Tag: Banff Alberta

Banff, Alberta

A- Overview:
Truly one of the most scenic and breathtaking locations on earth, Banff offers a glimpse of what the world was like thousands of years ago. Located within Banff National Park in Western Canada, in the province of Alberta, this small town of 7000 is alive with activity. Each year, millions of visitors come to Banff to marvel at the emerald waters of Lake Louise, walk among the flower-filled havens at Sunshine Meadows, and drive beneath the towering jagged peaks lining the Icefields Parkway. While the park engages its visitors with snow-capped peaks, glistening glaciers and sweeping vistas, visitors can enjoy all the comforts of home in the town of Banff and its neighbor, Lake Louise, or step out into the wilderness to visit the home of some of North America’s wildest creatures, including grizzly bears, caribou and wolves.

Banff is accessible by way of a picturesque 90-minute drive on the all-weather, four lane Trans-Canada Highway 1 from Calgary. There is no need to worry about what to wear when you get there, as casual dress is the norm. In summer, bring a raincoat, warm sweater, hat, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses. In spring, summer and fall, a light coat or warm jacket may be required, particularly at higher altitudes. In winter, a heavy coat, winter boots, hat, gloves or mittens and warm clothing are essential. Sunscreen is essential in any season. With four very distinct seasons, there is something to see and do whenever your plans bring you to the area. Daytime high average temperatures range from -7C (19F) in January to +9C (49F) in April and provide generally favorable ski conditions throughout the season. A relatively dry climate is responsible for the unbeatable Rocky Mountain powder snow. Keep in mind, the warm Chinook winds can often bring spring-like temperatures, even in mid-winter.

As part of Banff National Park, the city of Banff is rich in historical sites, museums, great food to enjoy and numerous other things to do, but it is the scenery that brings visitors back time and again. Banff National Park is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system and is alive with a landscape rich in wildlife and history. No two views are the same, and each creates its own individual memory.

For a great view of the city, be sure to take a ride on the Banff Gondola. Its motto is: of “see more mountains in a moment than most see in a lifetime”. This 8-minute ride transports visitors to outstanding views from 7,486 feet above sea level.

Another must see attraction is the Columbia Icefield. While only accessible from spring until mid-fall, this massive field of ancient ice covers 125 square miles and reaches depths estimated at 1299 feet. Straddling the Continental Divide, the Icefield feeds three of the continents major river systems: the Columbia, Mackenzie and Saskatchewan. Meltwaters from the Icefield flow to three different oceans: the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. Called a hydrological apex, it is one of only two in the world that feeds three oceans. It is truly an unforgettable adventure.

For a little indoor activity, try Canada Place. Located in town, the interactive exhibit on the promenade level captures the attention of everyone.

There you can enjoy touch screens, real birch bark canoes, open secret doors, and experience actual recording studios.

To relax those tired muscles after a hard day of sightseeing, consider a visit to Banff Upper Hot Springs. It has all the amenities of a modern facility, featured in a splendid, historic spa and bath house.

Whatever the reason and whatever the season, this truly remarkable, picturesque, quaint, exhilarating, town has something for everyone. You won’t want to forget your camera for a personal adventure with nature.

B- City Information:
Population: 7,000 but during the peak season its population swells to over 50,000 people.

Elevation: 1,383 m (4,537 feet)

Location: Located in the southwestern part of Canada, approximately 80 miles west of Calgary on Trans-Canada Highway #1

Time Zone: Mountain Time Zone. Daylight Savings Time is in effect from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October.

Weather:

Average Temperatures:

High
Low

January
-5.3 C
23 F
-14.9 C
5 F

February
0.1 C
30 F
-11.3 C
12 F

March
3.8 C
38 F
-7.9 C
16 F

April
9.0 C
48 F
-2.8 C
27 F

May
14.2 C
55 F
1.5 C
34 F

June
18.7 C
66 F
5.4 C
41 F

July
22.1 C
71 F
7.4 C
45 F

August
21.6 C
70 F
6.8 C
44 F

September
16.1 C
60 F
2.7 C
38 F

October
10.1 C
50 F
-1.1 C
31 F

November
0.5 C
30 F
-8.2 C
16 F

December
-5.3 C
23 F
-13.8 C
5 F

Average Snowfall:

10 Year Average
240 cm
94 inches

20 Year Average
235 cm
92.5 inches

Local Seasons:

Daytime highs on average range from -7C (19F) in January to +9C (49F) in April providing generally favourable ski conditions throughout the ski season. Keep in mind the warm Chinook winds can often bring spring-like temperatures, even in mid-winter. The climate is relatively dry and is responsible for the unbeatable Rocky Mountain powder snow.

