Arts & Heritage

The Seven National Historic Sites of Banff National Park

National Historic Sites have been designated based on their significance in Canada’s history and seven of them are located in Banff National Park! Many of the National Historic Sites, such as Banff Park Museum, Cave & Basin and Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, are easy to access. Others, including the Cosmic Ray Station on Sanson Peak, Skoki Lodge, Abbot Pass Hut and Howse Pass, require varying degrees of hiking and backcountry access.

Bring this story to life:

  • Choose to feature just one of the National Historic Sites or do a roundup of all seven.
  • Hike up Sulphur Mountain or take the Banff Gondola and walk the 1-kilometre boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station.
  • Ski or hike into the historic Skoki Lodge (this is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed on their first official overseas visit as a couple).

 

Inspiring Creativity - The Banff Centre

Banff National Park is proud to be home to one of Canada’s leading arts institutions, The Banff Centre.

In The Banff Centre’s powerful mountain setting, exceptional artists and leaders from around the world create and perform new works of art; share skills and knowledge in an interdisciplinary environment; and explore ideas and develop solutions in the arts and leadership. Feature festivals include the Banff Summer Arts Festival and Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival.

Bring this story to life:

Inspirations of Canada’s Group of Seven

The Group of Seven was a group of Canadian landscape painters and some of the best-known Canadian artists of all time. They had a strong connection with the landscapes of Banff National Park. Two members of the group, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris, taught at the Banff Centre while other members visited the mountain parks to paint.

Bring this story to life:

  • Learn more about the Group of Seven.
  • Visit the Visual Arts department at The Banff Centre, where Harris and Jackson taught.
  • The Whyte Museum often features paintings by the Group of Seven (call to inquire).
  • View one such painting, Mt. Lefroy, by Lawren Harris.

 

Gateway to the Rockies, Exhibition at the Whyte Museum

The men and women who explore, inquire and adventure in the Canadian Rocky Mountains are tough, resilient, curious and intelligent. First opened in May 2012, the Whyte Museum’s exciting new ten-year exhibit, Gateway to the Rockies, communicates the history of the Rocky Mountains and the people who have shaped the local culture. The exhibit allows visitors to walk through the various eras of discovery using life-size replicas, artifacts, artworks, photographs and interactive displays.

Bring this story to life:

  • Visit the Gateway to the Rockies exhibition at the Whyte Museum.
  • Learn more about the exhibit through the museum’s blog.

Tradition of Photography

The very first people who explored Banff National Park used photographic instruments to survey the peaks and create maps of the mountain terrain. Being a photogenic destination, however, this place has also lured photographers who are eager to capture the beauty of the landscape and share it with others. Thanks to some of these photographers, including Byron Harmon, we have a record of the mountains as they looked 100 years ago. Today, photographers continue to find new and exciting ways to photograph the Rockies.

Bring this story to life:

  • Visit the Whyte Museum, which feature archival photographs, as well as one of the many art galleries in Banff National Park.
  • Write about the changes we have witnessed in glaciers, thanks to the comparisons available in photographs taken 100 years ago.
  • Take a photography workshop with a local mountain landscape photographer (ask us for a recommendation).

Banff’s Haunted History

Everyone loves a good ghost story, especially if it comes from a candlelit backcountry shelter or an old, castle-like hotel. Over the years, stories of spirits and beings from another world have emerged in Banff National Park and form a part of the local folklore. Whether or not they are true is a whole other question. Perhaps you’ll have to come find out for yourself…

Bring this story to life:

  • Read the many visitor-submitted ghost stories from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel on taximike.com.
  • Learn about the spirit of Skoki, the ghost of Kit Paley and the mysterious circumstances of his death.
  • Visit the ghost town of Bankhead near Lake Minnewanka and explore the ruins of a town that used to be bigger than Banff!

The Bow Valley Parkway - Banff's Heritage Scenic Drive

The Bow Valley Parkway has been a camping and travel route for humans since the glaciers of the last ice age retreated from the Bow Valley over 10,000 years ago. Small nomadic hunter-gatherer groups, explorers and mapmakers, railway workers, prospectors, miners and even prisoners of war all paved the path for the modern day traveler.

‣ Learn about Canada’s “homeland security” during the First World War at the Internment Camp Memorial at the base of Castle Mountain.
‣ Stake out Morant’s Curve to capture your own iconic train photo.
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