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Canadian Rockies

Where to Dine in Banff this Summer

June 24, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

Banff not only has spectacular views–the food is great, too. Check out these restaurants on your next visit.

Cliffhouse Bistro at Mount Norquay

Cliffhouse Bistro at Mount Norquay

Hidden Gems with Character
The woodlands hold Banff’s best-kept dining secrets. Head to Waldhaus at the Fairmont Banff Springs, a Bavarian-style ‘cottage’ by the Spray River (accessible from Bow Falls parking lot). Enjoy fare from Swiss fondue to pub favourites.

Find mountainside Three Ravens restaurant and wine bar on The Banff Centre campus. Stellar views pair with inventive cuisine like elk tartar and Haida Gwaii scallops.

Ride the North American chairlift to Cliffhouse Bistro at Mount Norquay, a retro dining venue and spectacular Town of Banff views. Try the duck wings with crisp noodles. Read more…

Evolution of Mountain Clothing

June 19, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

Hiking, climbing and horseback riding in the Canadian Rockies in 1900 looked very different from today. Bulky apparel has evolved and become more practical. Here, we compare historic styles to modern adventure-savvy wear.

Ernst Feuz & Georgia Engelhard on Mt. Victoria, Banff National Park, 1931. Photo courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.

Ernst Feuz & Georgia Engelhard on Mt. Victoria, Banff National Park, 1931. Photo courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.

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Canmore to Get New Hotel & Conference Centre

June 16, 2016

For the first time in 20 years ground has broken on a new traditional hotel in Canmore. A ground-breaking ceremony on June 1 marked the start of construction on this $37-million hotel and conference centre located in the Spring Creek Mountain Village neighbourhood downtown.

Spring Creek, Canmore

Left to right: Jason Ritchie for MP Blake Richards; Frank Kernick, developer, Spring Creek; John Borrowman, mayor, Town of Canmore; Andrew Nickerson, president and CEO, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, Bill Marshall, architect. (Photo: Naomi Witherick)

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Iconic Adventures: Horseback Rides & Lake Cruises

June 14, 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.

Photo Credit: Banff Trail Riders

Photo Credit: Banff Trail Riders

Horse Trips to the Backcountry

Horses provided essential transportation for Indigenous peoples, European settlers and early Banff and Jasper tourists. Visitors can still sightsee by saddle and horse-drawn carriage. Today’s horseback rides provide a link to our western heritage.

Take a trail ride for an hour or a day, or join a multi-day pack trip through remote mountain terrain with tent camp stays. At the end of each day satisfy your appetite with hearty campfire-kissed cuisine. New this year are Banff Trail Riders’ custom fishing trips to alpine lakes teeming with trout.

“The cool thing about fishing pack trips is the solitude at the lakes and riversthere’s nobody else there. The opportunity to explore that area is pretty unique,” says Banff Trail Riders’ owner Jonathan Welsh. Read more…

Canmore’s History on Display

June 9, 2016
By Afton Aikens

The Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre’s new permanent exhibit From Coal to Community showcases 125 years of Canmore’s history, from its railroad and coal mining roots to the 1988 Winter Olympics and tourism of today.

First Canmore school, 1896; photo courtesy of the Canmore Museum

First Canmore school, 1896; photo courtesy of the Canmore Museum

“Check out handwritten notes in the 1935 Canmore Hotel registry and the canary cage used in the mines,” suggests museum director Lachlan Mackintosh. Many of the exhibits and works of art are heirlooms donated by town residents.

“When there was a possibility of poisonous gas or low oxygen levels, as the didactic says, the canary would go in this little cage. There’s a mini oxygen canister at the top, so if the canary did keel over, which would indicate that the miners were in danger, they would open a valve and the canary would get a blast of pure oxygen that would resuscitate it.” Read more…

5 Ways to See Summer Sights in the Rockies

June 4, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Jack Wennot

Summer in the Canadian Rockies is truly majestic; visit and you’ll be hooked. Mountain air seems fresher and colours more vivid during this time of year. Here are some of our favourite ways to take it all in.

Healy Pass, Banff National Park

Healy Pass, Banff National Park

Hike Through Wildflower Meadows
Thanks to the Sunshine Meadows shuttle, hikers access alpine meadows ablaze with wildflowers with their first steps. I love the 7-km loop to Rock Isle, Larix and Grizzly lakes.

More ambitious is the 18-km (return) trek to Healy Pass. You can start at Sunshine Meadows, but I began at the Sunshine parking lot. Up top, the abundant red, purple, yellow and white flowers are matched only by the view of Scarab Lake and Scarab Falls tumbling into Egypt Lake.

In Kananaskis, the 4.5-km Ptarmigan Cirque loop rises to a carpet of wildflowers in late July. Watch for sheep in the meadow. Read more…

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. Read more…

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

Read more…

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. Read more…

Our Canmore Shopping List

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

IMG_2863-3

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.

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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)

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