What to Wear:

Casual dress is the norm in Banff. In summer, bring a raincoat, warm sweater, hat, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses. In spring, summer and fall, a light coat or warm jacket may be required, particularly at higher altitudes. In winter, a heavy coat, winter boots, hat, gloves or mittens and warm clothing are essential.

Currency:

Visitors to Banff/Lake Louise are advised to use Canadian currency. For best rates, exchange money at Canadian Chartered Banks, Credit Unions, or currency exchange outlets situated throughout Banff and Lake Louise. Cash machines (ATM) are available for direct withdrawal of funds from your bank account. Major credit cards including VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted by most establishments.

Getting There:

By Air:

Calgary International Airport

2000 Calgary Airport Road NE
Calgary, Alberta, T2E 6W5
403-735-1200

Located approximately 125km/75 miles from Banff

The airport is served by most of the major airlines as well as certain regional and charter services.

By Car:

Banff town site is 120 km (75 mi.) west of Calgary city limits and 16 km (10 mi.) west of Banff Park gate. To reach Banff follow the, all-weather, four lane Trans-Canada Highway 1 from Calgary to Banff. Driving time is under 90 minutes. Lake Louise is 58 km (35 mi.) west of Banff.

Airport Shuttles and Charters

Scheduled and charter van and motorcoach services connect Banff and Lake Louise with Calgary Airport and downtown Calgary throughout the day.

Contact:

Banff Airporter
403-762-3330

Brewster Airport Service
403-762-6767

Rocky Mountain Sky Shuttle
403-762-5200

Rental cars are available within Calgary, at the airport and other locations. The following car rental companies are located in Banff:

Getting Around:

Many activities and attractions in Banff are within easy walking distance (within 20 minutes) from the centre of town. The following public transportation is also available:

Traveling Between Banff and Lake Louise
The most direct route between Banff and Lake Louise is the Trans-Canada Highway 1, a distance of 54 km (32 miles). Visitors also have the option of traveling between Banff and Lake Louise via the scenic Bow Valley Parkway Highway 1A, the Highway 1A turn-off is approximately ten minutes west of Banff on Hwy 1.

Banff Transit (a/k/a the Happy Bus):

Daily bus service between the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, town centre, Tunnel Mountain hotels (to the campground in summer) and along Banff Avenue.

Hours: Vary seasonally

Fee Charged

During the summer (May 1 to September 30) visitors can avoid busy parking areas in the centre of Banff by leaving their vehicles at the RV parking at the north end of Banff Avenue and catching the Happy Bus into town.

Taxicabs:

A number of taxi companies service the Banff area 24 hours a day. Taxis may be found at numerous taxi stands along main avenues or hailed on the street.

Banff Gondola & Upper Hot Springs

The Banff Gondola and the Upper Hot Springs are approximately 4.2 km (2.5 miles) uphill from the center of town, about an hour’s walk.

Ski Shuttles

Throughout the winter numerous ski shuttles are available for transportation between most Banff hotels and the three ski areas Ski Banff @ Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise.

National Holidays:

New Years Day January 1

Good Friday Varies

Easter Monday Varies

Victoria Day Monday preceding May 25

Canada Day July 1 The Holidays Act provides that July 2 is Canada Day

when July 1 is a Sunday.

Labour Day First Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day Second Monday of October

Remembrance Day November 11

Christmas Day December 25

Boxing Day December 26

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Banff Upper Hot Springs

101 Mountain Avenue

Banff, AB T1L 1K2

403-762-1515

Hours: Open year round, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

All the amenities of a modern facility are featured in this splendid, historic spa and bath house. It features an outdoor hot pool, day spa, and email kiosk. Swimsuits, towels and locker rentals are available.

Cave & Basin Hot Springs

311 Cave Avenue

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

403-762-4900

Hours: Center open year round, swimming pool open mid-June to Labour Day

Historic and geological displays reveal the effects of the warm sulphur water on the flora and fauna of the area. Interpretative displays and self-guiding trails.

