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Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

Canada Day Weekend 2013 – Banff National Park

28 Jun

Celebrate Canada Day Weekend in the beautiful natural surroundings of Banff National Park.

Experience all the fun and festivities that Banff National Park has to offer with jam-packed schedules including the ever popular Canada Day parades, live entertainment, family activities, fireworks, and much more!

Entry to the national park on Canada Day is FREE to all visitors.

June 30

Banff ‘hearts’ Canmore Benefit for the Bow Valley

Brewster Travel Canada, in partnership with Discover Banff Tours, the Rimrock Resort Hotel and several local businesses, will be hosting a flood relief benefit at the Banff Gondola.

The fundraising event will run between 4-7 pm and include a variety of exciting activities, musical entertainment, a silent auction and refreshments. In addition, Brewster Travel Canada will also be offering rides on the Banff Gondola by donation in lieu of the normal ticket fee to all residents of the Bow Valley.

Fundraising Concert at the Shaw Ampitheatre

The Banff Centre presents “Classified with Zeus The Eerie Green and Elk Run and Riot” and will be collecting and matching donations for Bow Valley Flood Relief.  Doors open at 4pm.  Tickets available from The Banff Centre.


July 1, Banff

Town of Banff
8:00 – 10:00 am | Pancake Breakfast presented by Melissa’s & Banff Park Lodge
Lynx St. between Banff Park Lodge and Homestead Inn
10:30 am | Canada Day Sidewalk Art
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies5:00 – 6:30 pm | Canada Day Parade**
Banff Avenue
**Note road closures for this event.**Central Park

12:00 noon | Opening Ceremonies
12:25 pm | Singing of O Canada by Heather Jordan
12:30 pm | First Nations Blessing by The Hunt Family

1:00 pm | Family Fun Zone opens & Entertainment on the Gazebo stage

7:00 pm | Live music
11:00 pm |Fireworks, best views from Central Park

Full details available on Town of Banff’s website


July 1, Lake Louise

Lake Louise Rec Centre

8:30 – 10:30 am| Pancake Breakfast presented by the fire department

12:30 pm | Cake Cutting and Singing of  ‘O Canada’
12:30 – 3:30 pm | Family Fair incl. Magician show at 1:00 p.m., Face Painter, Bouncy Castle and BBQ until 2:00 p.m.

8:00 pm – 1:00 am | Evening Dance Party *over 18 only, no dogs allowed

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
9:00 – 9:15 am| Flag raising ceremony
9:15 – 10:00 am | Family Canoe Races

11:30 – 12:00 pm | Polar Bear Dip
12:00 – 4:00 pm | Children’s Play Zone

Lake Louise Village
10:00 – 2:00 pm| Celebrations at Samson Mall including traditional drumming, dancing, singing and food.
12:00 noon | Canada Day Parade
Village Road


Parking in the Town of Banff

The Town of Banff has launched a mobile website to help visitors find parking in town. Visit banffparking.ca to view the available parking spots, directions and time frames.

Source: Banff Lake Louise Tourism

 

Free upgrade to SilverLeaf & GoldLeaf Service

06 May

Rocky Mountain Holidays have just released a free rail upgrade promotion. For a limited time, book a qualifying Rocky Mountaineer holiday package of four nights or more and receive a free rail seat upgrade on select dates in 2013. Space is limited and availability changes daily.

The Rocky Mountaineer train departs from Banff and so can easily be integrated into your Banff National Park vacation plans. This spectacular 2-day rail journey will take you through to Vancouver (with an overnight in Kamloops). It is the only all-day sightseeing train which travels through the Canadian Rockies. There are 3 levels of onboard service available: RedLeaf, SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf.

For more information on this limited time free rail service upgrade promotion, be sure to check out the Rocky Mountaineer deals on RockyMountainHolidays.com. This offer is expected to end by sometime next month (June 2013) and is subject to availability.

All aboard!

 

Official Banff National Park Website

30 Apr

Question: Which website is the “official” website for Banff National Park?

As the snow melts and the temperatures start to rise here in Western Canada, it is time to start planning your spring, summer and fall vacations to beautiful Banff National Park. With so much information on the internet with varying degrees of accuracy, depending on the website owner’s intentions, where do you start?

