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Why You Should Visit Banff Resort Town

Banff in Alberta

Why Go To Banff


If you’re itching to experience the lifestyle of a Swiss skiing village, but don’t want to fork over the cash for a trans-Atlantic flight, consider Banff. Thanks to its location in the heart of the Canadian Rockies near the southeastern border of Banff National Park – Canada’s first national park – taking trips here will decrease not only your flight time from the U.S. but also your expenses (although only marginally). Banff caters to intrepid explorers who prefer to end the day in a nice hotel rather than roughing it at the campgrounds (though, there are plenty of those, too). Opportunities for adventure abound, so pick your sport: Ski down Mount Norquay, hike to the massive, free-standing limestone pillars known as the Hoodoos, “scramble” up the face of the Stoney Squaw Mountain or bike along Healy Creek. When you are exhausted, retreat to your cozy (and warm) resort, and replenish yourself with a hefty helping of bison meat.

Best Months to Visit


The best times to visit Banff are June to August and December to March. Nature lovers will want to get to the park when the weather is warm and welcoming (and while the hotel rates in town are at a reasonable level). The skiers, however, will want to vacation in the height of winter. Depending on what you want to do, Banff can be seen as an almost year-round destination (although fall can be a bit of a gamble). Temperatures fluctuate dramatically throughout the year; average winter temperatures range from the single digits to the low 30s. During the summer, average temperatures range from 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter when you choose to visit, plan to wear sunglasses, a hat and plenty of sunscreen to protect you against UV exposure: The sun at these alpine altitudes is strong.

How to Save Money in Banff


Sleep outside During the summer, camping in the national park is a cost-efficient alternative to overpriced hotels and a mean to immediately access the wilderness that you came to explore.

Book in advance In addition to selecting your accommodations, purchase your lift tickets and festival passes as early as possible.

Consider the Big3 Season Pass If you know you’re going to ski at all three of the area’s resorts (Banff Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay), you may want to purchase this pass, which grants you access to all three, plus discounts on rentals, dining and lessons, among other perks.

Culture & Customs


Banff residents are generally friendly to tourists. Feel free to ask for help or directions.

During the day, dress is casual, especially if you’re planning to spend most of your time skiing or exploring the park. It is common to see hiking attire in restaurants during lunch. However, if you are planning to go to dinner, it’s best to bring slightly dressier attire. Make sure you bring warm clothing, particularly during the winter. Consider packing layers for summer trips as the temperature tends to fluctuate.

The Canadian dollar to U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates; plan to check it before your trip. Most hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards. Similar to the U.S., an average tip is 15 percent. Taxicab drivers, tour guides and hotel bellmen are accustomed to being tipped about 10 percent, too. However, depending on the quality and nature of the service, tips can range from 10 to 20 percent.

What to Eat


Vegetarians should be aware that Banff restaurants specialize in meat. Expensive and moderately priced restaurants alike serve up healthy portions of Canadian specialties, such as elk, bison, venison and trout (the bedrock of Canadian Rocky Mountain cuisine). But even if you’re not a carnivore, you’ll still be able to find some vegetarian-friendly restaurants, including Nourish Bistro, which diners describe as a “hidden gem.”

Downtown Banff boasts plenty of casual eateries. Favorites include The Grizzly House (beloved for its fondue) and Block Kitchen and Bar (the eatery is small and so are its plates, but travelers like its intimate atmosphere).

If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, stray from the main drag and explore some of the side streets. For a hearty meal and rustic, mountain-style ambiance, travelers recommend restaurants in the northern part of town, such as the Sleeping Buffalo Restaurant & Lodge, which serves regional cuisine and offer incredible views of the mountains. For an even more stunning vantage point, head to Three Ravens Restaurant & Wine Bar, which wows visitors with its menus and alpine views – seen through floor-to-ceiling windows. Eden, a AAA Diamond award winner in The Rimrock Resort Hotel is equally lauded for its inventive menu combining French and Canadian flavors, as well as the views of Rundle Mountain and Spray Valley.

Safety


Some of the major safety issues facing intrepid explorers of Banff National Park include altitude sickness, weather-related ailments and animal encounters.