Cave & Basin National Historic Site

311 Cave Ave.

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

Hours: Summer, 9am – 6pm, otherwise: Mon. – Fri., 11am – 4pm, Sat. – Sun., 9:30am – 5pm

Admission Charged

The Cave & Basin National Historic Site is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system. Exhibits, guided tours and the film Steam, Schemes & National Dreams recount how the discovery of the Cave and Basin springs led to the creation of Banff National Park, Canada’s first. See the Cave & Basin springs, replica 1887 bathhouse and grand bathing pavilion.

Canada Place

101 Mountain Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

In Park Administration Building at the end of Banff Avenue

403-760-1338

Hours: Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Free, Admission Charged for CN IMAX Theatre

Canada Place, a mixed-use commercial facility, is home to the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Pan Pacific Hotel, Cruise Ship Terminal, The CN IMAX Theatre, World Trade Centre Office Complex and Citipark parking facility. The CN IMAX Theatre offers spectacular films featuring themes such as outer space, Canadian wildlife and other natural wonders using a giant 5-story high screen. Explore the “Promenade Into History”, a self guided tour of forty-four educational and interesting plaques describing in detail historical moments that take you back in time while you watch the harbour activities and views.

Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

91 Banff Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

Hours: Open May 15 – Sept 30 10am – 6pm; Oct – mid May 1 – 5pm

Admission Charged

One of Western Canada’s oldest natural history museums is the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site. The elegant 1903 building is a showpiece of architecture and natural history interpretation. Banff’s mammals, birds and insects are preserved in authentic Victorian style—displays date back to 1860. There are knowledgeable interpreters, a reading room and hands-on discovery room.

Buffalo Nations Museum

1 Birch Ave
Banff, AB T0L 0C0

403-762-2388

Hours: Open Summer: 9am – 6pm, Winter: 1 – 5pm

Admission Charged

The Buffalo Nations Museum recalls when Native people followed the buffalo herds into the Bow Valley, hauling their belongings by travois. Displays interpret clothing, hunting techniques, legends and myths, and historical Banff Indian Days. The museum displays a wealth of native arts and a slice of daily life including richly ornamented costumes, a beautifully decorated teepee, colourful quill work and historical hunting equipment. It is a cultural display that celebrates the richness, diversity, continuity and, above all the resilience of the First Nations people. Life-sized scenes depict daily living and ceremonies.

Canadian Ski Museum West

317 Banff Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

403-762-8484

Hours: Summer, 7am – 10pm, Winter, 8am – 10pm

Admission Free

Canadian Ski Museum West explores Banff’s ski heritage and Canada’s great skiers. There are displays of Swiss mountain guides, equipment evolution, historic backcountry ski lodges and alpine resort development. Memorabilia from Olympic skiers trained on local slopes is displayed.

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

111 Bear St

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

403-762-2291

Hours: Open daily 10am – 5pm

Admission Charged

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies houses one of the world’s largest collections of Canadian Rockies art, photography and literature.

Natural History Museum

112 Banff Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

403-762-4747

Hours: Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Displays show the cave system of the area, including Castlegar Cave located under the Columbia Icefields. Four dinosaur skulls are included among the numerous fossil specimens. Two slide shows illustrate the formation of the Rockies.

Banff National Park

Banff, AB T1L 1K2

403-762-1550

Hours: Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Banff National Park is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system and part of the Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Discover a landscape rich in wildlife and history.

The Banff Centre

107 Tunnel Mountain Drive

Banff, AB T1L 1H5

403-762-6157

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged for Certain Events

The Banff Centre is Canada’s only learning centre dedicated to the arts, leadership development, and mountain culture. Serving the needs of accomplished artists, business and community leaders, and members of the global mountain community through year-round programs designed to enrich professional practice beyond the realm of traditional education.

Sulphur Mountain Gondola

Located 3.2 km (2 mi) from Banff town on Mountain Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1B2

403-762-2523

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in a glass-enclosed, four-passenger gondola car and enjoy a 360-degree view of Banff and the surrounding area. This 8-minute ride transports visitors to outstanding views 2,281 m (7,486 ft) above sea level. While on the mountain, take in a self-guided walk leading to Sanson’s Peak. The original 1903 stone observatory is located here.

Ski Banff @ Norquay

#2 Mt. Norquay Rd
Banff, AB T0L 0C0

403-762-4421

Hours: Open seasonally, call for additional information

Admission Charged

From gentle beginner runs, to heart pounding double black diamond runs, to a full featured snowboard park, Norquay now has everything you need for a great day of skiing or riding no matter what your ability.

