Royal Connections and Visits to Banff National Park

  • Lake Louise, originally named “The Lake of Little Fishes” by the native inhabitants of the area, was renamed “Emerald Lake” by the first white man to discover it in 1882 (Tom Wilson). The lake was then again renamed “Lake Louise” in 1884 in honour of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria, wife of Marquis of Lorne, Canadian Governor General (1878-1883). Louise was an avid artist, including sculptures and paintings (appropriate for the lake’s famed artistic setting and influence). Following the renaming of the lake, the village was also renamed Lake Louise (formerly Laggan, and before that Holt City).  Sadly, Princess Louise never visited her namesake lake that became so famous for its beauty.
     
  • The Lake Louise Ski Area offers stunning views over Mt. Victoria and the Victoria Glacier, both named after Queen Victoria.
     
  • 1901: The Duke & Duchess of Cornwall and York visited Banff. The Duke (Prince George) would later become King George V (ruled from 1910-1936). Elaborate archways were created for them. They were the first royal couple to visit Banff.
  • 1916: The Duke of Connaught (Prince Arthur) is made a blood chief of the First Nations Stoney Nakoda people who first inhabited the Banff area.
  • 1919: The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII who later abdicated) visited Banff as part of a two month cross-Canada trip on the Canadian Pacific Railway.
  • 1939: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited St. George’s-in-the-Pines Anglican Church during a visit in 1939. This is the oldest church in Banff, begun in 1889 and completed in 1926. The couple later sent a pair of engraved silver candlesticks in thanks. The pew used by the couple was marked with a plaque commemorating the visit, and now stands alone in the chancel area. Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth II) worshiped there in 1958. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth hiked to the top of Tunnel Mountain; fire lookout on the mountain was later known as the “King’s Lookout”. This visit represented the first visit to Canada by a reigning monarch.
  • 1951: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip stop in Banff for a “day of rest” on their royal tour across Canada with the Canadian Pacific Railway.
  • 1958: Princess Margaret visits Banff. Princess Margaret Mountain was named in her honour.
  • 1959: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh toured Banff as part of a cross country tour.
  • 1985: Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited Banff & Lake Louise for the centennial of Parks Canada and the designation of Lake Louise as a World Heritage Site.
  • 2010: Prince Edward opens the Kinnear Centre at The Banff Centre on Tunnel Mountain.
  • 2011: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, stay overnight at Skoki Lodge during their first official overseas tour as a married couple