Those who are not used to mountain climates may find themselves experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness, the most common being dizziness, headache, nausea and fatigue. Give your body time to adjust: Don’t overexert yourself physically for the first day. Instead of an intense hike, plan on a leisurely stroll. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water, and remember that changes in altitude will cause your body to react differently to alcohol.

Because of its location, Banff Town and Banff National Park experience cold, snowy winters. Dress in layers if you head into the park. It’s always a good idea to bring an extra set of clothing in case you get wet. Also, make sure you bring a hat, scarf and mittens to avoid getting frostbite on your ears, nose and fingers.

The park is home to many large animals, including bears. If you’re hiking on your own, make plenty of noise (talking, shuffling branches) to warn animals of your presence. Avoid getting too close to wild animals, no matter how docile they may seem. Parks Canada says that bear attacks are extremely uncommon. However, if you do encounter a bear on the trails, you should not run. Instead, avoid eye contact and back away slowly while making noise and, most of the time, the bear will lose interest. Parks Canada also recommends carrying bear spray, a form of pepper spray used to forfend aggressive bears.

Getting Around Banff


The best way to get around Banff is on foot. But when weather prevents the casual stroll, this small resort town also has a bus system that is easy to use. Even more convenient, your hotel will most likely offer a complimentary shuttle that services the town and ski areas. All three ski hills also offer complimentary shuttle between the hills and the town of Banff. The closest airport, Calgary International Airport (YYC), handles most major airlines; from there you could rent a car to drive the 90 miles west to Banff or hop on the Banff Airporter, a shuttle that transports visitors from the Calgary airport directly to their hotel.

Canada’s Natural Wonders

Canada has vast spaces of natural places, most of the land are natural forests and open areas. Today we are going to highlight some of the most astonishing places in Canada.

The following were voted as the Natural Wonders of Canada by viewers of The National, a program on Canadian public television channel, CBC.

Cabot Trail – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail is a scenic route that also serves as a provincial highway in Nova Scotia, covering Inverness and Victoria Counties on Cape Breton Island. Cabot trail is a total of 185 miles long and finishes in a loop going around the northern edge of Cabot Island. The whole of Cabot Trail offers many spectacular views along its route of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Atlantic Ocean, the Margaree River valley and the inland sea that is the Bras d’Or Lake. Cabot Trail is also home to many small fishing communities scattered throughout its route on Cape Breton Island. Some of the notable communities are Baddeck, home of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and Pleasant Bay, which is known as the whale watching capital of the island.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

The Rockies – Alberta And British Columbia

The Canadian Rockies are the Canadian part of the vast Rocky Mountains range. They stretch 900 miles across the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, starting at the American border and ending at the Liard River. The tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies is Mount Robson, which stands at 12,972 feet (3,954 meters) tall. Mount Robson also sits right on the continental divide of North America towering over the nearby Yellowhead Pass, which has a moderate elevation and makes for a stunning visual contrast. Rivers are also a major part of the mountains, as many rivers are found within the mountain range and the mountains act as the source of several major river systems such as the Columbia River. There are also five different national parks that are found inside the Canadian Rockies. The four national parks of Yoho, Jasper, Banff and Kootenay combine to form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. The fifth part is the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, which spans the Canada-US border and combines the Canadian Waterton Lakes National Park with the American Glacier National Park.

Canadian Rockies

Northern Lights – Northern Canada

The Northern Lights, also known as an aurora borealis, is a natural light display in the sky that takes place in high latitude regions of the Arctic and Antarctic. Auroras form when the magnetosphere is properly disturbed by the solar wind of the sun and the charged particles of both go into the upper atmosphere. This produces an aurora that can be different in terms of its size, colors and activity. Auroras can appear in a variety of different colors like red, green, blue, yellow and pink. The northern lights of Canada are best viewed at night, in the rugged and snowy wilderness of the Northern part of the country where they are best seen and most often appear.