Crowfoot Glacier

197 km (123 mi) S of Jasper/33 km (20.6 mi) N of Lake Louise

Crowfoot is one of over a hundred glaciers that can be seen along the Icefields Parkway. Years ago, this glacier resembled a crow’s foot, with three large toe-like extensions. The lower “toe” of this foot has receded so much that only two toes remain.

Hector Lake

214 km (133.75 mi) S of Jasper/16 km (10 mi) N of Lake Louise.

The beautiful green waters of Hector Lake spread below a fresh carpet of lush forest. While the southern part of the lake is forest-enclosed, the northern end is set hard against rugged mountains, which is typical of a lake formed in a glacial basin. One can view Mt. Balfour and the Waputik Range to the SW.

Moraine Lake and Valley of the Ten Peaks

12 km (7.5 mi) E from Lake Louise access road

Formerly pictured on the back of the Canadian $20 bill, this emerald green lake is set before a backdrop of sharp peaks. To the N is Mount Temple, the highest mountain in the Bow Range and third highest in Banff National Park. The valley is a good area for hiking.

Peyto Lake

190 km (118.75 mi) S of Jasper/40 km (25 mi) N of Lake Louise

The highest point on the Icefields Parkway is Bow Summit, 2088 m above sea level. Here the road crosses alpine meadows near the source of the Bow River before dropping into the Mistaya Valley. From the lower parking area at Bow Summit, a short trail takes you uphill to the Peyto Lake lookout.

Columbia Icefield

Icefields Parkway, AB

Ice-walk tours are available April 10th until October 20th.

The Columbia Icefield is located on the boundary of Banff and Jasper National Parks. One of the largest accumulations of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle, it covers an area of nearly 325 sq km. The continuous accumulation of snow feeds eight major glaciers including the Athabasca, Dome, and Stutfield Glaciers, all visible from the Icefields Parkway. The Columbia Icefield is a true “continental divide,” for its meltwater feeds streams and rivers that pour into the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. Markers at the icefield indicate the rate at which the toe of the Athabasca Glacier has receded this century. Caution – The glacier is dangerous! People have been killed falling into deep, hidden cracks called crevasses in the glacier. For your safety do not cross the barriers.

Johnston Canyon

26 km (16.25 mi) W of Banff on Hwy 1A

Follow the self-guided interpretative trail along Johnston Creek for views of water erosion in action. A 5.6 km (3.5 mi) walk will take you to the Ink Pots. Six cool springs bubble out of the ground year-round. The glacial sediments in the springs create beautiful aqua colours.

Vermilion Lakes

Located off Mt. Norquay just before the Banff/Norquay overpass

This 4.5 km (2.8 mi) drive branches off Mt. Norquay just before the Banff/Norquay overpass and takes you along the three Vermilion Lakes. This drive provides an opportunity to see a variety of flora and fauna common to marshland areas and is popular for bird watchers, nature enthusiasts, photographers and cyclists.

Bow Falls

The falls are just a short walk from the Banff Centre at Tunnel Mountain

Admission Free

The Bow River drops approximately 30 feet near its divergence with the Spray River.

Bow Lake

Located93 km (58 mi) N of Banff just off Hwy 93 N (Icefields Parkway)

Admission Free

The lake is the source of the Bow River. Across the lake is part of a very large icefield covering an area of the Great Divide. The Bow Glacier extends from this field over the cliffs.

Bow Valley Parkway

Access the parkway 7 km (4.3 mi) west of Banff and from the Lake Louise overpass

Also known as Hwy 1A, this 51 km (30.6 mi) route is a scenic alternative to the TransCanada Hwy between Banff and Lake Louise. There are peaceful picnic areas interspersed between the many points of interest along the highway. At Johnston Canyon, a self-guided tour takes you along Johnston Creek to two impressive waterfalls. It’s a 5.6 km (3.5 mi) hike to the Ink Pots (clear greenish pools formed by artesian springs whose water temperature remains at a constant I degree C), which has six cool springs bubbling out of the ground.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Cave & Basin Hot Springs

311 Cave Avenue

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

403-762-4900

Hours: Center open year round, swimming pool open mid-June to Labour Day

Historic and geological displays reveal the effects of the warm sulphur water on the flora and fauna of the area. There are interpretative displays and self-guiding trails.

