Seasons and festivals

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Once Thanksgiving hits it’s really just one holiday after another for the rest of the year.  It’s really no wonder everyone wakes up on January 1st with ambitions to eat less and workout more…

Halloween follows Canadian Thanksgiving, which is then followed by American Thanksgiving which rolls right into Christmas.  With the amount of Halloween candy filing the office and all the shops this week I’ve pretty much been on a sugar high for 7 days straight!  Halloween also seems to bring with it the first lasting snowfall of the season, and this year was no different.  By the end of the night we had a solid few centimeters on the ground, and that lasted well into the next day.  Winter is here!  It’s been a cold start to the year and Norquay will be the first ski resort to open in Canada for the season tomorrow!  Time to get those skis out!

This spurs me to my next 6 “things I love about Canada”, up to 90 of my #150for150…



Derived from pagan and Christian roots, All Hallows Eve is now a far more commercial Western tradition which is mostly based around getting dressed up and eating way too many sweets!  I go through phases of loving this festival and being fairly nonplussed by it.  This year was somewhere between the two, but next year I’ve decided I’ll do it properly again and get all excited and dressed up.  Probably the best part of the festivities is seeing the kids and pets all dressed up, way more cute than scary!



I love the rhythm of Banff.   Many people are surprised to hear that summer is Banff’s busiest time, as they associate it with amazing skiing (which they are completely right to do!)  Summer is simply crazy for tourists though, with non-skiers arriving in their droves to see this place with its spectacular lakes and mountains in their summer dress.  Once the kids go back to school it usually calms down a bit as we move into our conference season, this year it seems to have stayed busy right up to the start of winter!  The quiet season in the end of autumn / beginning of winter is referred to as the shoulder season, and it’s one of my favourite times as all the locals start to reappear around town socially, there are gatherings for Thanksgiving and Halloween, locals specials in the restaurants, and generally lots of time to spend time with friends that you may not have seen for a couple of months!

Love a good sunset hike on a clear fall day! With winter just around the corner it’s good to get these days in when you can.
#banffnationalpark #mybanff #guidemebanff #getoutside #gethigher #viewfromthetop #sunset #pursuitlife #alivehere


One of the greatest locals specials to be invented in recent years is the Banff Lake Louise Tourism creation, Taste of Adventure.  This is a series of culinary events and spectacular menus, celebrating the vast array of fine cuisine that can be enjoyed in Banff.  I took Catherine last week to try the Taste of Adventure menu at the new restaurant at the top of Sulphur Mountain, a five course tasting menu that was absolutely sublime!  From duck croquettes, scollops, thrice baked pork belly to bison, we feasted on top of the mountain top and then treated ourselves to a cocktail in the Fairmont Banff Springs Rundle Lounge.  An absolutely fabulous evening, and an example of the fun things you get to do as a local in the off season!

Photo courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography.


This festival has been running now for almost 40 years, and every autumn brings together a collection of the most epic mountain stories and feats from the previous year.  The festival premieres some of the best in extreme videos, as well as the protagonists and film makers, and hosts story telling, question and answer sessions and art events.  The best of the festival is subsequently taken on tour around the globe, annually adding more and more destinations.

Take a look at the last year’s trailer, and then click here to see if it’s coming to a town near you!



Canada boasts a number of world class ski resorts, and I’m lucky enough to live right beside three of them!  I’m also within a reasonable drive of 2-3 others, and many more that I can go to for the weekend!  The ski season runs from basically now, as Norquay opens tomorrow, through to whenever Sunshine Village closes at the end of May!  The snow varies a lot through the season, but there’s always great skiing (and snowboarding) to be had somewhere!


Pronounced Nork-way (not Nor-kee, like Torquay), this is the little ski hill that could.  Small in comparison to it’s larger neighbours Lake Louise and Sunshine Village, Norquay makes up the third of the “Big Three” and pulls its weight by providing the quickest access to excellent powder on pow days.  It’s the locals resort, with great deals for local school kids and the best views of Banff Town!

Photo courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography.

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