Banff, Canada: An Overview of Its History and Tourism Culture

Situated inside the Banff National Park, a popular travel destination among Skiers, Banff is a beautiful town in Alberta, Canada. Banff is a famous tourist destination around the globe for its picturesque mountain peaks luxurious hotels resorts as well as natural hot springs. The skyline of the region is dominated by Mount cascade, Mount Rundle, and a fraction of the Rocky Mountains as well.

If you are planning to travel to this beautiful destination, then these are some of the things that you should know about.

Banff, Canada: History and Culture

Banff culture
Source: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

The first settlers of this place arrived in the 1880s due to the transcontinental railway being built. It is said that back in 1883, the railway workers of the Canadian Pacific accidentally found a hidden location with natural hot springs. The Hot Springs were located on the Sulphur mountain. After the discovery Canadian government built a Federal Reserve. It expanded around 10 square miles, surrounding the series of Hot Springs.

The government started promoting the preserve for tourism. They started advertising the locality for its specialties such as spa and international resort. This also helped in supporting the newly inaugurated railway. The area of the reserve was later termed “Rocky Mountain Park” In 1887. It was also expanded to 260 sq miles. The National Park System of Canada was initiated from here. George Stephen, the Chief of Canadian Pacific Railway in 1884, named the region Banff. A series of outstanding were built along the railway line, which was then promoted as Banff Spring Hotels.

The townsite was governed by the government of Canada’s national park system. In 1990, it came to be the only incorporated municipality residing inside a Canadian National Park. If you look at the history of Banff thoroughly, you will get to know about the use of prisoners as ‘free laborers’. From July 1915 to July 1917, an Internment camp was held at Castle mountain and Banff in Dominion Park. In 1985, Banff National Park was announced as a world heritage site by the United Nations. Banff is one of the best places to see in Canada.

Customs of Banff

It’s a tourist-friendly travel destination. Canadian people are known for their helpful and calm nature anyways. Whenever you feel lost or confused, approach a local, more often than not, they’ll help you out. Before anything, I recommend you buy yourself some warm clothing. It’s a cold place, no matter the season, especially for those that live in nations with warmer climates. You can choose to wear casuals during the daytime, proper gear is necessary however if you choose to go skiing. It’s less of a cultural thing and more of a safety necessity.

If you are visiting during summer then pack something keeping the temperature in mind. One more thing I’d like to warn you about is that the rate of the US dollar vs Canadian dollar can change at any time, so beware of that. A tip of 10 to 15 % is considered polite according to the quality of the service.

Language & Demographics of Banff

Banff tourism
Source: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

An estimate of population in the town of Banff in 2020 was calculated to be around 8224. It’s a decline from the municipal census of 8875 calculated in 2017. In 2011, 7584 people were residing in the town, counting both locals and immigrants. There was a steady rise of 3.5% in the population of the region, leading to 7851 people in the 2016 census of population. Back in 2006, 6,700 people were living in the municipality. There was a sharp rise of 13.2 % as found in the 2011 census when it resulted in a total population of 7584.

English and French are known to be the two primary spoken languages in Banff. Canadian English is widely used as a form of communication, it’s based on British English.

Climate of Banff

Banff climate
Source: Banff & Lake Louise tourism

If you want to travel to Banff, then you must be knowledgeable about its climate. In general, Banff is known to have a subarctic climate that edges in the region of humid continental. As you must have already heard that Canada is a particularly cold country. Its winters are something else entirely. The climate ranges from the lowest -13.3°c to -highest of 0.2°c during winter, approximately. Even summers are below room temperature of any middle eastern country.

The warmest that it gets in summer is about 21.6°c and the coldest is about 7.3°c. It snows throughout the year. Annual snowfall is recorded to be around 191.0 cm.

Safety measures to keep note of in Banff

The local people may be nice and friendly but nature is nature. The site is located high up in the mountains, so tourists may experience high altitude sickness. The weather is usually quite cold, even the summer times aren’t that warm, you may get sick. It’s all about your prior experiences and/or tolerance level. Animal encounters can be a cause for concerns as well. If you haven’t been to mountainous regions before then your first time might come with some nausea and fatigue.

The usual symptoms of altitude sickness range from nausea, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. Take some time off, your body will adjust to it on its own, given sufficient time. I advise that in case this is your first time, take it easy. Rather than joining for an adventure just as you arrive, take a leisurely walk instead. It will give your body some time to adjust. Bears and many other large animals can be found in the park. I recommend you not hike alone. However, if you do, I ask you to make sure that you make plenty of noise, to keep the large animals at Bay.

How to tour around in Banff

BANFF TOUR, CANADA TRAVEL ROAM BUS
Source: Canadian Rockies trail guide

Do you remember the fact that it is a National Park built in a mountainous region? Then it becomes quite apparent that traveling around on foot is the best way to get around in Banff. However, in times of harsher weather, there is a bus service also present that you can make use of. Are you looking for a much more convenient mode of transportation? Well, I got you covered. The hotel you will be staying in is most likely to provide you with a shuttle service.

Rather than walking around out in the cold, you could just make use of the complimentary shuttle service to reach your skiing destination. Calgary International Airport is where you arrive first. From there on, you could go to your pre-planned resort through a rental car quite easily. You could also take a ride on Banff Airporter, which can take you from the airport to your hotel directly. Convenient isn’t it?

