Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Banff Park Gate - 51° 08' 05" N 115° 24' 23" W

The longer I live in my newly adopted mountain village, the more interesting bits of its history I learn.

Yesterday I did a mountain bike cruise along the Powerline Trail and travelled through the unfinished Three Sisters Golf Course.  It is a project that started in the 1980's and has been owned by several companies - many of whom have gone bankrupt.  As I rode through the wide open spaces that had been cleared of trees, I passed stands of deer and elk grazing on the exposed grassland.  A stream wound its way down the hillside and into a beautiful manmade reservoir before continuing down to the Bow River.

It prompted me to do some research when I returned home.  I found a video about the area that was curated by Jerry Stephenson, a long-time local that was the chief engineer at the Canmore Mines until their permanent closing in 1979.

YouTube video - Learning from Experience
Click here to watch the Video!

It warns of the danger of developing the land there any further than light recreational (i.e. golf course, hiking trail or wildlife corridor) use.  Kate and I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry on one of his museum tours and could have spent ANY amount of time listening to his stories and pontifications about Canmore and his life.  He passed away just this year, after living a full and fascinating life.


Later that evening, someone else had posted a great article about Annie Staple, a woman who was the first gate keeper at the east Rocky Mountain (now the Banff National) Park, starting in 1916 and continuing until she retired at age 65.

The Original Park gate, near Exshaw
Article from the Brantford Examiner about Annie Staples

I've found that the archives of Whyte Museum in Banff has some of her log books, letters and working records available for perusal.  Once the COVID-19 virus is no longer a reason for concern, I hope to spend more time learning about the interesting characters and events that shaped this place.

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