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About Banff
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Banff and the National Park

Banff is a legendary resort town with 7000 permanent residents, located in the Rocky Mountains in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Situated in the heart of Banff National Park and surrounded by parks, forests and nature trails, the town lies 126 km west of Calgary and 58 km east of Lake Louise.

Millions of visitors enjoy its charming streets bustling with activity throughout the year.

Its founding dates to the 1880s, after the construction of the transcontinental CanadianPacific Railway through the Bow Valley. Three years later, three railway workers discovered the hot springs of Sulphur Mountain.

In 1884, Lord Steven, a Canadian Pacific Director, named it Banff in honour of his birthplace, Banffshire in Scotland. The Canadian Pacific built a series of big hotels along the railway. One, the Fairmont Banff Springs, is built of local stone, and becomes an internationally renowned hotel centre.

In 1887, Canada declares Banff a protected area of 673 km² around the hot springs. Banff becomes the first National Park in Canada.

En 1985, UNESCO makes Banff National Park a World Heritage site.

The town is surrounded by mountains: Mount Rundle (2 949 m.), Cascade Mountain (2 998 m.) and Mount Norquay (2 134 m.) which has a ski area and mountain biking trails on its Stoney Squaw side.

Winter brings lots of skiers and snowboarders to Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay; cross-country skiers to Canmore; and snowshoers, and climbers explore its many trails.

Banff also plays host to the well-known Banff World Television Festival, the Banff Mountain Film Festival, and the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival for music.

Other related facts:

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies covers the history of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

The Banff Springs Hotel is one of the most luxurious in the country.

Cascade Gardens, with its splendid view of Cascade Mountain.

Cave and Bassin, an historic site with an open-air mineral water pool.

The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, devoted to the aboriginal Canadians who inhabited the Rockies.

The Banff Centre, a renowned cultural centre, hosts the annual Banff Arts Festival which features dance, opera, jazz and theatre.

Lake Louise is world-renowned for the beauty of its emerald.

The Fairmont Château Lake Louise is a renowned resort hotel that can accommodate more than 1100 guests, and features restaurants and a small shopping mall.

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