Mein Banff

Bri and I have been running ourselves into the ground this weekend. Last night, we celebrated her sister Hannah’s eleventh birthday with a family dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory–then celebrated TJP’s birthday at an Irish pub with a little bit of help from a shot which the bartender ominously referred to as a “Brain Hemorrhage”. Today, meanwhile, we spent four hours in Banff, which generated an entire year’s worth of Flickr updates.

Banff–which I hadn’t visited since 1996–sort of reminds me of Stratford. In essence, they’re both would-be tourist traps, yet they’ve both managed to stay remarkably unspoiled. Take Banff, for instance. If Banff were in the United States it would be nothing but another Frankenmuth, yet despite the preeminence of tacky souvenir stands, ridiculously high prices (I paid $11.75 for a grilled cheese sandwich and fries) and lots of Japanese signage, it still feels quaint. Maybe it’s the town’s natural setting; maybe it’s the herds of elk wandering around the outskirts. Regardless, it’s a credit to the residents of Banff that they’ve stopped its decline into gaudiness; again, this would never be allowed to happen in America.

Anyway: Bri and I spent an hour wandering around its main strip, then explored the famous Banff Springs Hotel before taking a gondola ride to the top of Sulfur Mountain. There are lots of pictures to follow. In the meantime, I’m gonna pull on my Mats Sundin Toronto Maple Leafs jersey and head down to the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Leafs aren’t playing–they’re currently leading the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 in Toronto–but I’ll certainly be cheering for them.

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