Recently returned from a trip to Alberta, Canada! Banff National Park has been on my list for a LONG time, and since this year is Canada’s 150th Birthday, all national parks are free with a Discovery Pass!
Flew into the closet airport to Banff, Calgary Airport YCC, where I was greeted by friendly airport staff in cowboy hats! An unusual uniform, I thought to myself, but turns out Calgary is known for its Stampede Rodeo, hence the cowboy vibes.
After chatting with a friend who lived in Calgary for several years, learned that Stampede is a 10-day event held in July. On the website, it is described as “the world’s best rodeo”- filled with drinking, racing, games, and general merriment! I’ve heard that it’s more about the boozing now a days- with most workplaces shutting down entirely for the 10-day event.
After a short jaunt in Calgary, we began scenic drive Banff and made our way to Tunnel Mountain Campground. The first thing we noticed upon entry was a huge “ALCOHOL BAN IN EFFECT” sign. Turns out, we were there just in time for Victoria Day, a Canadian holiday in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday, and marking the official birthday of Canada! The ranger explained it is an unofficial “start to summer” – so probably similar to Memorial Day in the US. The campsite had imposed the alcohol ban to ensure the campground stayed family friendly for the long weekend. All in all though, the campsite was very nice- with clean hot showers, unlimited free firewood, and friendly park rangers (I’m beginning to realize friendly is a theme here!).