Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Banff Springs Hotel

The final Banff blog post.  (For this trip anyway.  ha ha)

I have always had an interest in what life in the late 1800's and early 1900's was like.  For years I loved the Edwardian decor style of this period.  I love to read books that take place in this period especially if they are set in Canada.  I love watching Downton Abbey.  I even dreamed of being a pioneer woman until I realized what it all involved and ... no thanks.  ;)  So whenever we went to Banff and saw The Banff Springs Hotel in the distance,  I wondered what it would be like inside.  Rob had stayed at it once for work years back when he was guarding a VIP.  He had wandered around and eaten there.  I was always curious.

Since the weather was a bit rainy this trip, we were looking for some things to do inside so Rob suggested that we just pop over to the hotel and take a peek around the lobby.  Are we allowed to do this?  Is this breaking the rules?  Apparently not.

Here's what this castle looks like from one of the lookout points we were at on a different day.

The building of this castle began in the spring of 1887 by the owner of the Canadian Pacific Railways.  It was opened to the public in 1888.    It was considered to be the best hotel in all of North America at the time.  People would come and stay for 3 or 4 months at a time with a $50,000 bank note to cover their expenses.  A room was $3.50 a night.    From what I have read in fiction, people were all about the mountain air and natural spring water for health purposes at this time and this hotel had both.  But maybe this was only true in fiction books.  LOL

There was a "writing room" for people to sit and catch up on correspondence or write in their journals.  I wish I lived in this period!  But really, would I be hanging out at this castle?

So we milled around looking at fancy architecture and amazing old furniture which seemed to sit in every nook of each hallway.  I kept waiting for someone to come up to us and ask us to leave.  Rob just walked around like he belonged.  We are two very different people.  ;)

We stumbled upon a gallery of sorts.  It had amazing black and white photographs with a written history for each.  I read each one and imagined myself staying here back in the day.  But really, who am I kidding?   I would be the wife in the one bedroom shack out on the prairie with 5 kids and some bad dogs, milking cows and chopping wood and trying not to catch consumption and just hoping to make it until the spring.  ha ha  There would be no time to sit and correspond if I even knew how to read and write.  

There were fancy chairs set up so I imagine that there are presentations given with historical information.  If one started up I think I would have hidden my outdoor jacket and tried to blend in as a guest just so I could hear what they had to say.

You may notice that in that photo at the end of the chairs,  it is Marilyn Monroe golfing.  It was taken in 1954.  She visited while working on a movie with Robert Mitchum.

We walked past the shops on the ground floor and then went out onto the grounds, as it had finally stopped raining.

Rob has heard it said that there are stories of the castle being haunted.  I don't believe in that stuff but it does kind of look spooky here.  ;)

We tend to take pictures of Mountie stuff so this statue was no exception.

Pretty lights in a row.

I spied a sign advertising "high tea" so maybe the next time we are in Banff we will make a reservation.  I would love to see the tea room and pretend that I am one of the characters off of Downtown Abbey who spends their days sipping tea and getting dressed for dinner.  ;) But for this night, it was getting dark and it was supper time so we headed back downtown, chatted with a local about a good spot to eat and then ended up going to the Keg, which we have here, and eating appetizers and caesar salad, just like all of the regular people.  :)

Well, that ends my Banff blog posts.  Are some of you sighing with relief ?  ha ha



  1. What a fascinating place! Thank you for sharing your photos from your get-away. I always love seeing and reading about new places. I swear, if I won the lottery that is what I would be doing... traveling. :)

  2. I used to want to be a Pioneer girl too. Or Anne of Green gables. You get the idea!

  3. Interesting must have been fun to look around.

  4. I loved reading this and what a magical place the castle seems...yup...out on the prairie we would be like the regular people :-P

  5. I've enjoyed your Banff posts very much. Looks like a wonderful place, from the Christmas shop to the castle and everything in between. Thanks for sharing.


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