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Outdoor Report: Banff National Park

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By Suzanne Leonard
Weather Broadcaster
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 10:10 AM

The legendary beauty of Banff National Park makes it one of the most famous sites in Canada and one of the most visited.

With images like these it’s not hard to understand why. Banff was established in 1885 making it Canada’s first national park, and the third national park in the world.

The town of Banff is a popular base for exploring the area with accommodation ranging from indoor luxury at the castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel to outdoor heaven at one of the many area campgrounds. There’s nothing quite like waking up in nature, seeing snowy peaks through the trees and the rich smell of pines in the air - like many visitors I’ve got vivid memories of camping here. The town itself is a great place to get sightseeing information and do a little shopping – then soak up the scenery at one of the many outdoor cafes and recover from more strenuous activities! As Deb Matejicka mentioned in the video clip, it’s quite likely that you’ll see elk around town.

One of the most popular views of Banff is this one, from the top of Sulphur Mountain. The famous gondola ride is open year-round, sweeping you up to astounding panoramic views and some amazing photo opportunities. There’s a lot of helpful information about things to do and places to stay here.

Banff National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and an outdoor lovers paradise in so many ways. Biking trails wind through forests and along glacier-fed lakes, they range from easy paved roadways to challenging mountain trails. There are gorgeous golf courses under towering peaks as well as many opportunities for horseback riding for short breaks or longer overnight trips. There is world-class mountaineering as well as less technical mountain hiking - and an incredible 1600 km of trails to choose from, including the Ink Pots you see. All park visitors need permits which are available at park gates and visitor centres. Banff National Park is a wilderness zone and home to dozens of species of wildlife, make sure you know how you and your family can safely enjoy the park. Start planning your trip by getting more information about the park here. Mountain weather can be extreme and changeable, be sure to have the latest information to properly prepare for your outdoor adventure! Get the Banff National Park forecast here and check the bug report too.

As always, the Outdoor Report ends on a gardening note. When you visit Banff make sure to look out for wildflowers on your travels. You can’t pick them of course, but you may be able to find them or a related species at your local garden centre. Gardens across Canada are transitioning from late spring blooms to early summer varieties right now. In fact, this weekend the summer solstice marks the official start of the season. This could be the perfect weekend to do a little creative container gardening. It’s a great way to bring some of your favourites closer by adding pots, baskets, barrels and window boxes to porches and decks - like you’re creating ‘mini gardens.’ Here are a few advantages of container gardening:

In my friend Daphne’s garden: Purple Flag Iris

In my friend Daphne’s garden: Purple Flag Iris

  • They help to soften the look and enhance the enjoyment of outdoor living spaces like pool decks and patios.
  • They allow people with small spaces like balconies or limited time to still have a garden.
  • They allow you to experiment with different plant and planter combinations. Try mixing up flowers, foliage and herbs – and experimenting with more original containers like an old pot, kettle or boot.
  • Find out how ‘Spiller, Thriller, Filler’ can guide you to create beautiful container gardens here.

OUTDOOR REPORT: Call of the wilderness

“We stood, steady as the stars in the woods, so happy hearted - and the warmth rang true inside these bones.”
Ben Howard

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