December 19, 2019

Book it to Banff

We eat local and shop local as often as we can, and we’re adding travel to our local priority list. After all, there are incredible adventures to be had in our home-and-native land. Take Banff, for example. This part of the Canadian Rockies is one of the most beautiful spots in the world, boasting glacial lakes, lush forests, plentiful wildlife and a hopping little mountain town, and visiting should be a rite of passage for every Canuck. —Karen Kwan

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stay. Elk + Avenue Hotel is an ideal spot to call home in Banff. A grocery store across the street is convenient for grabbing snacks for hiking or a picnic lunch, and you can easily walk to the top restaurants—so everyone can enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine or two instead of having to designate a driver. The Canadiana-inspired décor, including touches of rustic wood, buffalo check and deer motifs, make it feel like you’re at a chic cabin, but with all the comforts of hotel living.

savour. Park Distillery + Restaurant serves the comfort food and craft cocktails a dose of fresh mountain air call for. The mild spice of the poblanos in the Benchmark brisket sandwich elevated this meaty dish, while the Three Sisters cocktail, made with Park Maple Rye, Park Espresso Vodka, Park Chili Vodka, salt and orange oil was (we imagine) as rewarding as it is to hike to the eponymous mountain peaks. Need a break from an all-Alberta-beef-all-the-time diet? Nourish Bistro offers an eclectic vegetarian menu of everything from King Kong noodles (complete with char siu tofu) to mac and squeeze (made with quinoa noodles and veg cheese).

see. Take the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain; with six mountain ranges and the Bow Valley before you, it’s as though the beauty of the national park has been multiplied by a million. Make dinner reservations at the Sky Bistro in advance so you can drink in these views over sunset as you devour the gourmet fare that celebrates locally sourced ingredients (think house-smoked Alberta Angus striploin and Bear and the Flower Farm’s pork tenderloin).

sweat. The easy 4.5-kilometre hike up Tunnel Mountain is the perfect way to get views of Banff Fairmont Springs and the town from 300 metres above. Schedule it in when you’ve got an hour to fill in your day, perhaps after lunch so you can work off that sluggishness from your meal before heading out on your next excursion.

spa and savasana. In a Zen mountain mood? Find a mat on the floor at Rocky Mountain Yoga and be prepared for a class with great instruction and views of peaks perfectly framed by the studio’s windows. At Cedar & Sage Co., your appointment will begin with the therapist smudging the room and will end with you in a state of ultimate relaxation post-massage treatment; grab a seat in the modern minimalist lounge after your appointment as you decompress and rehydrate.


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