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Banff – Lake Louise: Stunning Beauty and Nature At Its Best in the Canadian Rockies

For the first time ever, my husband and I are going to go skiing in the majestic Rocky Mountains: in March of 2006 we are going to go to stay a week in Banff, Alberta and we are also going to explore Lake Louise, the turquoise jewel of the Canadian Rockies. As we have never been to this region, I have started to do some research and contacted the official visitor information website for the communities of Banff and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

I had a chance to speak with Quintin Winks, Manager of Media Relations for
Banff Lake Louise Tourism, who was able to provide me with excellent background information about the Banff / Lake Louise Region.

1. Please provide us with some general information about Banff/Lake Louise. Where is it located, what is the weather like?

Banff is located within Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies of Western Alberta. The town of Banff is famous for its spectacular setting, but it is more than just a pretty place. As Canada’s first incorporated municipality in a national park, Banff is a very special community. It is environmentally-conscious, balanced, rich with character and culture and a friendly and open community. The elevation of Banff townsite is 1,383 m (4,537 feet), the highest town in Canada. The elevation of Lake Louise is 1,536 m (5,039 feet), the highest permanent settlement in Canada.

Summer (July – August):
The summer season usually has low humidity, warm temperatures and daylight hours lasting until 11:00 p.m. at the height of the summer equinox.

Autumn (Sept – Oct):
Fall sees diminishing daylight hours and warm days with cooling evening winds.

Winter (Nov – March):
Although it can and does snow at any time of the year, the first snows generally begin to fall in November. The average temperature during the winter months is around -12º C (6º F); however it is not unusual to have a two-week cold snap during December or January where temperatures plummet into the -30 degree C/F range. Fortunately Banff and areas west and south, regularly receive a welcome weather phenomenon called Chinooks, warm winds that produce spring-like temperatures in a matter of hours.

Spring (April – June):
Rain and warming temperatures begin to melt winter away from the valleys in April, however snow does not leave the mountain passes until mid-summer. While the average precipitation is relatively low during this time, snowmelt pushes the rivers to their crests.

2. How can one get to Banff/Lake Louise and what is the best way of getting around locally?

Situated in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the town of Banff is located inside the boundaries of Banff National Park. It is situated 128 kilometres (80 miles) west of Calgary, 401 kilometres (250 miles) southwest of Edmonton and 850 kilometres (530 miles) east of Vancouver. Commercial airlines service each of these three Canadian cities, and buses to Banff and Lake Louise run year round.

Banff is easily accessed by bus or car using the Trans-Canada Highway. Calgary to Banff driving time is about 2 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. Speed limits inside the national park are 90km/hour.

The closest major airport is the Calgary International Airport. Scheduled van and motorcoach shuttle services connect Banff with Calgary Airport. Departures are limited (usually 3 or 4 per day).

3. What are some of the major sights in and around Banff/ Lake Louise?

Banff is famous first and foremost for its spectacular natural scenery, but also for its museums, national historic sites and heritage buildings.

Architectural and heritage guidelines ensure the town retains its mountain culture and charm. Banff also has three historic sites (Cave & Basin, Banff Park Museum and Bankhead) and numerous heritage buildings, one of the best performing art schools in the country (The Banff Centre), top-notch art galleries (The Walter Phillips Gallery and Canada House Gallery among others) and a world-renown museum specializing in the art and history of the Canadian Rockies (the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies).

Wildlife is also abundant within Banff National Park and many visitors return home with memorable photographs of species that make use of the park.

From bridge to biking, there is so much to do in the Banff area including airplane tours, barbecues, billiards, boat tours, bowling, dogsledding, downhill and cross-country skiing, fishing, golf, hiking, snowshoeing, nature tours, horseback riding, carriage and sleigh rides, mountaineering and climbing, hiking, hot springs and spas, museums and art galleries, gondolas, snocoach tours, sightseeing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and float trips.

4. Please tell us about the skiing opportunities in Banff/Lake Louise and other winter activities on offer in your area.

Three outstanding ski resorts, Ski [email protected], Sunshine Village and Lake Louise provide more than 7,700 acres and 240 trails offering countless options to skiers and snowboarders of any ability. From wide-open bowls and tree-lined glades covered with fresh dry champagne powder, to meticulous groomed slopes and state-of-the-art snowmaking, visitors enjoy unspoiled scenery, short lift lines, and guaranteed friendly local hospitality. The last major snowstorm through this area was less than one week ago and the snow conditions are powder, powder, powder. More snow is forecast in the coming days.

There are over 80km of cross-country trails within a short drive of the Banff townsite alone. The vast network of track-set and untracked trails, and telemark slopes throughout Banff National Park calls nordic skiers of all abilities. The Banff National Park Service keeps up to date trail conditions and weather forecasts.

Banff also offers guided snow-shoeing tours, ice walks, dog sledding and ice climbing, not to mention heli-skiing.

5. What about activities during the summer time?

Ride through a pine forest hearing only hoof beats, zoom down waterslides, or come face to face with a grizzly bear while exploring an interpretive museum. Banff Lake Louise offers something for everyone.

