July 4, 2016
By Jack Wennot
Ammolite gemstones are prized by tourists, First Nations and feng shui practitioners. Derived from the colourful shells of 70-million-year-old Alberta ammonite fossils, these rare gems have immense appeal to Rockies visitors.
Quality ammolite is found within the Bearpaw Formation near the St. Mary River. Although Indigenous peoples of southwestern Alberta have cherished ammonites for centuries, it was only in 1981 that ammolite was awarded official gem status by the World Jewellery Confederation.
Ammonite fossils make beautiful ammolite jewellery.
April 25, 2016
By Afton Aikens, Ashley Materi & Jen Groundwater
Blast from the Past
Five reasons we love the original antique postcards at Sunny Raven Gallery:
- Cultural History: Images of tent camps, Swiss guides and railway cars give a glimpse into early 1900s life in the Canadian Rockies.
- Labour of Love: Card makers hand coloured black and white images to bring scenes to life.
- Environmental Insight: “I’ve had scientists and biologists buy early cards that show forest cover, and benchmark glacier recession,” says gallery owner Meg Nicks.
- Communication Trends: Messages on early 1900s cards were written in small spaces on the front; only the address went on the back.
- Creative Presentation: Nicks sells framed and unframed cards; choose how you want to display your piece of Canadian Rockies history.
April 15, 2016
By Afton Aikens
I never win anything, so it was a bit of a shock when I won a tour for two at a networking event that happened to be on my birthday.
The event was at the Canmore Cave Tours office. I had written about their tours before in Where Canadian Rockies and knew they had a great reputation, but frankly I wasn’t fond of the idea of crawling around in a cave. Ironically enough, a few minutes before I won the tour I’d been talking to the owner about my apprehension. He chuckled when my name was drawn.
Although I was uneasy about the tour, in my mind since I’d won there was no way I wouldn’t go—it was a reason to challenge myself, and I’m happy I did.
“Everything is awesome when you’re down in a cave!” (Diana sang this little motivational song to help us out)
March 25, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Ashley Materi
Express your inner artist indoors and outdoors in the mountains this winter.
Silver Tree Studio, by Ashley Materi
At Canmore’s new arts centre, all ages and skill levels get to be creative “in ways that will inspire and maybe surprise them,” says artsPlace director Jeremy Elbourne. One-day performing and visual arts workshops are tourist-friendly. Our glass-fusing workshop provided instruction, materials and space we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access; and we made six pretty plates!
March 15, 2016
By Where Writers
Read on for some of our favourite places to escape chilly weather.
The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre: Get your ice time in at public skates Sunday to Thursday. The $20 drop-in learn-to-curl class (Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm) includes gear.
The Banff Centre: See top international talent at a music, dance or theatre performance. Coming up soon (March 26), Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star: Truth & Reconciliation portrays a First Nations woman in a life of youthful excess.
Feb. 28, 2016
By Where Writers
Drop in to Get Fit
Start your day in Banff with an invigorating Early Bird Yoga vinyasa flow class at Sally Borden Fitness & Recreation, Wednesdays 6:45 to 7:45 am. Dynamic instructor (and local yogis’ favourite) Erin Evans leads. In Canmore, the Wednesday Sweat & Sculpt class, 6:45 to 7:30 pm at Elevation Place, is challenging, results-focused and fun. Rotating instructors put their own spin on sessions. Fees ($13/$15) include gym and pool use.
Feb. 12, 2016
By Morgan Kwan
Winter always seems to pass by faster when you’re busy with activities. Don’t let the season get you down; there are plenty of winter activities to warm up to in the Canadian Rockies. Cross-country skiing is a great low impact sport that the whole family can do. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend the Goat Creek Trail that runs from Canmore to Banff through the Spray Valley.
A popular summer mountain biking trail, Goat Creek also makes a fantastic cross-country ski trail, even for beginners. Track set for the full 18 km, you pop out at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel where you can take advantage of the scrumptious Sunday brunch or go for a dip at the nearby Banff Upper Hot Springs before heading back to Canmore. (See my note about transportation at the end of this article). (more…)
Feb. 8, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Ashley Materi
While there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be found in the Canadian Rockies, you can get your arts, culture and science fix here, too!
Banff Upper Hot Springs, Sylvia Plachy
Works of 20 international photographers that cover the diverse spectrum of the medium are showcased at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies exhibit Point of View: Photographs Inspired by the Canadian Rockies (in Banff, to March 27). Photos ranging from classic early 1900s Ansel Adams images to sculpture-based works by Diana Thorneycroft reflect both landscapes and emotional interpretations of mountain life.
Dec. 20, 2015
By Ashley Materi
Photos by Colin Ferguson
Whether you’re on Banff Avenue or on the slopes, we’ve got you covered with this season’s best clothing, accessories, outerwear and gear.
Stylish snow seekers embrace high-tech gear that’s comfortable on both the chairlift and the descent. (more…)
By Jack Newton
Banff, Jasper and other Canadian Rockies locales are a winter enthusiast’s paradise. Below are some of our favourite ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
Browse activities in Banff and area
Browse activities in Jasper and area
Image: Grotto Canyon, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis
1. Canyon Ice Walks: Guided tours of Johnston, Grotto and Maligne canyons pass through towering walls of limestone to stunning frozen waterfalls. Ice cleats are provided; headlamp-lit night tours are an option. (more…)
Dec. 14, 2015
By Afton Aikens
If you want to step outside the comfort zone of a hotel but aren’t keen on winter camping, an Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) backcountry hut may be an ideal choice—and a great base for skiing or snowshoeing. The huts vary from century-old log cabins in meadows to bunker-looking dwellings above treeline.
“The Alpine Club has put a lot of resources into them, so they’re well kept,” says the ACC’s Keith Haberl. “The great thing about (staying at a hut) is you don’t have to carry a tent or a stove, and the sleeping pads are there; just bring a sleeping bag and food,” he adds. “Huts open the door to a lot more terrain for a lot more people.”
Hut accommodation is dormitory-style; sleeping quarters, common areas and kitchens are shared with other guests. Huts can be booked up to 30 days in advance (or six months in advance for ACC members—and anyone can become a member). “There’s a high likelihood of meeting like-minded people who have some recreational objective that’s similar,” Haberl says.
Popular huts in winter include:
Photo by Tanya Koob
- Elk Lakes Cabin, Elk Lakes Park, BC: This is the ACC’s closest hut to Calgary, accessed from
Peter Lougheed Park in Kananaskis. The trailhead is 62 km south of Hwy 1 on Hwy 40, and it’s
a 9-km (three to four hours) cross-country ski to the hut; the trail is track set in Peter Lougheed
Park. Elk Lakes Cabin is a family favourite, with ski touring ranging from easy to advanced.
Dec. 10, 2015
By Afton Aikens
We talked to local extreme sports athlete Will Gadd in our winter feature Big Mountain Adventure about some of his favourite places to ice climb and backcountry ski. But if the suggestions in that article are a little too adventurous for you, Gadd has more ideas for fun:
Grotto Mountain Ice Walk, Canmore Kananaskis