Cascade Gardens Banff

Cascade Gardens is a small public landscaped garden located in downtown Banff in Alberta, Canada.

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The garden is a series of terraced gardens built into the hillside. It includes many colourful flower beds, rock gardens, trees, shrubs, winding pathways, stone steps, and water features.

The gardens are located behind the Parks Canada Administration building. This historic stone building was built in 1935.

The Brett Sanatorium and Hotel stood on this site from the 1880s until it burnt down in 1930. Parks Canada took over the 12 acre land and architect Walter Beckett designed the administration building and surrounding gardens.

The gardens are free to visit as is the Parks Canada building.

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Bow Falls Trail

Bow Falls Trail is a walk in Banff, Canada that follows the south shore of the Bow River to Bow Falls.

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It is a 1.2 km walk from the Bow River Bridge to the Bow Falls. The is a segment of the Bow River Trail.

There are separate trails for pedestrians and cyclists. Bicycles are not permitted on the clifftop part of the track. The clifftop part of the track is closed during the winter.

The Bow Falls is adjacent to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The waterfall itself is rather wide and shallow.

It is a nice walk from Banff township along the riverbank to the falls.

If you don’t want to walk the trail there is a parking lot off Bow Falls Drive.

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Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain is a mountain in the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

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It is a popular walk to climb up to the summit of Tunnel Mountain, which provides amazing views over Banff and the Bow and Spray River valleys.

If you begin at Tunnel Mountain Drive it is a 3.6 km (2.2 mile) trip up and down. There is limited parking near the track entrance so you may have to find a park along the road and walk up. Note: Tunnel Mountain is closed to vehicles during winter.

If you start at the Banff township (end of Banff Ave Rd) it is approximately a 4.3 km (2.7 mile) return trip.

The track is well maintained and although it is a steep climb at some points generally it is a gentle climb up. Bikes are not permitted on the trail.

So where is the tunnel? In 1882 there was a suggestion of putting a railway tunnel through the mountain for the Canadian Pacific Railway. This idea was quickly rejected due to the cost and the time involved. But the name Tunnel Mountain stuck.

Local resident Anne Ness reportedly climbed the mountain more than 8,000 times during a 40 year period. Sometimes Ness even climbed the mountain twice in one day.

So follow Ness’ example and give it a go!

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Banff Gondola

Banff Gondola is a scenic tourist cablecar that travels to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in Alberta, Canada.

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It is approximately an eight minute ride by cablecar to the summit. Each gondola can fit four adults. It is also possible to hike a 5.5 km trail to the summit. During the winter months it is free to take the gondola back down.

Sulphur Mountain, which is named after a hot spring on its lower slopes has an elevation of 2281 metres (7486 ft) above sea level.

The upper terminal has two restaurants, gift shop and interactive displays in the Above Banff interpretive centre. Also check out the short film ‘Above Banff’ in the theatre.

There are also multiple viewing decks, including a 360 degree roof observation deck.

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Outside as well as views over the Bow Valley there is a boardwalk to Sanson’s Peak and the site of the Cosmic Ray Station.

Sanson’s Peak, the highest point on Sulphur Mountain is named after Norman Bethune Sanson who from the early 1900s to the mid 1930s recorded data at the meteorological observatory station, which is still standing today. Sanson climbed the mountain more than 1000 times to collect weather data.

The Cosmic Ray Station was built in 1956 and was in use until 1978. The structure was dismantled in 1981.

During the summer season it may pay to book online as there can be a wait to enter. It is also advisable to bring a jacket as even in summer the winds up there can be brisk.

Banff Gondola is located at 100 Mountain Road, Banff.

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Fairmont Banff Springs

Fairmont Banff Springs is a luxurious hotel in Banff, Canada.

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The Fairmont Banff Springs, which was designed by architect Bruce Price opened in 1888 as one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. The hotel which is now a National Historic Site of Canada was originally a five storey wooden building with 250 rooms. Rooms started at $3.50 a night.

As Banff and the Canadian Rockies became an increasingly popular tourist destination it was decided to update the hotel in stages.

The 11 storey centre tower, which was designed by Walter Painter, was constructed between 1911 and 1914.

In 1926, a fire burnt down the north wing of the original hotel. A new north and south wing were rebuilt and completed in May 1928.

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The hotel is built in the style of a Scottish baronial castle. The limestone blocks on the exterior came from Mount Rundle.

Today the hotel has 764 guest rooms, a spa and health club, fitness and aquatic centre, art gallery, boutique shops, restaurants, bars, and a golf course

The hotel is located 405 Spray Avenue, just above the Bow Falls.

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Downtown Canmore

Canmore is a town in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains west of Calgary.

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My family and I stopped here for lunch on the drive from Calgary to Banff.

Canmore is approximately 103 kms (64 miles) west of Calgary and 23 kms (14 miles) east of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway.

We explored downtown Canmore and Main Street, which includes eateries, art galleries, and boutique shopping.

Although we didn’t visit also in the downtown area is the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre (902B, 7th Ave) and the North West Mounted Police Barracks, built in 1893.

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Lac des Arcs

Lac des Arcs is a shallow lake that forms part of the Bow River in Alberta, Canada.

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Lac des Arcs is also the name of the settlement on the south side of the Bow River, opposite Exshaw. In the 2016 Census it had a recorded population of 130.

The Trans-Canada Highway runs along the southern side of the lake. I stopped here with my family for a photo stop and a stretch of the legs on the drive from Calgary to Banff.

Across on the northern side of the lake is the Lafarge Exshaw plant, a limestone quarry that is used to produce cement.

Lac des Arcs is approximately 85 kilometres from Calgary, 40km from Banff, and 18km from Canmore.

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