Canada Place

101 Mountain Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1A1

In Park Administration Building at the end of Banff Avenue

403-760-1338

Hours: Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Free, Admission Charged for CN IMAX Theatre

The CN IMAX Theatre offers spectacular films featuring themes such as outer space, Canadian wildlife and other natural wonders using a giant 5-storey high screen. Explore the “Promenade Into History”, a self guided tour of forty-four educational and interesting plaques describing in detail historical moments that take you back in time while you watch the harbour activities and views.

Sulpher Mountain Gondola

Located 3.2 km (2 mi) from Banff town on Mountain Ave

Banff, AB T1L 1B2

403-762-2523

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Ride to the top of Sulpher Mountain in a glass-enclosed, four-passenger gondola car and enjoy a 360-degree view of Banff and the surrounding area. This 8-minute ride transports visitors to outstanding views 2,281 m (7,486 ft) above sea level. While on the mountain, take in a self-guided walk leading to Sanson’s Peak. The original 1903 stone observatory is located here.

Ski Banff @ Norquay

#2 Mt. Norquay Rd
Banff, AB T0L 0C0

403-762-4421

Hours: Open seasonally, call for additional information

Admission Charged

From gentle beginner runs, to heart pounding double black diamond runs, to a full featured snowboard park, Norquay now has everything you need for a great day of skiing or riding no matter what your ability.

Crowfoot Glacier

197 km (123 mi) S of Jasper/33 km (20.6 mi) N of Lake Louise

Crowfoot is one of over a hundred glaciers that can be seen along the Icefields Parkway. Years ago, this glacier resembled a crow’s foot, with three large toe-like extensions. The lower “toe” of this foot has receded so much that only two toes remain.

Columbia Icefield

Icefields Parkway, AB

Ice-walk tours are available April 10th until October 20th.

The Columbia Icefield is located on the boundary of Banff and Jasper National Parks. One of the largest accumulations of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle, it covers an area of nearly 325 sq km. The continuous accumulation of snow feeds eight major glaciers including the Athabasca, Dome, and Stutfield Glaciers, all visible from the Icefields Parkway. The Columbia Icefield is a true “continental divide,” for its meltwater feeds streams and rivers that pour into the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. Markers at the icefield indicate the rate at which the toe of the Athabasca Glacier has receded this century. Caution – The glacier is dangerous! People have been killed falling into deep, hidden cracks called crevasses in the glacier. For your safety do not cross the barriers.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

“Ice Magic” International Ice Sculpture Competition & Exhibition

Usually held in mid-January thru mid-March

403-762-8421

Admission Free

Held in various locations in Lake Louise, this is an unusual and delightful exhibition to see. Ice carvers from around the world compete to create sculptures that will appeal to all ages.

Banff/Lake Louise Winter Festival

Usually held around the last week of January

403-762-8421

Admission Charged for some events
This event is fun for everyone and includes an art walk and cultural events, the Town Party, a Family Winter Carnival, silly and serious winter athletic contests, and nightly bar and social activities. The Winter Festival has been a tradition in Banff since 1917.

Winterfest – Canmore
Held in mid-January

403-678-1878

On the Pond from 9am to 4pm

Admission Free
“Grab a Slab!” Everyone is invited to participate in the annual ice sculpture event on the 10th Street Pond. Bring your own files and chisels, and any other equipment you may need to satisfy your creative side.

February

The Kananaskis Ski Marathon – Canmore

Usually held near the end of February

Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, start/finish at Pocaterra Parking Lot. To get there, drive south on Hwy #40 from the junction with Hwy #1 for 56 km.
This is a “loppet”, a cross-country ski race open to the public, emphasizing participation, personal challenge, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and fun. The competition takes place in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, one of Alberta’s finest cross-country ski trail systems, about a ninety-minute drive west of Calgary in Kananaskis Country. All competitors — over 400 of them –are treated to beverages, hot soup, and plenty of home-made cookies — that’s why the loppet is called “the Cookie Race”!

March

Arc’teryx Canmore Ice Climbing Festival

Usually held in early March

403-609-0480
Admission Charged

Ice Climbing enthusiasts look forward to a little ice time in Canmore, AB during the “Arc’teryx Canmore Ice Climbing Festival”. The event brings together beginner and skilled ice climbers to enjoy the sport of ice climbing in a fun, festive atmosphere. People new to the sport have the opportunity to try ice climbing on an artificial ice wall, try out the latest equipment from core manufacturers, and watch and learn from some of the top climbers in the sport.

