17.12.2011 - 17.12.2011 1 °C
Saturday 17 Dec 2011
It was nice to have a sleep in and a leisurely morning, however we ended up being a little too leisurely and therefore a little late for our pick-up at 10.15 for our transfer to Banff. It was a luxury coach with only 11 passengers! The route gave us more views of the Canadian Rockies. It doesn’t seem real to be in such an unforgiving-looking landscape.
Banff is very commercial, having side-by-side lodges, inns and hotels, and side-by-side souvenir shops along the main street. We are staying at the Mount Royal Hotel, and the Aussie lass (originally from Oakey in Qld) on duty at the reception desk recommended an Irish pub nearby. The St James’ Gate Olde Irish Pub looks and smells like an Irish pub. It serves steak and Guinness pie, which was very large and came with an ‘emerald’ salad. I think Robyn found her Hunters Pie similarly filling. We had a look at a shopping centre and found many of the same chains of shops as at home – Lush, Billabong, Benetton. We also found a Western outfitters, Lammle’s, which is a chain here in Canada. And the entire male staff on duty (3 young men) all come from Brisbane, and further, all lived in suburbs either the same as, or close by, where Robyn lives.
We’ve also crossed paths a few times with the mother of Aussie actor Ryan Johnson who has been signed for a second season of a US series called Fairly Legal. He’s another Brisbane boy and has been in quite a few Aussie TV shows, films and theatre productions.
The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies was our highlight today. An exhibition called Women of Fibre: Mary Garnham Andrews and Articulation showed what can be done when creativity and fibre come together. Mary Garnham Andrews is a 95 year old Banff artist and master weaver whose work over the years has covered all styles and shapes of weaving. Articulation is a group of fibre artists whose work in the exhibition was inspired by items in the museum’s collection. Most interesting was the museum’s other main exhibition – The Stuff of Legend: The Luxton Family in Banff and the Bow Valley featuring High Fashion in the Rockies. The fashion was fascinating – evening gowns, feather hats, fur muffs, gloves, beaded purses and embroidered shoes. Norman Luxton must have been a man of great vision and energy, among other things owning the local newspaper and campaigning for local management of Banff affairs, rather than management from far-off Ottawa.
Treats for the day were black bear paws from a chocolate shop (a caramel and nut mix covered in chocolate and decorated with 3 cashews for the claws) and Cow ice-cream which comes from Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada. Cow ice-cream is supposed to be the best in the world. It was pretty good but Robyn reckons Mammino’s ice-cream from Childers in Qld is better.