May is an ideal month for a road trip down the Icefields Parkway, the scenic drive that links Banff and Jasper National Parks. On the Jasper end, there’s a new dining experience to check out at Maligne Canyon just north of the Jasper Townsite. The former restaurant and gift shop at the trailhead has been renovated and relaunched as Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen, offering contemporary Canadian fare enhanced with house-smoked meats. Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is currently operating with limited hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and Saturday evenings) but, as of Saturday, May 4, it will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with free nightly shuttles to and from Jasper and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
The Kananaskis Country Golf Course is hosting an all-day event for women on Friday, May 10 called Nature, Nurture, Nine. The “mini-retreat” includes yoga, a golf-attire fashion show, health-focused lunch and dinner, a clinic with Lisa Longball (no, that’s not her real last name, but a well-earned nickname as the eight-time Canadian Long Drive Champion and Canadian Long Drive record holder). And, of course, there will also be golf — a nine-hole shotgun round on the stunning mountain course. Designed with inclusivity in mind, NN9 is open to golfers of all abilities. If you really want to make a trip of it, book a night at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Lodge just down the road and spend the next day relaxing at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa.
Speaking of spas…
Spa 901 in Fernie is a hidden gem. You’ll find it tucked into a restored heritage schoolhouse in downtown Fernie that has since been converted into condo-residences. As of April 22, Spa 901 is adding some new skincare treatments to its menu, including the Pro Power Peel, a 60-minute professional-grade chemical peel that targets skin concerns (aging, uneven texture, etc.) on the face, neck and chest, and the ProSkin60, a customized treatment using products and techniques to address the main skin concerns of the individual client.
901 2 Ave., Fernie, spa901.ca
Go for Mother’s Day Brunch in Lake Louise or K-Country
If your mom enjoys spending time in the mountains, then make Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12) extra special for her by going for brunch in a lovely alpine setting. The Post Hotel in Lake Louise is serving up an impressive spread of house-baked goods, salads, cured meats and pâtés, along with a carving station and desserts ($85 for adults; $42 for kids, reservations are required). For a less-expensive option in a more off-the-beaten-path location, Mount Engadine Lodge in K-Country is doing prix-fixe Mother’s Day brunch (choice of three options) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $25 per person. Also in K-Country on Sunday, May 12, Pomeroy Kananaksis Lodge has a wide-variety brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and, following that, they’ll have a professional photographer on site for family portraits between 1 and 4 p.m.
While some moms want to spend Mother’s Day with their families, others just want some time to themselves. For the ultimate in let-me-be time, there’s the Mindful in the Mountain adventure. This partnership between Canmore Cave Tours and Modern + Mindful meditation studio is a guided caving tour that includes a candlelit meditation session deep underground. The Mother’s Day edition of Mindful in the Mountain runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., so you can still do brunch with mom in the morning, too.
Canmore has a great community of artisans. You can be a part of that community on Saturday, May 18, at Pottery-Palooza, an annual fundraiser for the artsPlace community centre. Participants (ages eight and up) can craft their own red-clay herb pot at a series of ceramics workshops starting at 10 a.m. and running every two hours with the last one at 6 p.m. (workshop admission is $40 per person; advance registration advised). There’s also a family playroom where kids under 10 can make slime clay (suggested donation of $10) and a multi-disciplinary art market running all day.
950 8 Ave., Canmore
The latest endeavour of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop is a collaboration with Calgary Opera called Ghost Opera. The production combines the puppet-making and performance talents of the Trouts with a score by composer Veronika Krausas and a libretto by author André Alexis in a reimagining of an ancient Greek tale (you’ve probably picked up at this point that the Trouts’ puppetry is not the children’s-TV-show variety and is created for an adult audience). You can see the world premiere of Ghost Opera on Friday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Eric Harvie Theatre at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at banffcentre.ca.
107 Tunnel Mountain Dr., Banff
Vancouver-based yogi Raelene Hodgson and her Bow Valley counterpart Sarah Harvie are leading a retreat at Camp Chief Hector in Kananaskis Country over the weekend of Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26. Participants can choose to stay in either teepee or cabin accommodations, there are yoga classes throughout the weekend, plus the summer-camp setting means fun downtime activities such as lake canoeing and nightly campfire gatherings.
The Golden Light Horse Club is hosting its annual Delbert Johnson memorial barrel race over the weekend of Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26 at the rodeo grounds in Golden, B.C. Along with the racing, there’s a contestant barbecue on Saturday evening, a Sunday morning pancake breakfast and beer gardens throughout the weekend. The race is open to the public — both as contestants and spectators.
Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta is famous for its annual Wildflower Festival in mid-June. But the region also hosts an annual 10-day foodie festival, Taste of Waterton, which runs May 24 to June 2 this year. There are a range of events, including a chef’s table dinner and chef’s table breakfast, a Newfoundlander Kitchen Party and a guided hike that concludes with a gourmet Italian lunch. Of course, the popular Pie Cruises will also be back this year — scenic boat cruises of Waterton Lake where you get to enjoy delicious home-made pies. This year’s Pie Cruises are on May 25 and June 1. Book a spot on the boat for May 25 if, in addition to the scenery and the pie, you want to meet and mingle with recording artist Paul Brandt and celeb foodie-author Julie Van Rosendaal.