Northern Lights – Northern Canada

Nahanni National Park Reserve – Northwest Territories

Nahanni National Park Reserve is located in the Dehcho Region of the province of the Northwest Territories. The national park was established in 1972 and soon afterwords was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. The main feature of the park is the South Nahanni River, which runs the range of the park and is one of the rare rivers in the world that is antecedent, meaning that it has kept is course over its history. There are also four main canyons that line the South Nahanni River, with the fourth canyon (Five Mile Canyon) being the only named one due to its length. The Virginia Falls in the park have a total drop of 315 feet (96 meters) when you include the Sluice Box Rapids above, which makes it twice the height of the more famous Niagara Falls. The park is also home to the Rabbitkettle Hotsprings and the largest tufa mounds in the country. The park is also in three different ecozones in Canada and houses 180 birds, 42 mammals, 16 fish and several amphibian species.

Northwest Territories

Bay Of Fundy – New Brunswick And Nova Scotia

The Bay of Fundy sits on the northeastern ends of the Gulf of Maine between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Bay of Fundy was inhabited by the Mi’kmaq people for centuries before the French arrived in 1604 and tried to established a permanent settlement at St. Croix Island. Over the 17th and 18th centuries the area was involved in about a dozen wars, most notably the Acadian Civil War (1635-54), the four French and Indian Wars (1688-1763) and the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). The ports of the Bay of Fundy also produced the largest wooden ship built in Canada, the William D. Lawrence and the first female sea captain in North America, Molly Kool (1916-2009). The Bay of Fundy, which receives the waters of several rivers from the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is best known for having the highest tidal range on Earth and for having one of the highest vertical tidal ranges. The Bay of Fundy has tides that can reach a maximum measured range of 53.5 feet (16.3 meters).

Bay Of Fundy – New Brunswick And Nova Scotia

Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls, Ontario

The Niagara Falls are one of the most famous waterfalls on Earth and is actual the collective name of the Horseshoe, Americana and Bridal Veil Falls that combine to form the Niagara Falls. The falls sit on the Canadian-American border between the state of New York and the province of Ontario. Niagara Falls has the highest flow rate of any waterfall on Earth and has a vertical fall of over 165 feet. The Niagara Falls have long been used as a source of power on both sides of the border, but this was truly harnessed in 1961 when the Niagara Falls hydroelectric project went online, which at the time was the largest hydro-power facility in the Western world. They are also noted for their natural beauty, with tourism to the site becoming popular starting in the 19th century. By the middle of the 19th century tourism to the falls became the area’s biggest draw and helped to benefit the region economically. Today, the Niagara falls are still a major attraction and have been the subject or location of various movies, books, literature and art work over time.

Niagara Falls

Sleeping Giant – Thunder Bay, Ontario

he Sleeping Giant is a formation of sills and mesas made from igneous rock and is 1,847 feet tall. It is located east of the city of Thunder Bay in the Thunder Bay District of the province of Ontario. The Sleeping Giant is the main attraction of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park that is located on Sibley Peninsula east of the city of Thunder Bay. The giant itself is located on the southern-most extension of the Sibley Peninsula. From the city of Thunder Bay the formation offers its best view, appearing as a giant laying down on its backside. According to one of the legends of the native Ojibway people, the giant is actually Nanabozho. Nanabozho is the trickster, cultural hero and spirit that appears in many stores of the Ojibway. This legend say that Nanabozho was turned into stone once the hidden location of the vast silver mine, now known as Silver Islet, was divulged to the white men.

Sleeping Giant – Thunder Bay, Ontario

That was only a glimpse of what Canada has to offer when it comes to the beauty of the nature it has within its territories.

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Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia is where the ocean meets the mountains. Aside from spectacular natural beauty, this British Columbia coastal metropolis has a relaxed charm that makes it one of the most popular Canadian cities to visit.

Vancouver, British Columbia is also a gateway to all sorts of nearby adventures, including Whistler/Blackcomb ski resort, and numerous islands off the coast. The city also acts as a port stop for cruise ships that are most often headed to Alaska.

The city is less than three hours from Seattle and boasts an exceptional public transportation system that can take visitors from the Vancouver International Airport to downtown in about twenty minutes. 

source: tripsavvy

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