History

Gateway to the Rockies, Exhibition at the Whyte Museum

Opened in May 2012, the Whyte Museum’s exciting new exhibit, “Gateway to the Rockies,” communicates the history of the Canadian Rockies using artifacts, artworks, archival photographs, recordings and documents. For the next ten years, this fun, interactive exhibit will bring alive the men and women who shaped the culture of the Canadian Rockies, including the First Nations, first explorers, outfitters, entrepreneurs and artists.

Bring this story to life:

 

Bankhead – The Coal Mining History of Banff National Park

Did you know that a ghost town lies just outside of the Town of Banff? Just 100 years ago, the town of Bankhead outnumbered Banff in terms of both popularity and population. More than 1000 people lived in the coal-mining town. Once the mines were closed down in the early 1920s, Bankhead’s buildings were moved to Banff, Canmore and Calgary, leaving behind only remnants and relics of its coalmining history.

Bring this story to life:

  • With just a short drive from the town of Banff, you can now explore the ruins of the old church at Bankhead and take a short, self-guided interpretive walk through some of the remaining ruins.
  • Find out more about another abandoned coal mining town called Anthracite.

 

Banff’s Royal Legacy

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, chose Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park for their private getaway during their first official visit overseas to Canada. But this visit was only one of many royal visits to Banff since the park’s inception. In fact, Banff and Lake Louise have enjoyed a strong connection to the British Royal Family since the Victorian era.

Bring this story to life:

  • Visit the beautiful Lake Louise, named after the daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, in 1884.
  • Learn more about each of the royal visits to Banff.
  • Hike or ski into Skoki Lodge, where William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spent a remote and romantic night during their official visit to Canada in July 2011.

 

Canadian Pacific Rail - Now & Then

The Town of Banff, formerly Siding 29, was created as a tourist town from its very inception and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was integral in shaping the development of the tourism infrastructure. Visitors from around the world used to arrive to the mountains via the CPR, who also established Banff’s most famous hotels, including the Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise. Times have changed and CPR no longer dominates the tourism operations in Banff, but their influence on the visitor experience in the park is a lasting legacy.

Bring this story to life:

  • Ride the rails with the Rocky Mountaineer.
  • Walk in the footsteps of the first tourists and enjoy the lodging and history of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
  • Learn more about the history of the railway on the Canadian Pacific website and in this Canadian Railway Hall of Fame article.