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SPECIAL FESTIVALS

Here are just some of the events that make the Canmore and Banff area irresistible year-round!

MID-JANUARY:

International Ice Sculpture Competition at Lake Louise — a world-class event that draws over 10,000 visitors. Witness professional ice carvers from around the globe compete in this three-day event.

Over 75,000 pounds of clear ice are transformed into breathtaking sculptures on display along the shores of Lake Louise.

These scuptures remain on display until the end of March, weather permitting. Children and parents can also discover the wonders of chipping and creating their favourite characters in ice.

LAST TWO WEEKS OF JANUARY:

The Canmore Winter Festival (ice carving, curling, spelling bees, special concert performances, plus The Rocky Mountain Ski Marathon and The Alberta International Dogsled Races).

END JANUARY:

Canmore's International Dogsled Races. This event at the Canmore Nordic Centre features over 100 International teams in eight different classes of dogsled racing.

END-JANUARY TO EARLY FEBRUARY:

Banff Winter Festival. Enjoy 10 action-packed days of winter fun for all ages featuring the Snow Ambassador Contest, Lake Louise to Banff Loppet cross country ski, Bar Golf, Cascade Plaza Fashion show, ArtVenture, family skating party, Locals Night Out with free ski tickets to Norquay and the Banff Town Party.

EARLY MAY:

Banff Mountain Funfest. Highlights include a Western street dance, Siksika Native teepee raising, native arts and crafts, birds-of-prey demonstrations, pack-horse races, and ongoing entertainment and exhibits.

The townsite of Banff will also offer heritage home tours, native cooking demonstrations, guided hikes and interpretive programs. Weather permitting, both Sunshine Village and Lake Louise will offer spring skiing too!

MID-MAY:

Springtime in the Rockies in Banff and Lake Louise (Folk and country music, Taste of Banff Lake Louise, Family Western Street Dance, Banff Indian Days, Heritage Tourism Awards, guided hikes and more).

Annual Canadian Food and Wine Weekend. Indulge in fine Canadian cuisine and an assortment of Canadian wines at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

END MAY:

Canmore Children's Festival (theatre, storytelling, magic, musical performances, puppet shows, fun games and crafts).

JULY 1ST:

Canada Day (parade down Main Street, pancake breakfast, family fun run, concerts and fireworks at dusk).

FIRST FRIDAY AFTER JULY 1ST (10 DAYS):

Calgary Stampede. This is a world-reknowned annual wild west extravaganza that kicks off with a three hour parade along Calgary's streets.

Events include arts and crafts fairs, a casino and daily afternoon rodeos featuring wild cow milking, wild horse riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, bareback and saddle-bronc riding, barrel races, bull riding, and rodeo clowns.

In the evenings, enjoy chuck wagon races and stage shows.Kids will love the agricultural displays of various breeds of animals, the petting zoo, plus the rides and games on the Midway.

MID-JULY TO EARLY AUGUST:

Banff Arts Festival--70 consecutive summers celebrating the arts (over 100 summer events including Shakespeare in the Park, contemporary and aboriginal dance, music concerts and lectures)

FIRST WEEKEND IN AUGUST:

Canmore Folk Music Festival -- annual event since 1978 (folk, world music, blues etc).

CANADA'S LABOR DAY WEEKEND (FIRST WEEKEND IN SEPT):
Canmore's Highland Games -- the largest Highland Games in Western Canada (heavy sports, wee heavy sports, sheep-dog trials, massed pipe bands, drumming, Highland dancing and Ceilidh dancing with Celtic music).
WEEKEND AFTER LABOR DAY:

Canmore's Rocky Mountain Half-Marathon and Eight-Kilometre Race.

MID OCTOBER:

The Festival of Eagles (lectures, hikes and special events celebrating the annual golden eagle migration over Canmore).

END OCTOBER TO EARLY NOVEMBER:

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Exhibition. For over 25 years, the top producers, directors and writers of mountain-themed movies, documentaries and books have descended on Banff for this annual festival. The Banff Mountain Film Festival brings you the world's best mountain films, videos, and speakers.

NOVEMBER:

The various ski resorts surrounding Canmore usually open for their ski season!(As snow conditions may alter start dates, please confirm dates with the respective ski resorts). Get set for early skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and dogsleding action!

