I’ll be sad to leave for Chicago tomorrow morning, as there is so much to see, and so much natural beauty, in this region of the Canadian Rockies. The weather was perfect this morning, and I abandoned science to take a long walk. I decided to visit the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, one of the world’s most famous hotels—I’m sure you’ve seen a photo—in one of the world’s most famous settings. I couldn’t get a good overall view of the place, so here’s one from a website:
It’s a giant stone chateau-like structure, very appealing to the eye. And it’s as gorgeous inside as out. It was built in 1887-1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to lure tourists to this lovely but remote part of the country. A newer hotel, the present one, was built in 1911, designed by American architect Walter Painter. The whole place is evocative of old-time luxury, as if you’re back in the 1920s. Here’s the lobby: And a corridor: The hotel concierge was very gracious in drawing me a map of the public areas that are worth seeing. Here are some of them. This one appears to have held church services this a.m.; the windows to the left have an amazing view of the mountains (see below):
This is the lounge bar:
There’s a small room with old photos and memorabilia from this historic hotel. Here’s a lunch menu from July 28, 1939. Look at all that food you could get for $1.50! (Click to enlarge.)
And Marilyn Monroe playing on the hotel links. She appears to have injured her ankle:
The hotel pool (outdoor hot springs are within walking distance):
The symbol of the old owner (it’s now owned by Fairmont rather than Canadian Pacific):
The view from the terrace. What a place to have a drink!
On the walk back you can descend to the Bow River, which the hotel overlooks, and see the Bow Falls. This is the hotel from the river side (east):
And the falls:
And I saw what looks to be a skinny marmot (I’m sure one of my readers will inform me that I’ve got the wrong mammal):
Of course I needed a treat after this arduous walk, and so repaired to Welch’s Candy Shop on Banff Avenue to pick up a few nostalgic goodies. Here’s their window, full of hard candies:
And my haul: Blackpool (not Brighton) rock, horehound twist, dark and vegetal, and molasses sponge, which we used to call “fairy food” when I was a kid.
If you’re a Brit, you’ll know “rock,” a hard cylinder of peppermint candy traditionally sold at seaside resorts. Its distinguishing feature is that it has words on it, and they go through the entire stick of candy:
Making this stuff is not easy, especially getting the letters to extend throughout the entire candy. The whole process is described here.