Category Archives: Canada

Banff and Lake Louise

On the Monday holiday, I went to Banff and Lake Louise with some new friends.

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Our first stop was the Johnston Canyon for a short hike. It’s a beautiful area.

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A beautiful shot of a very small waterfall.

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This is a larger waterfall. In order to see it, you must walk through a very low cave!

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Three layers seem to converge and lose their depth in this photo.

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This is Lake Louise. Because of the weather, it was hard to get a good clear shot. However, with some retouching, this photo gained a mystical quality!

Banff, Alberta (Part 2 of 2)

And now for part 2 of Banff. I will begin within what is the most breathtaking view, in my opinion.

Now THIS is beautiful. This view is in the opposite direction of Banff, with other snow-capped mountains in the distance. Many of my pictures are from this similar view, just at different angles.

Proof that I was there! I am standing here near the top of Tunnel Mountain. Taking my photo was a traveler from an Asian country I will not name here. As I did for most people I met, I asked why he was travelling to Canada. His response? “I want to try weed!” This is certainly the most hilarious and perhaps most honest response I could have received. Apparently people are hung for smoking weed in his homeland. I didn’t get his picture or name though, so if you’re some foreign police force wasting money on cracking down on this, don’t ask me for help!

The beautiful Bow River runs through Banff. In this shot, you see the river in the middle, mountains in the distance, and a still-snow covered shoreline in the foreground. Even without lush greenery, I think seeing remnants of snow is a benefit.

The True North Strong and Free! Seeing Canada through the eyes of a tourist without politics gave me some sense of pride. Places like Banff are what people in other countries see about us in tourism brochures. I think this is a good thing too. Banff is a nice place with tourism done right. The main attraction, the mountains, is free for anyone to use. Your enjoyment of this place is not limited by the amount of money you have.

When I arrived at Banff, it was almost dark. Since I only had about 24 hours here, I didn’t want to waste one night, so I toured the small downtown at night. Driving this motivation to roam about was the fact that the room at the hostel was a complete mess with garbage all over the floor left by previous occupants. So there I was in downtown Banff at 9 PM. Most things were closed, but a fudge shop was open. I bought a block of fudge which turned out to be $10. Ooops! But it was good anyway!

When it was time to return to the hostel, I asked a bus driver when the next hostel bus would come. It was a little while, so I decided to check out the grocery store. Well, I missed the bus. So I asked the first bus driver who came along when the next bus was, and he recognized me. He told me the next bus wouldn’t be for an hour. He felt bad, so he says “Oh what the hell, this is Banff, hop on” and he took me where I needed to go anyway even though it wasn’t his actual bus run. This is what I call hospitality.

That’s all for my trip to Alberta.

Banff, Alberta (Part 1 of 2)

Visiting Banff was my first time really travelling since Europe, and it felt good to see a new place, especially one within Canada.

As you probably know, Banff is a beautiful but very small town located in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. It is very popular with tourists, especially Japanese tourists. Even though this is not a peak time of year, the town was buzzing with people of multiple nationalities and tour buses everywhere.

The people living here are very friendly. After getting off the bus from Calgary, I stood at the side of street trying to locate my hostel on the map. Within minutes, a very nice lady driving a pizza delivery car stopped, got out, and asked where I was trying to go. When I got lost again (minutes later), I checked my map again, causing yet someone else to ask me if I needed assistance, even calling a taxi for me. The hospitality didn’t stop here, but more on that later.

In this photo, you can see many nicely decorated shops within the mountains in the background. Aside from the natural splendor, this town derives its character from maintaining a unique architectural style in its buildings. They haven’t sold out or destroyed this uniqueness in the name of “progress”. Saint John, are you listening?!

This is part of the trail I went on going up Tunnel Mountain. The total distance of the trail is 2.4 km, one way, with a total elevation gain of 800 feet. The map guide identifies this as a “moderate” hike. The views of the surrounding mountains proved very rewarding.

Here you can see many mountains and the town of Banff below. This picture unfortunately doesn’t do it much justice, but the view is quite spectacular in person. In the distance, somewhat obscured in this view, is the highway coming from Calgary.

It was hard to get bored of looking at these mammoth creations of nature. The only time you see anything like this in Saint John is when you look at an Alpine bottle.

Another shot of the mountains. Trees cover the valleys between the mountains, with small pathways in some areas for the train tracks and roads to sneak through.

In my next post, I will post the rest of my Banff pictures that are my favourites, and make a larger set available in my gallery. Check back soon!

Alberta – Downtown Calgary

Last week, I had the opportunity to tour Downtown Calgary while in Alberta for the week. I was being guided by Min, a student with the University of Calgary.

This is me standing across the river from the downtown, where some of Calgary’s beautiful tall buildings are visible.

One of our first stops was the Calgary Tower, which primarily sports an observation deck where you can see the whole city.

This is the elevator in the Calgary Tower which, as you can see, isn’t too inviting. I hesitated a bit before getting in, even asking an employee if she’s sure this thing is safe. The other elevator was out of order entirely. After entering, we got a bit nervous when it didn’t move right away. Thankfully, this crate operated as expected.

Believe it or not, the bulk of Calgary’s downtown is visible in this picture taken from the tower. Although it is quite large land-wise, Calgary’s area of sky scrapers is only a few blocks in size.

I am standing on the glass floor extension of the Calgary Tower. Although it’s hard to notice here, you can actually look through the floor to see the city below.

This pedestrian-only street provides many shops for those browsing in the downtown. I like how this photo turned out with nice colour throughout and tall buildings in the background.

In my next post, I will talk about my trip to Banff!