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Canada travel tips

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by finishthehat, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    It looks like I'll be going to Banff in Alberta, tagging along on my wife's convention trip. Any tips/suggestions?

    1. My skiing days, such as they were, are far behind me.
    2. Additionally, I'm temporarily hobbled so that strenuous hiking is out. Regular walking's fine.
    3. In terms of museums, I'm more history than art.
    4. We won't have a car, but is there anything that would make going into Calgary worth it?

  2. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    My brother got married there in June 2007. Fan-freakin-tastic.

    Guessing you'll be flying into Calgary. We didn't spend any time in Calgary other than flying in and out and getting the car.

    No hiking is too bad. But Banff is pretty compact. You'll need to go check out the Banff Springs Hotel. Spectacular (it's where my brother got married).

    No car is too bad because the drive up to Lake Louise is worth it.
  3. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    Well, if it's worth renting a car we may look into it...thanks.
  4. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    When are you going? If you want to do any site seeing it might be worthwhile renting a car. If you don't want to do that you can take different bus tours or even a helicopter tour. If you're willing to get out and walk, most places have paved paths, some with varying degrees of difficulty or different lengths. If the Gondola is open year round it would be worth checking out, takes you to the top of sulphur mountain.

    Here is the town's website, has everything on it you can do there. Again, much of it depends on when you're going and what you feel up to physically doing.


    If you are hobbled the hot springs may be the place to check out.


    It's a gorgeous town. Beware though, most of the shops are your typical tourist trap kind of shops, there are some cool art stores/galleries there though and the chocolate shops are a must. You can buy Banff labeled souvenirs basically anywhere if you are looking for that kind of thing.
  5. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Lake Louise is spectacular.
  6. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    Going in mid-March, fwiw. I'm pretty sure helicopter tours would be out of our price range.
  7. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Well it was an option. I've never done one myself. Been tempted. Didn't know your budget so I thought I would throw it out there.

    Mid-March you can expect a wide range of weather. If you do rent a car pay attention to reports for the areas you want to drive, particularly if it is snowing. A lot of narrow winding roads along cliff sides to a lot of the lakes and other sites. For the record, it has been a colder than average with higher level of snow for the year throughout Alberta, particularly Central and southern Alberta, which would include Banff. So bring a winter jacket. It's hard to go wrong with most of Banff though, you should have a good relaxing time regardless of what you end up doing. One big bonus about the time of the year you are going is it is outside of the major tourist season, so it will be a little easier to navigate the town.

    If you really want to go to Calgary check the Flames schedule, see if they are home, or if you want to sample some Major Junior hockey check out the Hitmen. Calgary also has the NLL's Roughnecks. I personally think the Calgary Tower is overrated, especially after going up the John Hancock tower in Chicago this fall. I would highly recommend the zoo for any age, but if you're hobbled it probably wouldn't be the best idea. It's a solid 45 minute drive to Banff, maybe longer depending on traffic. Not sure what it has for art galleries or that kind of thing -- not exactly my expertise -- but there is a fairly large military museum there that is pretty cool, if that's your kind of thing.
  8. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    Weather will be hit and miss in mid March and any light hiking or walking trails will not be open.

    As mentioned by Beef the town site is absolutely gorgeous. You could spend a day or 2 just hanging out.

    There are plenty of outfitters and tour operators in town. Here is one of the big ones to see what kind of excursions are offerred - http://www.brewster.ca/

    If you like fondue the Grizzy House is tasty and Wild Bill's saloon can be a fun place to hang out at night.

    Take a cab or bus up to look at the Hoodoos, gorgeous view, crack a beer and soak up the atmosphere (weather permitting)

    Banff Centre sometimes has some cool cultural stuff as well: http://www.banffcentre.ca/

    If time is short I would not bother coming into Calgary and would hang out in Banff instead. Banff is within a national parek so may want to check out the park website as well.
  9. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Canmore is to the east and outside of the park and is a cool little town. But Banff is better and, yes, there's plenty to do, even in mid-March.
  10. JR

    JR Active Member

    One word: Toronto. :)
  11. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

  12. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    It all sounds good. Looks like I can play it by ear, at any rate. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't on off-the-beaten insider can't-miss thing.
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