Canmore, July 6
Our last full day in the Canadian Rockies for a while. We went back to Banff and spent several hours in the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. The day started out cool and drizzly so the museum seemed a good idea. It was time well spent.
We did three half hour docent tours. One focused on the homes and lives of Catherine and Peter Whyte and of Philip and Pearl Moore. Both families came from money on at least one side and chose to spend most of their lives and energies in Banff, at the time, a very small town. The Whytes were also painters and some of their work is exhibited here.
Both homes were relatively small but very comfortable looking. They reflected the mountain style and the interiors fit together well.
The second tour was a history of how the Canadian Rockies were opened for development; through surveyors, the passage of the CP Rail trains, skiing, etc. Individuals with courage and foresight were able to make major impacts.
The third tour discussed the art of the Rockies. CP Rail sponsored artists to paint scenes they deemed suitable for use to market the area for tourism and development. The Railway was nearly bankrupt after completion of the Canadian intercontinental line in 1885 (U.S. line completed in 1869-see Trip Four)and needed revenue. The completion of the line was essential to keeping British Columbia in the Canadian Federation and its promised completion date was overdue by several years.
Similar to U.S. efforts, tourism along the rail lines was one method to gain dollars. Artists got a free pass on the railroad to paint, and later photograph, scenes that showed the majesty and none of the problems of the area.
After the museum we went to the local, downtown market and picked up food for a picnic lunch in the park along the river. We observed a wedding and a physical education class in the park. A walk along the Bow River worked off most of the calories consumed. The weather alternated between sunny hot and cool drizzly. We managed to avoid any major raindrops.
We went in to the Banff Park Museum, a national historic site. It was devoted primarily to the animals of the region, usually shown in dioramas. It did not take long to complete our tour.
After some further walking in downtown we went to Vermillion Lakes, a highly touted scenic area. We took a few shots of Mt. Rundle but found the area less than spectacular.
So we leave Banff having seen most of the highlighted areas. Those we missed we will catch later (the balance of the Icefields Parkway), they were hikes in active grizzly bear areas, or they were still closed due to the flooding. The area is generally back to normal but almost all of the hotels had Vacancy signs showing; evidently many people cancelled their reservations after the flood.
We have completed one week at our first airbnb lodging. It has worked out well for us. We have a lower level unit to ourselves with kitchen and sitting area. It has plenty of windows looking out at the back yard and forest. We have three more airbnb lodgings on this trip; Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria in British Columbia and East Wenatchee, WA.
Tomorrow we pack up and drive to Calgary.
Ed and Chris, July 6 9:30 pm