May

Slush Cup – Banff

Held during the entire month of May

Skiers and snowboarders seek fame and fortune by attempting to sail over a precipitous pool of ice water. The Slush Cup has been a Sunshine tradition for several years and a not-to-be-missed show. This event marks the last ski event of the season.

Festival of Music and Wine – Jasper

Usually held over a weekend in May

Jasper will be bringing the music to the mountains during the annual “Jasper Festival of Music and Wine”. Internationally renowned artists move from the concert halls to the mountaintops to perform in unique venues around Jasper. The performances are followed by informative wine tasting.

Banff/Calgary Road Race

403- 294-7440
This annual road race features over 1,500 athletes running in a team relay format from Banff to Fort Calgary.

Wildlife Festival of Birds & Bears – Golden B.C.
Several days of events of high quality which offer interpretive, educational, entertaining and interactive activities including trips in the lushest part of the renowned Columbia River Wetlands, where many bird species are found and where bears thrive in the generous surrounding wilderness.

Canmore Children’s Festival

403-678-1878

This 2-day event is a celebration of children. It’s an opportunity to unleash your inner child for two days of fun, laughter and merriment. Storytellers, theatre, comedy, magic, puppets, crafts and games await discovery.

June

ArtSPeak

Usually held in mid-June

This exciting weekend festival will celebrates artistic spirit by featuring performing artists, artists and artisans, an art walk, a literary festival, film screenings, and street performers.

Quilt Festival

Usually held in mid-June

403-678-9603

Hours: 10am – 7pm on Saturday and 10am – 5pm on Sunday.

Admission Charged

This exhibition celebrates the Mountain Cabin Quilters’ Guild of Canmore. The quilts are displayed at the Seniors’ Association Drop-In Centre.

Race the Rockies 18 Hour Challenge

Looking for a perfect springboard into longer multi-day races or just 18 hours of adrenalin? Teams of 3 (mixed gender) and solo categories paddle, trek, orienteer, and mountain bike a spectacular 100 km course through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Race the Rockies 18 Hour Challenge is one of the few adventure races in the world that allows solo athletes to race throughout the night.

July

Canada Day Parade and Celebration

Held on Canada Day, July 1

One thing you can count on for fun is Canada Day, with festivities celebrating the special joy of being Canadian. Locals line up early for the pancake breakfast that starts at 7:30 AM. Main Street is jammed with people who come from all over southern Alberta to view the parade. There are spectacular fireworks at nightfall.

Race the Rockies

Held early July – early August
Get ready for “Race the Rockies 30 Day Challenge”. Solo athletes and teams of two will paddle, trek and mountain bike a challenging 3340 km race course through one of the most beautiful and remote places on earth.

Banff Arts Festival

Usually held mid–July through mid–August

Don’t miss the Banff Arts Festival, a four week period of intensive programming during the summer season. From the new Canadian Opera FILUMENA to the genius of great masters such as Shakespeare and Mozart, to extraordinary break-troughs by young artists on the verge of discovery, this sizzling summer festival is filled with more than 60 events that will make you fall head over heels in love with the arts!

August

Canmore Folk Music Festival

403-678-2524
Alberta’s oldest folk music festival offers a weekend filled with afternoon workshops, craft and food booths, an extensive family area and a stellar line-up of evening concerts all taking place in Canmore’s Centennial Park.

Trans-Rockies Challenge

Usually held in mid–August

877-622-7343

The wheels are set to roll for one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. 350 two-person teams grind their way over the Continental Divide through almost 600 kilometers of wilderness trails.

Jasper Heritage Rodeo

303 Pyramid Ave
(Jasper Activity Centre)
Jasper, AL T0E 1E0
780-852-4622; 780- 852-3858

Admission Charged

Performances are held nightly at 7pm. A dance Saturday night features a top Canadian Country entertainer.

This professionally sanctioned event attracts top cowboys and stock from around the world. Events include bull riding, bareback and saddle-bronco riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, barrel racing and the local favorite pack horse race.

September

Melissa’s Mini-Marathon

403-762-5511
Over 2,000 runners compete in 3 km, 10 km, or 22 km races.

Highland Games – Canmore

403-678-9454
The Celtic spirit prevails in Canmore when hundreds of participants of Highland Dance, Piping, Drumming, Running and Heavy Sports give their best performances in their quest for excellence.

