Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Fairmont Hotel in Banff Makes a luxurious home base in the Canadian Rockies.

Terry and I stayed at the well appointed Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4, Canada). As soon as we drove up, valet's helped us with our luggage and got us checked in. Our room was high up in one of the turrets making it feel like we were staying in a Scottish castle.

William Cornelius Van Horne, the general manager of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) has been credited with recognizing the tourism potential of the Canadian west. Van Horne maintained tourism was an intricate ingredient in getting people to ride CPR and was conscious of the financial possibilities attached to the western mountain scenery. His philosophy reflected this awareness, 'Since we can't export the scenery,' he said, ' we'll have to import the tourists.' To enhance traffic on the CPR, Van Horne envisioned a succession of lavish resort hotels along the railway line through the Rocky and Selkirk Mountains. Van Horne hired Bruce Price of New York, one of the leading architects of the time to design and build the Fairmont Hotel. Construction of the Hotel began in the spring of 1887 and the hotel publicly opened on June 1, 1888.

I sketched Terry as she looked at a guide book planning our next day's adventure. From this back patio you could hear the distant Bow River waterfall. We hiked down to the waterfall and discovered that this was the launching place for daily river rafting trips. We decided to take the rafting trip which went down river for many miles. The passenger next to me lost his paper day planner in the water. Luckily it floated along side the raft. My reach was just long enough to touch it with my finger tips. It sank at my touch and I cursed. It rose to the surface again and then I grasped it. Everyone on the raft cheered. Had he used a digital device it would be at the bottom of the river.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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