Banff in Banff National Park

Firstly, don’t just submit your information to every website you come across. It is always best to call for information as most reputable companies are able to provide detailed Banff National Park information over the phone. If you are satisfied with the knowledge of the agent you spoke to about Banff National Park, and require more information, then submit your information through their website. Whenever you see the offer of things that are “FREE” without you having to book anything or part with any money, you have to ask yourself if this is really the case? Why would a company, out of their own pocket, send you something for “free”? This is one technique some website owners may use to harvest your personal information.

This brings me onto my next recommendation when looking up information on Banff National Park. The following three (3) OFFICIAL websites relating to Banff National Park offer up-to-date and accurate information. These websites should provide all the information you need to plan a successful stay in beautiful Banff National Park.

  • www.pc.gc.ca – This is the OFFICIAL website for all National Parks in Canada including Banff National Park. It is the official Banff National Park website and contains up-to-date information including trail updates. There is also an information centre located right in the centre of Banff at 224 Banff Avenue.
  • www.banff.ca – This is the OFFICIAL website of the Town of Banff. The information on this website is true and factual and includes information such as the Banff Roam transit schedule.
  • www.banfflakelouise.com – This is the OFFICIAL website for Banff and Lake Louise tourism in Banff National Park. This is an excellent website for viewing up-to-date information such as events in Banff and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

These three websites should be your “go-to” sites to start your Banff vacation planning.

I hope you find this information useful and for many of you, clarified which sites are, in fact, “official” for Banff National Park. Feel free to contact us or post comments below if you require any further clarification or assistance. I have been helping guests with their Banff vacations for well over 10 years.

 

 

6 of the Best – Banff Bars

18 Aug

I’d like to introduce our guest blogger, Nick Coates. He wrote the following article for us based on his bar experiences in Banff. Here are his top six Banff bars:

Melissa’s
Home of the infamous $2.75 high ball, Mel’s is a lively bar with a great atmosphere. A firm favourite with both Banff locals and visitors alike due to its chameleon nature; Mel’s is a sports bar, steak house, and party bar all rolled into one!
The ground floor restaurant serves up huge slabs of meat, chargrilled to perfection, while the 2nd Floor bar caters for all your sport watching and party needs. It’s also a great spot to pick up breakfast if you’re feeling a little fragile the next day!
Quick tip: don’t forget to tip the barman if you want to get served quickly and never ask to change the channel from Ice Hockey!

The Storm Cellar
Situated on the ground floor of the Banff Alpine Lodge at Tunnel Mountain, this lively bar is a firm favourite with young travellers and locals alike. Offering some of the most reasonably priced drinks in town along with regular open mic and karaoke nights, this lively little bar is the perfect place to start a night out in Banff. There’s also a darts board, table football, big screen TV, and an Ice Climbing wall outside. So if you’re feeling adventurous why not see if you can scale this icy behemoth… just leave the beers for afterwards!

Trapper’s
This lively mountain bar can be found at the top of the Sunshine Village high speed gondola. Trapper’s boasts some of the finest food available on mountain; serving up huge plates of Nachos, delicious pulled pork sandwiches, as well as all the usual Canadian favourites. It’s also perfect for sunny days on the hill thanks to its extensive outdoor seating area and sun terrace.
There’s really no better place to grab a cold one after a hard day’s riding with your buddies!

Wild Bill’s Saloon
One of Banff’s more lively venues, Wild Bill’s hosts regular live music nights with both local and international acts passing through on a regular basis. As the name suggests there’s a bit of a western vibe going on here, where else can you cattle roping in the mountains?! So if you fancy playing cowboy/cowgirl for a night or just want to check out some awesome live bands head on down to Wild Bill’s! They also throw a mean Superbowl party…

The Dancing Sasquatch
Not only is this nightclub the number one contender for our “Best named club in the world. Ever” award, it’s also a great place for a night out. With local and international DJ’s gracing the decks playing the very best in Dubstep, Hip-hop, Techno and everything in between coupled with unbeatable drinks deals the Dancing Sasquatch is definitely the place to party after hours in Banff!

Aurora Nightclub
The other of Banff’s nightclubs, with a relaxed atmosphere and some of Canada’s finest DJs passing through Aurora is a great place to party. Complete with pool tables and its own take-away pizza stand Aurora ticks all the boxes for a great night out! It also throws a killer Australia Day party for all you Aussies out there!

