For more than one hundred years, the mountain town of Banff, Alberta has been dazzling tourists from around the world. Every year, thousands of tourists visit and only get a taste of what Calgarians get to enjoy regularly in their back yard. It’s true, since Banff is only a short drive from Calgary, we’re spoiled with that nothing more than a full tank of gas, we can enjoy what many around the world pay thousands of dollars to see.

If you’re a regular visitor to Banff, you know that while the town is beautiful any time of year, it’s not necessarily known for its new shopping and hotel experiences. That’s likely due to the park’s strict regulations. And I’m not totally sure how they’ve been doing it, but it seems that this year many businesses, hotels and tourist attractions have found ways to work within the park’s regulations, while at the same time offering new and exciting experiences for regular visitors like us.

Here’s what’s new!

Banff Gondola


The Banff Gondola is tried and true. I think everyone that visits Banff the first time does it. But after a year-long renovation, the experience is now like no other. The new centre on top of Sulphur Mountain is truly incredible. It’s like West Elm took it over and decorated it, offering a beautiful experience complete with two restaurants, a theatre and even I haven’t even started talking about the stunning views. The new building features a rooftop view platform giving visitors a 360 degree view of the Rocky Mountains. Once you’re done exploring the centre, be sure to check out the ridgetop boardwalk which guides you safely and beautifully along the top of Sulphur Mountain, 2900 ft. above Banff.



The Moose Motel


The Moose is Banff’s first new hotel in ten years and it’s definitely welcome. The hotel is right in centre of Banff, making it a perfect place to park your car under the hotel and get out and enjoy the sights, without having to worry about shuttles or finding parking. The great thing about new hotels is that they are new. That means they are clean, comfortable and fitted with modern amenities. Every room is accessible from outside, meaning that you always have a great view of the town’s beautiful surroundings.

Elk + Avenue

While the building isn’t technically new, Elk + Avenue is the modern repurposing of the infamous Banff International Hotel. Actually, it’s more a midcentury modern repurposing. Located right beside the shops of Banff, the hotel’s location has always been amazing, and now thanks to a complete gut and reno, the hotel is fitting of a romantic weekend away.

Little Wild


Wild Flour Bakery is one of Banff’s popular destinations, especially with the locals. Little Wild is the bakery’s little sister. It’s a grab-and-go coffee shop featuring the Wild Flour Bakery pastries and treats you know and love. Located right in the middle of the town, it’s easy to pop in, grab what you need, and use their secret bathroom in the basement.

Banff Provisions General Store


The oldest of the new stuff in Banff, I’m including it because I think you’ve probably walked by not realizing how cool it is. It’s like if all of Brooklyn was in one store and that store was in Banff. Packed with unique finds, as well as the best of Calgary entrepreneurs, I’m guessing this is another favourite to Banff residents who are tired of stores with photos of moose on t-shirts.

Mike Morrison