Celtic merchants from across Canada offer their wares, and clan tents provide family history and genealogy information. Highland cattle and sheep dog demonstrations can be seen and the Massed Bands will stir the soul. The Beer Garden features non-stop entertainment such as Scottish Country Dancing and Irish Stepping. The evening Ceilidh is where the Celts let loose with lively entertainment and dancing. The Provincial Piping & Drumming Champions for the year are announced here.

Canada Canadian Rocky Mountain Half Marathon and 8K Race

888-552-2873
Take part in the 8K or half marathon, or cheer on the over 1,000 racers. This is one of the most scenic courses in Canada and it’s a pleasure to run on the trails and roadways of Canmore.

7-Minute Film Festival
This innovative event provides a free opportunity for filmmakers to experiment publicly with film and video in an environment fully conducive to concept-driven creative expression. For viewers, it’s a free opportunity to enjoy some wonderful short films. Includes drama, animation, comedy, underground, cutting edge, and has entries that make you laugh, make you cry, make you question. What more could you ask from a film festival?

October

The Banff Centre Mountain Ekiden Relay

403-762-6153

Ekiden: a Japanese word meaning running from post to post; an early Japanese form of courier. Ekidens are traditionally shorter than most relay runs, totaling only 43 km. Runners pass off a Japanese-style sash at the exchange area. The original Ekiden was staged as an all-women’s event in Yokohama, Japan. The Banff Centre Mountain Ekiden Run includes up to 75 – 5 person teams and is a fund raiser for the Centre’s artist scholarship fund.

Pan Canadian Wordfest

Usually held in mid – October

403-762-6670

The PanCanadian Wordfest brings together national, international and local writers for a series of readings, panel discussions, performances, workshops and book signings.

Festival of the Eagles

403-678-6125

Become enraptured! Join professional birdwatchers and amateur bird lovers in this October celebration of the ancient annual migration of the Golden Eagle along the high crests of the Canadian Rockies. Share in the spirit of the eagle as you listen to interpreters explain the phenomenon on a guided hike, or simply gaze upward at the birds soaring above the peaks in the perfect autumn sky.

October – November

Banff Mountain Book Festival

403-762-6125
This annual mountain book festival offers outdoor enthusiasts the chance to enjoy the best of mountain literary views from publishers and writers from all over the world. This festival is held in conjunction with the Banff Festival of Mountain Films.

November

“Light Up Canmore” Christmas Season Kick-off

403-678-4094

Celebrate the holidays in Canmore, starting with a light-up ceremony at the Northwest Mounted Police Barracks. Enjoy choirs and hot chocolate, horse-drawn wagon rides, and special shopping promotions.

Banff Mountain Film Festival

Early November

403-762-6125
One of the largest and most prestigious film festivals of it’s kind, this annual event previews and honors the top mountaineering/adventure films taken from around the world.

Banff Winterstart 5 miler night run

Mid November, race starts at 7pm

403-762-6125
Start at the Banff Caribou Lodge and run on a scenic, winding course along Banff Avenue and Tunnel Mountain Road.

Santa Claus Parade

Usually held in late November

403-762-8421
Join the Town of Banff as they welcome the arrival of Santa Claus. Watch Saturday’s noontime parade make its way down Banff Avenue and meet Santa for a photo in Central Park.

December

Annual Torchlight Parade

403-762-1229

December 31, begins at 7pm and is best viewed from Banff.

Town of Banff First Night Celebration
December 31

Hours: 7:30pm – midnight

Enjoy a family-orientated, alcohol-free celebration of the arts, which takes place in a variety of downtown Banff locations.

Community Party on the Pond

10th Street Pond, Canmore

403-678-1878

December 31

Hours: Children’s events are from 6 to 9 pm with fireworks at 9:30 pm for the little ones.

This is an alcohol-free event for the whole family, featuring music and entertainment, hot dogs and hot chocolate, skating, wandering performers, an all-night bonfire, and horse and wagon rides. The festivities (music and bonfire) will continue until midnight when the Fireworks Grand Finale takes place at Millennium Park to welcome the New Year.

Arts

Banff Center for the Arts

104 St. Julian Rd
Banff, AB, T1L 1H5

403-762-6301

Located on Tunnel Mountain, The Banff Centre provides educational opportunities in arts, leadership development, and Mountain Culture. As well, the centre hosts public performances and events year round featuring dance, music, theatre, opera, films, books, new media, and visual arts.