the back.
  • Creative Presentation: Nicks sells framed and unframed cards; choose how you want to display your piece of Canadian Rockies history.

Read more…

Centenarian Club: 8 Canadian Rockies Icons

April 18, 2016
By Afton Aikens
With notes from Jack Newton and Sara Samson

Don Frache, Cave and Basin

Don Frache, Cave and Basin

1. Cave and Basin: In 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) workers discovered thermal springs that had long been used by Aboriginal peoples at what is now this national historic site. An ownership dispute ensued, and in 1885 the federal government designated Banff Canada’s first national park.

Read more…

Underground Adventure: Caving in Canmore

April 15, 2016
By Afton Aikens

I never win anything, so it was a bit of a shock when I won a tour for two at a networking event that happened to be on my birthday.

The event was at the Canmore Cave Tours office. I had written about their tours before in Where Canadian Rockies and knew they had a great reputation, but frankly I wasn’t fond of the idea of crawling around in a cave. Ironically enough, a few minutes before I won the tour I’d been talking to the owner about my apprehension. He chuckled when my name was drawn.

Although I was uneasy about the tour, in my mind since I’d won there was no way I wouldn’t go—it was a reason to challenge myself, and I’m happy I did.

Canmore Cave Tour

“Everything is awesome when you’re down in a cave!” (Diana sang this little motivational song to help us out)

Read more…

Centenarian Club: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

April 11, 2016
By Afton Aikens

Peaks may be our claim to fame in the Canadian Rockies, but we’ve also got roots.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is nearing the end of its 100th year. The hotel has joined other celebrated institutions that have made it into the Centenarian Club.

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Lakeshore Luxury
In true Canadian tradition, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge began in June 1915 as a cluster of 10 tents on the shores of glacier-fed Lac Beauvert. The accommodation was known as Tent City, and the nightly rate was $2.50 to $3, or $15 to $18 for a week.

Read more…

Best Charcuterie Boards in the Canadian Rockies

April 5, 2016
By Ashley Materi

Charcuterie boards are a trendy, interactive way to share a meal. They allow you to sample cured meats, pâtés, cheeses, preserves and produce that complement one another. Plus there’s a bonus—charcuterie pairs great with wine!

Grapes Wine Bar at the Fairmont Banff Springs is an excellent choice for charcuterie. The former ‘Castle in the Rockies’ library now offers an elegant-yet-relaxed dining atmosphere. It’s perfect for a date night or intimate evening with friends.

By Ashley Materi

By Ashley Materi

Read more…

Spring Starts with Arts, Culture & Wellness in Banff

March 31, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

With an exciting line-up for Spring in Banff & Lake Louise, the area is blossoming for the new season. Waken your senses with art, music and wellness events from April 1 to May 31. There’s a colourful schedule, with plenty to stir your cultural appetite and put spring in your step.

Chris Flodberg

Chris Flodberg’s Pure Breed oil painting, part of the artist’s exhibition at The Whyte Museum

Start with something artistic. The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies has three new art exhibitions from April 2 to June 12. Chris Flodberg’s In Review, 1990 to 2014 showcases the best of this Calgary-born artist, whose work ranges from brooding landscapes to unique animal portraits. The Landscape of Ernest Lamarque: Artist, Surveyor and Renaissance Man, 1879-1970 conveys Western Canada as this trader experienced it. Or for something bolder, check out the David Foxcroft exhibition A Timely Survey featuring a vibrant collection of orderliness in disorder. Read more…

Get Creative in the Canadian Rockies

March 25, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Ashley Materi

Express your inner artist indoors and outdoors in the mountains this winter.

Silver Tree Studio, by Ashley Materi

Silver Tree Studio, by Ashley Materi

Community artsPlace
At Canmore’s new arts centre, all ages and skill levels get to be creative “in ways that will inspire and maybe surprise them,” says artsPlace director Jeremy Elbourne. One-day performing and visual arts workshops are tourist-friendly. Our glass-fusing workshop provided instruction, materials and space we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access; and we made six pretty plates!

Read more…

Jasper Shops: 4 Favourites

March 21, 2016
By Afton Aikens, Ashley Materi & Jack Wennot

DorotheeRosen_Onefooterring_w_stone

1. Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont: Three Canadian jewellers are featured here, including Dorothée Rosen. Gallery associate Sarah Budd says Rosen’s rings are “graceful and comfortable to wear.”

Read more…

Indoor Fun in Banff & Canmore

March 15, 2016
By Where Writers

Read on for some of our favourite places to escape chilly weather.

FenlandsDSC_8950

The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre: Get your ice time in at public skates Sunday to Thursday. The $20 drop-in learn-to-curl class (Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm) includes gear.

The Banff Centre: See top international talent at a music, dance or theatre performance. Coming up soon (March 26), Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star: Truth & Reconciliation portrays a First Nations woman in a life of youthful excess.

Read more…