Considering that Banff is what most of the world thinks of when they think of Canada, there’s no better place to celebrate our national holiday. Rise and shine early so you can grab a prime position for the Canada Day Parade down Banff Avenue between Fox Street and Buffalo Street, starting at 11:30 a.m. With all the parade-route road closures, for the love of all things, don’t try to drive into Banff that day. Either grab a spot on the On-It Regional Transit bus from Calgary ($10 each way) or drive into the park and leave your car at the Lake Minnewanka Park & Ride, then jump on one of the free buses into Banff running every 15 minutes starting at 10:15 a.m.
Arrowhead Camp Co. is a camping outfitter that launched operations this summer in Revelstoke, B.C. The company currently rents out fully equipped Viking trailers (three-night minimum) and if you don’t have a suitable vehicle to tow a trailer, they’ll transport it out to the campsite for you and get you all set up.
The historic Mount Royal Hotel in the heart of Banff was shuttered after a roof fire in the winter of 2016 (all guests were safely evacuated). The hotel is now open again, with a fresh new interior that includes updated decor in the rooms and common areas inspired by the homey aesthetics of classic quilts. Most impressive, however, is the new open air rooftop patio complete with hot tubs and an enclosed rooftop lounge area with giant windows to let in the surrounding mountain views.
“Handsome Andy” is the nickname of the 14-passenger 4×4 Ford E350 van used by Canmore-based touring company Moose Trail Overland. The company specializes in off-the-beaten-path adventuring and offers a range of experiences that includes river floats and SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), wildlife spotting and stargazing paired with restaurant dinners and spirits tastings.
Anyone who loves hiking and science should experience the Burgess Shale Fossil beds in Yoho National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage Site contains fossils that are believed to be over 500 million years old. Entry to this National Parks Act-protected area is permitted only to licensed guides. The Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation launches their summer tour season on July 6 and will be offering two experiences: an 11-hour tour to Burgess Shale Walcott Quarry and a seven-hour tour to the Mount Stephen Trilobite Beds. The hikes are rated “difficult” and are recommended for healthy hikers between the ages of eight and 75.
The Historical Mine Tour is the Canmore Museum‘s most popular event. Led by storyteller extraordinaire Gerry Stephenson, the mine’s former head engineer, the four-hour tour meets at the museum and proceeds as a guided stroll up to mines No. 1 and 2 as well as to the reclaimed former strip mine at Quarry Lake, and includes Stephenson’s colourful, real-life insights and anecdotes about the life of a coal miner. Upcoming tours are on July 7 and 21, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1. Cost is $49 for adults, $15 for youth (recommended for ages 10 and up) and registration is required (the tours are known to sell out). For more information call the museum at 403-678-2462.
The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity will be staging Leonard Bernstein’s comic operetta Candide on Sunday, July 15 at the Shaw Amphitheatre. The operatic retelling of the Voltaire novella is famous for its roster of creative contributors, which included Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman and Stephen Sondheim, among others. The Banff Centre’s production is at 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults (available through the box office at 1-800-413-8386); kids can attend free.
Heiko’s Trail near Fernie, B.C., is a legendary hike named after a legendary local resident – the late Heiko Socher who passed away in 2016 at the age of 86. At 22 kilometres, and with an elevation gain of 4,500 metres and a rating of “very difficult,” Heiko’s is not for the faint of heart or weak of calves. But if you’re up to the challenge and would appreciate some expert insight along the route, Island Lake Lodge has guided hikes on Sundays throughout the summer season, with Heiko’s scheduled for July 15, Aug. 5 and 12 (primetime for wildflower viewing) and Sept. 9. To book, call the Lodge at 250-423-3700.
The Golden Sound Festival is returning to Golden B.C. this summer after taking a hiatus in 2017. The music festival takes place on Friday July 27 and Saturday, July 28 and features all-ages family-friendly programming on Saturday afternoon on an outdoor stage in Keith King Memorial Park as well as evening shows on Friday and Saturday at licensed venues the Rockwater Grill and Riverhouse Tavern. The lineup features bands from Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Calgary-Edmonton as well as one act (This Way North) from Melbourne, Australia. Festival passes range from $20 for both evening shows to $50 for the whole she-bang. Kids 12 and under are free.