Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Banff Springs Hotel

Photo: elegantresorts

This chateau rises above the Bow River in Banff. Another of the luxurious railway hotels that followed the construction of the CPR across the country, it brought in money to help finance the ruinously expensive construction of the railroad. When the hotel opened 250 rooms in 1888, it filled to capacity with patrons wanting to try the spa.

Canadian journalist and conservationist Bart Robinson has published an entire book on the history of the Banff Springs Hotel. The original wooden structure was ordered built by CPR Vice President William van Horne in 1888, who foresaw Banff's potential for tourism. According to Maureen K. Fleury, the Banff Springs, called the Castle of the Rockies, was a popular destination for royalty in the 1930s.

There are varied and contradictory reports of ghostly hauntings. It seems there was a doomed bride who fell downstairs and broke her neck, either after tripping on her gown or when candles set her dress on fire. Taxi Mike describes sightings of Bellman Sam Macauley, who loved working in the hotel. Before he died in 1976, he said he planned to haunt the place. Many believe he did.

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