Summer in Banff is bookended by long weekends: Canada Day kicks it all off in July and Labour Day is the last hurrah before the snows come. It’s not uncommon to get a huge snowstorm the first week in September, which the promptly melts and gives way to an amazing fall, my favourite season. I love the other seasons too, and get equally excited as each one moves through, but I have to say fall just take it. I think it’s the excitement of getting ready for ski season, whilst still enjoying the benefits of summer. The days are shorter, which mean longer around the campfire (except for this year as everything’s on fire) and you get to snuggle up all warm and cosy in toques, scarves and fluffy layers. We have a big hike planned next weekend so I’m going to pack all the warm clothes as I think it’ll be chilly.
Here are the Labour Day, long weekend and first few of the Fall #150for150, there will be more around fall to come!
42 – MOUNTIES
The symbol of Canadian peace and justice, the red serge of dependable law and order, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are emblems of Canadian culture. I have had the pleasure of working with retired mounties who love donning the red serge and greeting groups of visitors to Banff for corporate events and suchlike. They are without question true representatives of the Canadian ideal; polite, generous, kind, gentle and good humoured gentlemen through and through.
43 – RCMP MUSICAL RIDE
The spectacle known as the RCMP Musical Ride is an event where a troop of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s best horsemen who choreograph routines to songs. Labour Day weekend, the troop came to Banff and performed at the High School Playing fields, drawing crowds from all around the area. Fun and unusual events like this are what makes culture and community, no matter where in the world you are. And I love how especially Canadian this one is!
The sun no longer sets at 9:45pm, it’s back to the more normal 8:00-8:30 which means longer, more drawn out and spectacularly firey sunsets! Once the sky starts to turn pink you generally have a good idea how much of a show you’re going to get on a particular day. Of course, with the smoke we’ve suffered from lately these shows have been even more dramatic. I mean, the other day we were able to look directly at the sun – through a telescope!! Now I wouldn’t recommend this as a particularly smart idea, especially given all the warnings around the time of the total solar eclipse that travelled across much of North America last month, but the smoke was so thick it provided a perfect natural filter.
Also, sunsets are pretty.
45. BANFF GONDOLA
Without a doubt the easiest way to get the best bird’s eye view on Banff is to take the Banff Gondola by Pursuit up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Enjoy a cocktail in the Sky, and be sure to take a look through the amazing new interpretive level on the 2nd floor. If you’re feeling adventurous there is a decent scramble up to the true summit, or you can take the easier route along the boardwalk to Sanson’s Peak and learn more about the cosmic ray station that sits there. It’s Banff’s #1 attraction for a reason, and it bears the price tag to match.
47. LONG WEEKENDS
Sure, this isn’t a phenomenon unique to Canada, but I do love the Canadian excitement and preparation that goes into making a long weekend special. Occasionally I have to work over a long weekend, but any that I have free are going to be special, wonderful and memorable. Usually it’s an excuse for me to get out into the mountains with the people I love to spend time with, but then what isn’t an excuse to do that?!
And back we come, full circle to the BEST SEASON OF THE YEAR!
Crunching leaves, windy afternoons, the smell of damp decaying earth and the changing colour of the trees. Campfires, indoor fireplaces, hot toddys, pumpkin pie (and pumpkin spiced everything) scarves, hats, gloves, puffy jackets, nice boots and red rosy cheeks from the nip of cold in the air. Fall in Banff comes with the added emotions of having survived another busy summer and the enjoyment of the down season to catch up with friends and get stoked on the upcoming ski season. The “Larch March” has started early this year and I’m hoping to get some good photos this weekend up in Jasper.
Til next time!