The author, Nick Coates, recommends SnowSkool for snowboard instructor courses

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Rocky Mountaineer Record Departure

30 Sep

The Rocky Mountaineer train departing tomorrow from Vancouver, October 1st 2010, is the company’s largest departure in their history, and will set a record for the largest passenger rail train in North American history – a total of 1331 guests!

Rocky Mountaineer Record Departure

This will be one of the last Rocky Mountaineer train departures for 2010 but 2011 Rocky Mountaineer packages are now available for booking with early-bird savings of up to $1,400 per couple.

 

Canada Day in Banff – July 2010

24 Jun

With just one week to go until Canada Day on July 1st, we thought we should update you with what is going on in Banff!


What is Canada Day?

Canada Day is Canada’s birthday! Canada was established as a self governing country in 1867 making Canada 143 years old next week on July 1st 2010.


What is happening in Banff on Canada Day?

There will be lots going on across the country – here is what will be happening in Banff (hosted by Parks Canada):

– 9:00am – 10:30am. Pancake breakfast at the Parks Administration Building, 101 Mountain Avenue.

– 12:00 – 5:00pm. The celebrations including live entertainment will continue at Central Park.

– 5:00pm Canada Day Parade

– 6:30pm – 11:00pm. More live entertainment and fun to be had at Central Park. Fireworks finale at 11:00pm.

With Banff National Park also celebrating it’s 125th anniversary, this Canada Day in Banff is set to be a really awesome day for all.


More Information:

– Entry into Banff National Park is free on July 1st!

Banff weather forecast is predicting sunny skies and temperatures close to 30°C (86°F).

– More information can be found on Parks Canada’s website: www.parkscanada.gc.ca


More Details from Town of Banff:

9 – 11 a.m.
Parks Canada Pancake Breakfast
Parks Canada Admin Grounds
$3 per person

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sidewalk Art
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Community Art Committee Sidewalk Art
Banff Town Hall

Noon
Central Park Activities Commence

5 – 6:15 p.m.
Banff Canada Day Parade
Banff Avenue

6:30 – 11 p.m.
Central Park Entertainment

11 p.m.
Banff Canada Day Fireworks
View from Central Park or Bow Avenue

Central Park Activities

  • 12 noon Opening Ceremonies
  • 12:30 p.m. The Hunt Family – Stoney First Nations Dance
  • 1 p.m. Mountain Raks Belly Dancers
  • 1:30 p.m. Alberta Zirka Ukrainian Performers
  • 2 p.m. Steve Harmer’s Motivational Magic
  • 2:30 p.m. Banff’s Stupid Pet Tricks
  • 3 p.m. Parks Canada Mountain Wit Theatre
  • 3:30 p.m. Banff Springs Hotel Filipino Dancers
  • 6:30 p.m. Calgary Fiddlers
  • 7:15 p.m. Keith Hitchner & Highwood – Country
  • 8 p.m. Suds – Country/Rock
  • 9 p.m. Suzie Q – High Energy Hits
  • 10 p.m. Boneyard – Banff’s Local Rockers
  • 11 p.m. Fireworks Finale

What to Bring:

  • lawn chair(s) or blanket(s)
  • sunscreen and hat
  • an umbrella! – this event is “rain or shine”
  • cash – no debit or credit cards will be accepted on site
  • Share the spirit! Bring flags or wear shirts or hats sporting the maple leaf!

Banff Canada Day Parade Maps

Banff Canada Day Parade Route Map

Banff Canada Day Parade Map - Downtown

 

Banff Horseback Rides 2010

20 May

All Banff horseback rides are now operating for spring/summer/fall 2010. Giddy up and get yourself out here!

 

Bow Falls Photos, Banff

07 Apr

The Bow Falls in Banff are a must for a photo stop. They are located just below the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and can be easily found when you drive up on Spray Avenue towards the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. You turn left on Rundle Avenue at the traffic lights. Most group tours include the Bow Falls in their sights, but if you are driving yourself, you may want to use the Gypsy Guide for guidance.

I like stopping at the Bow Falls in Banff as they look so different at different times of the year. Here are a few pictures below to give you a idea of what to expect!

This photo was taken November 28 2006. This was a particularly cold start to the winter season so they almost froze over completely.Bow Falls, Banff - November 2006

The photo below was taken in June 2007 when a sudden increase in temperature caused a large amount of snowmelt to drain into the Bow River.

