Banff National Park will add to a slate of centennial festivities by celebrating its unique mountain heritage during the fifth annual Banff Culture Days. Parks Canada marks its 100th anniversary this year, and for well over a century, Banff National Park has been a source of inspiration for First Nations people, explorers, naturalists, artists, performers, and photographers alike. Their contributions to the park’s legacy will be highlighted throughout this three-day event.
Banff Culture Days takes place Friday through Sunday, August 5-7, providing a special opportunity for visitors and residents to experience Banff’s most interesting historic and cultural attractions. This year’s event includes the Banff Culture Walk, Stoney Nakoda Family Camp, and Doors Open Banff, among many others.
“This is an opportunity for visitors to not only enjoy the beauty of the area but also the unique history, traditions, arts and customs that have come to shape our mountain culture,” says John Bowden, program director, Banff Heritage Tourism. “By meeting and observing today’s artists, performers and Parks Canada representatives as they actively contribute to Banff’s ongoing heritage, visitors can connect with the legacy of tomorrow.”
Highlights for this year’s Banff Culture Days include:
Friday, August 5
• At Sanson’s Centennial Stroll, a new event, visitors can follow in the footsteps of naturalist and original curator of the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site, Norman Bethune Sanson. Guided to the summit of Sulphur Mountain by Parks Canada Heritage Ambassadors, this moderately challenging hike will take you to the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station NHS and back to Banff Park Museum to sip iced tea and explore the museum.
• The Banff Centre presents Music for a Summer Evening, a perennial audience favourite featuring the best young emerging and professional musicians, plus their fabulous faculty, from across Canada and around the world.
Saturday, August 6
• The signature Banff Culture Walk offers a multitude of exhibitions and live demonstrations at the various galleries and museums around the town of Banff. Visitors are encouraged to tour the participating venues to interact with artists and learn about the area’s artistic history and influences.
• Banff Avenue Square comes alive with new events and activities including theatrical performances, historical walking tours and traditional First Nations dances.
• Stoney Nakoda Family Camp, hosted by the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, invites the public to join for a day of traditional children’s games and family fun at the Banff Indian Grounds, complete with free shuttle service from downtown Banff.
Sunday, August 7
• Doors Open Banff allows visitors to step back in time and take a peek into more than 20 of Banff’s most interesting heritage homes and buildings. This self-guided walking tour offers a unique perspective on the cultural, social, environmental, and spiritual evolution of Banff.
Banff Culture Days is open to everyone and most activities are free. A complete schedule of events and participating venues is available online at www.banffculturewalk.com. By picking up a Banff Culture Days pin for just $2 at any participating site, visitors gain free ROAM bus transportation and 2-for-1 admission to the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Arts program at the Banff Community High School.