Long Weekend In Banff
Zosia Zgolak and I spent the Victoria Day long weekend (20-22 May 2023) with my mother, Grace Bou, mostly in Banff, Alberta.  The impetus for this trip was to attend my cousin's wedding reception in the Banff Springs Hotel, and that is where we started our social activities on Saturday.  My cousin, Sonia Hsieh, actually married her husband, David Lai, in Taiwan two years ago during the pandemic, but they still wanted to have a celebratory party here for family and friends.  The lunch reception was held in the spacious Mount Stephen Hall and was attended by about sixty guests including relatives from Taiwan and elsewhere in Canada.

Upon the conclusion of the reception, Grace, Zosia and I checked into our accommodations at Douglas Fir Resort in order to change into more comfortable clothes and relax a bit.  We later went for a modest dinner in downtown Banff and then took a leisurely stroll through Banff Avenue to a pedestrian bridge that spans Bow River.  A subsequent short drive to Vermilion Lakes wrapped up our first day in Banff.
I look like I just came from a long day at the office! Sonny and Grace arrive at Mount Stephen Hall in Banff Springs Hotel for Sonny's cousin's wedding reception.
It's good to be the king!

Sonia and David are the queen and king of the day.

All you can eat! Zosia is happy to get her first plate of the reception's buffet lunch.
About 60 people in attendance. This is the head table at the reception.
God save the Queen!

Zosia and Sonny get a chance to be queen and consort.

Let's party! Sonny grabs the last bottle of Prosecco DOC from the punch table.
Great job, Michelle! Sonia's sister, Michelle, is the MC for the reception.
If the shoe fits...

Sonia and David play a newlywed game with their shoes.

We are family! Grace, Sonny and Zosia pose with the bride and groom.
Mount Peechee is calling my name... After the reception, Grace and Sonny step outside of Banff Springs Hotel for some fresh air and mountain views.
Still need to watch out for buses and e-bikes!

After dinner, Grace and Sonny stroll along the section of Banff Avenue which is seasonally closed to public motorized traffic.

Is this where pets cross the Rainbow Bridge? Grace and Sonny check out one of two pedestrian bridges spanning Bow River in the town of Banff.  Construction for this bridge was completed in 2013.  A second bridge (Nancy Pauw Bridge) was built a few hundred metres to the west in 2022.
Zosia and I were just here last week! Zosia, Grace and Sonny conclude their day with a visit to Vermilion Lakes.
On Sunday, Grace, Zosia and I got up early to drive to British Columbia's Yoho National Park.  We stopped for leisurely visits to the Natural Bridge, Emerald Lake, and the visitor information centre in Field before returning to Alberta and Banff National Park.  After taking a short detour up the Icefields Parkway to check out Herbert Lake, we drove back to Banff townsite and eventually made our way again to the Banff Springs Hotel.  There, we joined others from the wedding reception for an extravagant Sunday brunch in the Vermilion Room.  A big thank you goes out to David for generously picking up the tab for everyone.  While everyone else departed for Calgary after brunch, Grace, Zosia and I stopped at Bow Falls to rub elbows with the hordes of tourists there.  Grace and I would eventually make it back to our accommodations by bus, but Zosia burned off some extra energy by walking back and taking a detour up Tunnel Mountain as well!
It's so nice to beat the crowds! Sonny and Grace check out the Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National Park just seconds before the arrival of a busload of tourists.

Photo courtesy of Grace Bou

It's been a very long time since I was here!

Mount Burgess is reflected in a small arm of Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.

Formerly known as Bishop Grandin High School. At Emerald Lake, Zosia, Grace and Sonny show off T-shirts from Our Lady of the Rockies High School where Zosia teaches.

Photo courtesy of Grace Bou

Mosquitoes are starting to come out!

The sun rises over Mount Stephen as Grace and Zosia circumnavigate a small pond near the Parks Canada visitor information centre in Field.

I have summited all the peaks visible here!

Familiar peaks of the Lake Louise region are reflected in Herbert Lake.


Thank you, David, for picking up the tab!

Sonia, Zosia, Sonny and Grace enjoy Sunday brunch in the Vermilion Room at Banff Springs Hotel.

Making a splash! Zosia, Grace and Sonny enjoy the spray at Bow Falls.

Photo courtesy of Grace Bou

After checking out of Douglas Fir Resort on Victoria Day Monday, Grace, Zosia and I stopped for quick visits to Hoodoos Viewpoint and Surprise Corner Viewpoint before making our way to Cave and Basin National Historic Site.  This was the first time I had ever stepped foot inside the historic site, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had touring the various exhibits there.  This turned out to be a great way to wrap up our long weekend in Banff.
Or as my mom would say, "Too-hoos"!

Zosia and Grace visit Hoodoos Viewpoint.

Photo courtesy of Grace Bou

It would be surprising if you could find parking here on a weekend!

Here is a view of the Banff Springs Hotel from Surprise Corner Viewpoint.

Photo courtesy of Grace Bou

What's in there? Sony Walkman? VHS tape of "Back To The Future"?

At the entrance to Cave and Basin Historic Site, Sonny and Zosia check out a time capsule which was sealed in 1985 and is scheduled to be opened in 2085.

Photo courtesy of Grace Bou

Such a shame that we can't go for a dip in here!

Zosia takes a closer look at the pool in the cave portion of Cave and Basin National Historic Site.  The vent in the ceiling goes up to the surface.

Looks kinda scummy!

The basin portion of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site is the location of the main spring.  The endangered Banff Springs snails are most prevalent here.


Stinky! The top of the cave vent can be found along a boardwalk above the historic site.
It's raining...time to call it a day! At the end of the boardwalk is one of two smaller springs emanating from Sulphur Mountain.