Foodie tour & Best restaurants in Banff

Banff foodie tour
Source: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

If you are a non-vegetarian, I got a piece of great news for you! Banff restaurants specialize in exotic types of meats. From elk, bison, trout to venison, many Canadian specialties can be relished here. However, worry not if you are a vegetarian! There are some really good vegetarian restaurants that you can find around the area as well. One of the hidden gems for vegetarians to explore is Nourish Bistro. There are many informal diners available in downtown Banff, which are quite popular among the locals.

There are some of the places that you should check out like Block Kitchen and Bar, which is famous among its regulars for providing a cozy and intimate experience. Another popular casual diner is The Grizzly House which is quite renowned among the locals for its delicious fondue. While these were some of the more casual experiences, that’s not all that the place has to offer. If you are craving an upscale dining experience for a special occasion, that can be arranged as well. Why not mix an incredible view along with a fine dining experience? Three Raven Restaurant & Wine Bar gives you an incredible vantage point that overlooks alpine sceneries as well an elegant dining experience.

Perhaps you’d like to visit an AAA diamond award-winning restaurant, named Eden, which is famous for its innovative recipes. They provide an inventive blend of French and Canadian recipes. You can enjoy the views of Spray valley from here as well. If you find yourself desiring some delicious local cuisine in an upscale environment, then Sleeping Buffalo Restaurant & Lodge may be your answer. Best hotels in Banff- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmount Banff Springs, The Rimrock Resort Hotel, Stoneridge mountain resort, Post Hotel and Spa, Royal Canadian Lodge Banff, and Solara resort & Spa.

Budget travel guide to Banff

Banff budget travel
Source: thrifty traveler

Travel isn’t meant for only those who can easily afford everything. With proper planning and budgeting, even people like us, with financial restrictions, can enjoy their time traveling. Let me tell you how you can save your money while traveling in Banff. Outdoor Camping can be a good way to save some of that hard and money. Rather than spending a ridiculous amount of sum on expensive hotels, how about outdoor camping? The region is quite cold, so of course, it is only feasible during the warmer months.

Booking tickets and making prior reservations can save you some as well. The extra sum that you would otherwise have to spend to catch that last-minute rush, can be spent on something you need. If you are going to Banff especially for skiing, why not purchase a pass that allows you to enjoy three sliding points at a discount. If you buy individual tickets for these spots, it can be quite a burden on your wallet. Big 3Season Pass, lets you enter Lake Louise, Mount Norquay, and Banff Sunshine Village.

Best months to visit Banff

Banff travel times
Source: Banff & Lake Louise tourism

Its usually known that the best months to visit Banff are December to March and June to August. It’s usually a pretty cold region, so if you want to enjoy the natural scenery, I recommend visiting in warmer times. During warmer months, weather is better tolerable for tourists, and the hotel prices are decently affordable as well. If you want to travel here for skiing, well, then that’s a different matter entirely. For those looking for a good skiing experience, I recommend visiting at the peak of winter.

Although it will probably be colder than any place you’ve been, it will be worth it. Banff is known as an all-rounder travel destination for the various kinds of things to do available in any season. Don’t let the cold weather fool you, keep sunscreen with you. UV exposure can be high in this area.

Things to know before you go Banff-

Banff town resides inside Banff National Park, so to visit here obviously you need park access. This pass can be bought online. Alternatively, you can buy this pass at the gate of the park or the Lake Louise visitor center as well. Bond National Park is located in a mountainous region filled with wilderness and wildlife. the area is known to be frequented by large animals.

Some of the hotspots of large animal activity are as follows. Banff Springs Golf Course, the Bow Valley Parkway, Lake Minnewanka area as well as Lake Louise ski resort. Canada is known for its colder weather. Bond National Park the sides in mountainous season so the cold can be quite harsh. you will need as many layers as you can bring with you. Do not forget to put on sunscreen as well cause lower temperature does not mean that you cannot be harmed by the sun. In high altitudes, UV radiations are usually higher as well.

Best things to do in Banff

things to do in Banff, Canada on your first visit
Source: practical wanderlust

The best time to visit the town where eyes as but your priorities of the visit If you are looking for skiing then the height of winter is the best time to visit bond. If you are looking for enjoying the natural scenery of the wilderness and valleys then the warmer months are the best travel seasons.

Visit Banff Sunshine Village – best for Hiking, Skiing, and recreation

Tour Banff Gondola- best for Hiking and Sightseeing

Check out the Moraine Lake- free services such as Park and gardens, hiking, and sightseeing

Lake Louise Ski Resort- Skiing, Hiking, and Recreation

Mount Norquay- Skiing

Afterword

banff-northern-lights
Source: rove.me

The months of June to August and December to March are ideal for a visit to Banff. Nature lovers will want to visit the park when the weather is pleasant (and while the hotel rates in town are at a reasonable level). Skiers, on the other hand, will want to spend their vacation during the height of winter. It is also a great travel spot to see the northern lights. The northern lights in Banff are most visible during the winter months of December to February. You’ll have the best chance of seeing them on clear nights with a new moon. Don’t discount the summer months because they can be seen at any time of year.

Now that you know, are you ready to go? Whenever you travel somewhere I recommend you make a complete plan of where you’re going to stay and what are the places are under your budget. While the major attractions of any place are a must-see, why not check out some of the hidden gems that are rarely visited as well? Alright my friends, have fun, happy travels!

 

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