Enjoy the spectacular views from the Brewster Gondola, explore the Columbia Icefield from aboard the enormous snocoach, rent a bike and ride around the park or get up early and enjoy a bird walk in the spring. There’s also guided tours through Johnston Canyon, nature walks, a skateboard park and several fine patios for enjoying a cool refreshment after hours of exploration in the summer sun. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

6. Banff / Lake Louise’s history is connected to the expansion of railways across Canada. Please give us a brief historical overview of the area.
1883

The railway passes through the Banff area and reaches Laggan Station (Lake Louise). Three railway workers, Frank McCabe, Tom McCardell, and William McCardell, stake claim to the natural hot springs on the side of Sulphur Mountain.

- 1884: Lord Steven, a former CPR director, christens the area “Banff” after his birthplace, Banffshire, Scotland.

- 1885: The federal government sets aside a 26 km² reserve surrounding the hot springs discovered two years earlier. Two years later, that area is increased to 670 sq. km. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company and the federal government cooperate in promoting the area as an international resort and spa as a way to support the new railway and ease the financial pressures on Confederation.

- 1888: The Canadian Pacific Railway Company builds the area’s first large tourist accommodation, The Banff Springs Hotel.

- 1911: Automobile access to Banff is made possible by the construction of the Banff/Calgary Coach Road.

- 1917: The park’s area is increased to 7 125 km². The Canadian government passes the first National Parks Act.

- 1930: Rocky Mountains Park is renamed Banff National Park and its size becomes fixed at 6641 km².

- 1933: The Banff Centre for Continuing Education is founded.

- 1985: Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks along with four adjacent provincial parks are declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

- 1990: Through a joint agreement between the local citizens and the federal and provincial governments, the town of Banff becomes the only incorporated municipality within a Canadian national park.

7. Our readers would like to find out about the festivals and special events in Banff/Lake Louise.

Festivals and special events are many in Banff and Lake Louise. The most immediate two are Ice Magic and Winterfest. Ice Magic involves artists from all over the world converging on Lake Louise and carving 300 kilogram blocks of ice into spectacular sculptures (January 27-29). Winterfest is a series of fun activities. The most up-to-date information on all festivals and special events can be found at http://www.banfflakelouise.com/

8. What about restaurants and entertainment in Banff / Lake Louise?

With inventive panache, chefs relentlessly reach new culinary heights. Recipes change according to the seasons and make use of the freshest local ingredients. During the fall and winter, this means game, squash and legumes, while spring features asparagus and mushrooms and summer highlights edible flowers and fresh fruits.

The town has a wide variety of tourism-related businesses including over 118 restaurants with food to suit every palette. There’s Indian cuisine, sushi, Korean, Chinese, Western, Pasta, Thai, Greek and just about every other variation.

Banff is also home to The Banff Centre. This institution is host to many forms of entertainment, including art galleries and installations, theatre productions and concerts ranging in variety from string quartets, blues, jazz, ethnic and rock ‘n’ roll. There is something happening virtually every week of the year. Banff also has a cinema, bowling lanes, water slides and indoor pool and billiards hall. There’s an indoor rock-climbing wall, skating rink, tennis courts and myriad other things to do for entertainment regardless of the weather.

9. What are some of the shopping opportunities in Banff / Lake Louise?

Enjoy strolling alongside locals and world-travellers as you discover a cosmopolitan collection of galleries, boutiques and cafés. Shops range from internationally recognized clothiers or independently-owned establishments to Canada’s oldest department store.

10. What type of accommodations options are available in Banff / Lake Louise?

From five-star elegance to the cozy comfort of cabins or chalets, Banff Lake Louise has more than 100 hotels, motels, condominiums resorts, lodges and bed & breakfasts that will make you feel at home whatever your tastes.

11. What are some of the major events and big news stories coming up in 2006 and beyond in Banff/Lake Louise?

Banff looks poised to host a skins golf game this summer that will attract some of the biggest names in golf.

Also big in the news is the commencement of Banff Refreshing, a sidewalk expansion program and greening that will make downtown Banff much more pedestrian friendly and reduce the amount of traffic using the downtown core.

The first phase of the Trans-Canada Highway twinning project will also swing into high gear this summer, making transit through Banff National Park faster and safer than ever. Of note with this project are state-of-the-art wildlife crossing structures to keep animals off the highway.

Passing of a recent lighting bylaw means that Banff’s night sky will become more and more clear as time passes.

Thank you, Quintin, for your time to provide us with more information about the beautiful Banff/Lake Louise area. We look forward to exploring your area first-hand in March!

For further information about Banff/Lake Louise please contact:

Banff Lake Louise Tourism

P.O. Box 1298, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1B3, Canada

Phone:403-762-8421 Fax: 403-762-8163

Email: [email protected]

Web: http://www.BanffLakeLouise.com

Cheap Jamaica Hotels – Montego Bay Experience

Find the perfect holiday spot to have a one of kind experience with affordable Jamaica packages while staying at cheap and beautiful Montego Bay hotels.

