What to do in the Mountains in September

From paddling the Bow in Banff to a fall fair in Fernie, here's what's going down in the mountains near Calgary this month.

The 2017 Fernie Chautauqua and Fall Fair runs September 14 to 17. The Ktunaxa Youth Dancers (seen here performing on the lawn of Fernie's City Hall at last year's chautauqua) will be back for the 2017 festivities.

Photo by Vince Mo, Tourism Fernie


Get out for a paddle on the Bow

Now that the summer crowds have mostly moved along, this month is a perfect time to get out on the section of the Bow River that flows alongside the town of Banff. The Banff Canoe Club (located just a few blocks from the centre of town along the Bow River Trail) rents canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards by the hour and has life jackets and even waterproof dry bags if you need them.


See the RCMP Musical Ride in Banff

The RCMP Musical Ride is a uniquely Canadian spectacle featuring 32 RCMP on horseback in classic red serge performing figures and drills choreographed to music. The Canada 150 musical ride tour will stop in Banff for three shows at the Banff Community High School field — two shows on Saturday, September 2, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and one on Sunday, September 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets (available through Discover Banff Tours) are $16, or $48 for a family of four (babies 0 to 2 years old are free). Make sure to get there early to catch the police dog demonstration 30 minutes before showtime.


Watch the best of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Fest in Bragg Creek

The Best of the Fest selections from last year's VIMFF are screening at the Bragg Creek Community Centre (23 White Ave., Bragg Creek) on Saturday, September 9. Tickets are $16 (available online at bckor.ca or at the door for cash only). Doors are at 6 p.m. with films starting at 7 p.m. The event doubles as a silent-auction fundraiser for the Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society and the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association, two non-profit groups that build, repair and maintain trails in the area. 


Kick up your heels at the Fernie Chautauqua and Fall Fair

This four-day harvest-season festival celebrates the culture, arts and heritage of Fernie, B.C. The festival runs from Thursday, September 14 through Sunday, September 17 and features a wide range of family-friendly activities over the course of the four days, most of which are free and open to the public. There are also a few ticketed events, such as Art After Dark on the Saturday evening and the Chautauqua Tea and Harvest Supper on the Sunday. Download a festival guide at ferniechautauqua.com, or if you're already in town, visit the Festival Welcome Centre at the Fernie Museum.


Go for tacos on top of Mt. Norquay

While the chairlift ride up to the Cliffhouse Bistro at the top of Mt. Norquay might be a bit chilly during the autumn months, the payoff is getting to see the valley all done up in fall colours from your perch at 7,000 feet. The Cliffhouse operates as a full-service eatery between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. until October 10 and the menu includes chicken, beef, fish (halibut) and black-bean tacos, served with the proper accoutrements (pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro, sour cream and grilled lime wedges).

[Ed note: On Thursday, September 14, Mount Norquay closed its summer 2017 operations early because of mechanical issues with the chairlift.]


Do the Terry Fox Run in Canmore

The thought of honouring the bravery and perseverance of the late Terry Fox and the chance to raise money to fight against the cancer that took his life can inspire even the laziest person to go for a run. Even more so when the run route is in a lovely mountain locale like Canmore, where there's a Terry Fox Run and Walk on Sunday, Sept. 17. The run starts from Elevation Place and can be done in 1-, 5- and 10-km distances. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the run start time at 10 a.m. The finish-line festivities include a barbecue, live music and a bouncy castle for the kiddies. For more information email terryfoxruncanmore@gmail.com.


Eat some gourmet barbecue at Panorama

The Panorama Gourmet BBQ Championship on Saturday, September 23 is a new event in which teams of cooks from the resort's various eateries and restaurants try to create the best chicken and ribs using a basket of mystery ingredients presented to them that morning. The best part (the eating) starts at 6:30 p.m. with the winner chosen by audience vote. Along with the meats, the meal features sides, salads and other treats. Tickets are $55 for adults; $35 kids 12 and under. The dinner ticket gets you a 10 per cent-discount on lodging if booked at the same time.


Have a drink on the rooftop patio at Magpie & Stump

Longtime Banff mexi-joint Magpie & Stump opened a new rooftop patio (a.k.a. "El Patio") this past summer, a sun-soaked spot with brightly coloured tables and seating and a trippy graffiti-style mural of Frida Kahlo (check out the great shots of El Patio on Canmore photographer Kirstie Tweed's site orangegirl.com).  There are still plenty of warm sunny days left to enjoy M&S's signature margs and tacos (which you can get until 2 a.m.) against the stunning mountain backdrop.


See the Banff Musicians in Residence perform at The Club

Canadian folk singer and songwriter Lynn Miles is performing an open concert with members of the Banff Musicians in Residence program (a program designed for individual musicians, bands, composers and researchers who want time and space to focus on a specific project) on the evening of Friday, September 29 at The Club, an intimate cabaret-style performing space at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The night kicks off at 7:30 p.m., admission is free and the event is recommended for ages 14 and up.


Check out the Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity

Canmore is celebrating Alberta Culture Days with a three day arts festival running Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1 at Canmore ArtsPlace. The programming includes workshops, demonstrations, performances and a studio/gallery tour. All events are free and open to the public on a drop-in, first-come-first-served basis (some age restrictions apply).


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