Bow Falls, Banff - June 2007 Flood

The photo below was taken on June 26 2006 when there was a lot of meltwater from the glaciers and snowmelt.

June 2006

This photo was taken on June 15 2008 for comparison. At this time of year, the Bow Falls always have a good volume of water.

Bow Falls, Banff, June 2008

This photo below was taken on November 26 2006. This was a very cold day and you can see the “steam” rising from the cold waters of the Bow River.

Bow Falls in Winter - December 2006

This is a typical photo in the fall / autumn time. With the colder nights, the glaciers start to release less meltwater causing the Bow River levels to be low.

Bow Falls in the summer, Banff

 

Bear safety in Banff National Park

06 Apr

Banff is in the wild and beautiful Banff National Park and so there may be a chance that you are lucky enough to see a bear.

There are two types of bears here: the black bear and the grizzly (or brown) bear. Don’t let the names fool you, you may see a brown or cinnamon coloured “black bear” like the cub with her mother photographed below:

Black Bear, Brown Cub photo

Black Bear

A Black Bear in Banff National Park

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear in Banff National ParkThe grizzly bear can be identified by it’s distinctive hump on the back of it’s neck.

A grizzly bear is also larger than a black bear.

Each year, people get too close to wildlife especially bears. I personally have seen families stand in front of a bear cub on the side of the road to take pictures. This is not fair for the bear, especially the mother who is watching and may decide to protect her cub at anytime.

Please don’t put bears, or any other wildlife, in this position, it simply isn’t fair.

The bear safety information below has been sourced through Parks Canada:


What should I do if I see a BEAR?

If you are driving: stay in your car, and consider not stopping.

If you are not in a vehicle:

  • Stay calm. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose about, it is trying to identify you. Remain still and talk calmly so that it knows you are human and not a prey animal. Bears may also bluff charge: run toward you and turn away at the last moment. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack.
  • Pick up children, stay in a group.
  • Back away slowly, don’t run.
  • Leave the area. If this is impossible, wait until the bear leaves; make sure it has an escape route.

To reduce your risk of a surprise encounter:

  • Make noise. Clap, sing or yell to announce your presence, especially where a bear might not otherwise smell, hear or see you coming. (Bear bells are not very effective.)
  • Travel in groups, on established trails, and during daylight hours.
  • Minimize odours by proper storage of food, garbage and toiletries.
  • Leave the area if you see a bear or fresh tracks, droppings, diggings; or if you come across a large dead animal (a bear may be nearby).

If you surprise a bear and it defends itself:

Use bear spray if you have it. PLAY DEAD, let it know you are not a threat: lie on stomach with legs apart, cover back of head and neck with hands, keep pack on to protect your back.

If a bear stalks you and then attacks, or attacks at night:

Try to escape, use bear spray if you have it. FIGHT BACK, let it know that you are not easy prey. (This kind of predatory attack is very rare.)


After many on-foot bear encounters myself with both black and grizzly bears, the best form of defence is avoidance. If you make lots of noise by talking loudly to your hiking friends, you are very likely not going to see a bear. Be aware of bear presence (scat/faeces), damage to vegetation etc. and leave the area. If you are unable to leave the area, make lots of noise.

Guides are easily available so if you are not comfortable hiking in the wilderness then local experts can certainly take good care of you.

rocky-peak Holidays is a local company based in Canmore, just 5 minutes outside of Banff National Park and can help you find a suitable guide. There are also group hiking tours available.

Have you had a bear encounter you would like to share with us and our readers? Please post it below!

 

Banff Horseback Rides

01 Apr
The sun is out and the horses are back in town! Time to saddle up and head out for the Bow River Ride!

Banff Horseback Tour

Opening tomorrow! (April 2nd 2010)

This 1-hour trail ride travels through the woodland, along the Bow River and loops around the marsh.  This ride will depart hourly daily starting at 10am with the last one departing at 5pm.

Reservations are recommended for this ride and you can call +1-403-609-0286 (1-888-747-6259 North America / 0800-567-7542 U.K.) to speak with a local reservations agent.  The cost is $40 per rider and payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

Please check in at Warner Stables 10 minutes before your ride’s scheduled departure time.  The stables are located at the end of Sundance Road just off Cave Avenue. No shuttle service provided.  Gloves and hats are highly recommended for this time of year!

For more Banff Horseback Riding Tours, contact us at Banff Holidays.

 
 
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