If you want to experience something different on your next holiday, then you should consider visiting the alluring and friendly vacation destination in the Caribbean islands. You don’t have to shake off this suggestion because you are thinking that this is just a playground for the wealthy, as Jamaica offers a number of attractive packages which could have you staying at all inclusive hotels. If you want to get a taste of the Montego Bay experience, it is possible for you to find Jamaica cheap hotels and lower the cost of your trip.

In recent times, the Jamaica getaways have become extremely popular with travelers who prefer to spend a bit extra in order to spend weeks relaxing in one of the nicest spots in the world. So, if an ideal holiday for you include lots of excitement on lovely white sand beaches while the sunlight caresses your body, by all means travel to the resort town of Montego Bay. You will find luxurious resorts with swaying palm trees and secluded lagoons to provide you with the ideal spot to enjoy the offerings of this beautiful island.

If you are much more adventurous there is something for you as well, as there is a wide variety of water sports activities at Cornwall Beach, Aqua Sol Theme Park, Doctor’s Cave Beach or Tropical Beach. You have the option of staying in the crowded areas for lots of games and have fun with other beach goers or perhaps stay at the more secluded areas for a romantic swim and scuba diving with your partner.

In addition to the lovely white sand beach and the sunshine, there is also the popular Bob Marley Experience at the Half Moon Shopping Village. This will give you a chance to enjoy a documentary about the life of this reggae star and also the chance to shop at the memorabilia store for posters, CD’s and books. Jamaica is filled with many lovely attractions such as this and for this reason you can spend money for a cheap holiday and still get to have a grand time.

There is so much waiting for you on this island, you could even plan your holidays around themes such as adventure, scuba diving, fishing, golf and lots more. If you want to incorporate as much adventure as you can, then you should check out the Chukka Adventure tours. This company provides fun activities such as horseback riding, swimming, river tubing, canopy tour, zip line, hiking, airboat and jeep safari tours.

During your research you will find that some of the best known towns and places in Jamaica can be found in the popular tourist spots, such as Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Kingston, Negril and Ocho Rios. But, there are additional towns that would be worth checking out while you are on the island, such as Spanish Town, Runaway Bay, Port Royal, Falmouth, Port Antonio or Discovery Bay.

Some of the hot spots that you can check on this Jamaica vacation include the Bob Marley Mausoleum, Cranbrook Flower Forest, Milk River Spa, Dolphin’s Cove, Shaw Park Botanical Garden, Dunn’s River Falls, Somerset Falls, Glistening Waters, Island Village and much more. However, this will depend on how much you are paying for your Jamaica cheap hotels, plus the amount of money that you will have left after enjoying the many activities in Montego Bay.

The Best and Most Popular Hawaii Hotels

Going for vacation in Hawaii? Then you should stay in one of the best Hawaii hotels. There are lots of hotels that are great in Hawaii, but there are also some that are very famous and major attractions because they are simply wonderful and provide their guest with the best amenities and services that they can offer. Before you look for vacation packages, then you should know what Hawaii hotels you should consider checking in to.

It is pretty hard to choose from a long list of Hawaii hotels, so let’s try narrowing down that list. Here is a hotel that you might consider: the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Kauai. So why should you consider staying in this hotel? Well, this hotel is one of the best or the one of the most excellent hotels in Hawaii. Their services are top-notch and they are loved by lots of people because they give their guests that “feel at home” kind of feeling. It is your home away from home along with wonderful pools and spacious, comfortable rooms.

If you are looking for a hotel with a great reputation along with a high luxury rating, then you should learn more about the Grand Wailea Resort and Spa. Comfortable hot tubs and beautiful swimming pools are just some of the amenities that are offered by this 40 acre paradise. The hotel’s interior is richly decorated by the works of some of history’s greatest painters like Picasso and Andy Warhol. This is sure to mesmerize the guests of the Grand Wailea. They also offer the best spa treatments not only in Hawaii, but in the world.

There is also the Four Seasons Hotel Hualalai. The name “Four Seasons” already implies excellence, so you are sure that this hotel is one of the best in Hawaii and will offer guests excellent service and the best amenities. This place is great for couples. A romantic sunset can be viewed from the pools of this hotel. It is also ah hotel that brings guests closer to nature. Your stay in this hotel is sure to be satisfying.

Still want to know about more Hawaii hotels? There is, of course, the famous Hilton Waikoloa Village that is sure to attract people both young and old. This hotel offers everyone the chance not only to look at dolphins, but to come up close and interact with them as well, not to mention the other activities that you can do in this hotel like snorkelling, playing golf, and many more. This hotel is sure to make your stay in Hawaii unforgettable.

Now, you have learned about some of the best Hawaii hotels. The next thing that you should do is know what you really want and then plan your vacation carefully. There lots of vacation packages that include these hotels so do some research to look for the best bargains. Hawaii is a beautiful place and when you have found that perfect hotel to stay in, you are sure to have a good time.