END NOVEMBER:

Santa Claus Parade (parade, festivities, photo opportunities in Banff town)

END NOVEMBER TO EARLY DECEMBER:

Lake Louise Winterstart World Cups. Our area's early ski season will be highlighted. Includes live music, breakfasts, lunches, and a beer garden. New programs are also in place to make it easier for skiers, snowboarders and spectators to get to the hill.

DECEMBER:

Christmas season (go shopping, iceskating, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, snowshoeing etc in picture postcard surroundings!)

END DECEMBER:

Santa in Skis. See Santa at Ski Banff @ Norquay, Sunshine Village, and Lake Louise Ski Area.

DEC 31ST:

Annual Torchlight Parade down the North American run at Ski Banff @ Norquay. Call Ski Banff @ Norquay (403) 762-4421.

Banff First Night Celebrations. Enjoy a family-orientated, alcohol-free celebration of the arts, which takes place in a variety of downtown Banff locations. For more information, call (403) 762-1144.

New Year's Eve Party on the Pond in Canmore.

IMPORTANT: All dates and events subject to change.

For the latest info, please contact the respective tourism bureaus at info@BanffLakeLouise.com and info@TourismCanmore.com.

 

To inquire or book:
Send us an email with dates and number of guests (including ages of children, if applicable). Be sure to mention how you heard about us!

Availability calendar: Click here.
For rates & reservations info, click here.

PLANNING THE ULTIMATE VACATION...

There is so much to do and see near Birch Haven that planning the ideal itinerary can be somewhat over-whelming.

That's why you'll find an assortment of brochures (organized by activity) and the area's best travel guidebooks waiting for you on the bookshelves of Birch Haven. It's just one of the many thoughtful conveniences we hope you'll appreciate.

After all, we are avid travellers ourselves and keenly aware of the little personal touches that make a welcomed difference!

Scroll down to read about the area's seasonal activities, and be sure to visit our PHOTO GALLERIES. Scenic wonders that await you in the environs of Birch Haven!


SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Summer activities are seemingly endless...

Golfing, whitewater rafting, fishing, horseback riding, wildlife-watching, hiking, heli-hiking, ATV expeditions, caving, rock climbing, mountain-biking, and more...

One thing that sets the Canadian Rockies apart from other mountain destinations is how little effort it takes to reach spectacular scenery.

Truly stunning vistas that may require hours of hiking in other parks are on the highway, accessible during SCENIC DRIVES, right from the window of your car or tour bus.
 

You can even drive up to Columbia Glacier, the largest non-polar ice-cap in the world, hop on a snocoach and try out a GLACIAL WALK!

Other effortless ways of enjoying the Canadian Rockies include taking a SIGHTSEEING GONDOLA in Banff and Lake Louise, dining in comfort at the summit restaurants and taking short, but spectacular interpretive hikes.

Or pamper yourself further with a FLIGHTSEEING helicopter ride over the breathtaking landscape!

In and around Canmore and Banff National Park, hikers will find thousands of miles of maintained HIKING trails that offer astounding vistas at every turn.

For a touch of style in the wilderness, you may want to try HELI-HIKING. A helicopter drops you off at the top of your chosen remote peak, and picks you up at the bottom, after you take a leisurely hike down!

Canmore is home to the Canmore Nordic Center, host of the World Cup bike racing events. The Nordic Center features an extensive network of cross-country ski trails which are transformed into MOUNTAIN BIKING trails every summer.

With legal off-roading, and an abundance of old mining double tracks and classic wooded singletracks for enthusiasts, it's no wonder that Bicycling magazine named the Canmore area as one of "The 50 Best Trips on Our Planet."

Mountain Bike Action magazine also hailed Canmore as one of the "Best Rides North of the Border." And with 43 miles of paved trails for family-friendly rides, even kids can enjoy Canmore's spectacular scenery on two wheels.

Canmore is also a famed center for WHITEWATER RAFTING, and many of the outfitters are based down the road from Birch Haven.

Families will enjoy gentle FLOAT TRIPS down the scenic Bow River while thrill-seekers will get their kicks on the white water rapids of the Kananaskis, Kootenay and Kicking Horse rivers. For even more kicks, try HELI-RAFTING at remote river locations.

At Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park's largest lake, take a scenic narrated cruise aboard glass-enclosed boats through the Minnewanka Valley to Devil's Gap.

You can also go MOTOR-BOATING at Lake Minnewanka and try your hand at FISHING. Indeed, fly and spin fishermen from around the world descend on the lakes and streams of the Banff National Park.

Get outfitted at a local tackle store or hire a guide to take you to little-known insider fishing hotspots.

Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise, is a great spot to go CANOEING. Take in the spactacular snowcapped peaks of the Valley of Ten Peaks as you glide across the turquouise waters with the family.

For a taste of the Wild West, hop on a wagon picnic excursion or saddle up a horse.

From meandering rides along the Bow River to steep trails thousands of feet above Lake Louise, there are HORSEBACK ADVENTURES for everyone.
 
 

And then there is GOLFING. With 6 world-class golf courses and 135 spectacular holes nearby, Canmore is a golfer's mecca.

Within a few minutes' drive of Birch Haven are three courses: Stewart Creek, Silvertip, and Canmore Golf & Curling Club.

The world-famous Banff Springs Hotel course is just 15 mins away, while two Robert Trent Jones courses are a half hour away at Kananaskis.

While the area is reknowned for its outdoor activities, there is no shortage of indoor cultural pursuits.

Banff is host to dozens of GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS -- ranging from natural and native American history to cultural heritage exhibits.

PERFORMING ARTS enthusiasts will be glad to know that from May through August, the Banff Arts Festival presents internationally-reknowned guest performers in a rich summer-long celebration of music, opera, dance and drama.

 


WINTER ACTIVITIES

Winter is romantic and simply magical. Ice-skate, snowshoe, snowmobile, dog-sled, ice-fish, ski and more in postcard-perfect surroundings!

For starters, this area is a reknowned for WORLDCLASS SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING on dry champagne powder.

Banff/Lake Louise was recently voted "Best Ski Resort of the World" by over 25,000 readers polled by the respected London Daily Telegraph!

Other accolades include Good Ski Magazine's "#1 Ski resort in North America" and Thomas Cook's "Favorite Destination for British Skiers."

Five downhill ski areas are within easy reach -- Banff's Norquay, Sunshine and Nakiska are within a 20-minute drive.

With over 30 feet of natural snow every year, Sunshine has one of the longest seasons in North America (mid November to mid May) and offers supreme skiing above the timber line.

Norquay, meanwhile, boasts the "Best Fall Line Cruising," according to Ski Canada magazine.

The ski resorts of Fortress and Lake Louise are 45 minutes away and feature breathtaking drives that are as highly recommended as the destination.

For the ultimate in CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, go no farther than the Canmore Nordic Center. Just 5 minutes from Birch Haven, the Center was designed for the Calgary Olympics and offers 40 miles of smooth cross-country and biathlon trails.

Beginner skiers can explore the gentle touring trails of the national park while experts will enjoy the high-alpine glacier traverses rivaling the "haute-routes" of the European Alps.

There is also the thrill of HELI-SKIING; the helicopter drops you off at a remote mountain and picks you up at the base after the superlative high of cutting your own run down an untouched mountain!

Skiing is unsurpassed here but is far from the only activity available.

Follow the tracks of wolves and learn the hunting patterns of owls in SNOWSHOE EXPEDITIONS.

Or take guided ICE WALKS through Johnston and Grotto Canyons. Experience the unforgettable world of suspended waterfalls and massive blue ice pillars, frozen in time.
 

You can even go on a guided ICE-FISHING expedition in the toasty warmth of heated huts!

Perfect for families and couples are SLEIGH RIDES, either on the Bow River or across the frozen expanse of Lake Louise.

Alternatively, let a team of huskies whisk you through breathtaking scenery on a DOGSLEDDING adventure.

Adventure seekers will no doubt want to try SNOWMOBILING through the backroads and wilderness areas of the Canadian Rockies.

And if you are trained for ICE-CLIMBING, get out your gear and challenge yourself on frozen waterfalls...

And for the ultimate in winter sightseeing, try FLIGHTSEEING. Soar over the stunning landscapes of the Continental Divide in a helicopter!
 
 

And should you ever want to spend time indoors, there is always a myriad of PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS -- museums, galleries, concerts and theatrical performances, including the touring international shows of the Playbill Series.

Indoors or out, winter is wondrous in this part of the world!

 


YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITIES

For an unexpected adventure, try WILDERNESS CAVING at the Grotto Mountain right here in Canmore. Be forewarned that this is demanding and fairly treacherous.

This is no "tourist-cave" with pretty colored lights, rubberized anti-slip floors and "Exit This Way" signs. But if you are looking for a thrilling activity, this is off-the-beaten-track and unforgettable. The caverns stay a constant 45 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

At the end of a full day of activities indoors or out, consider a long soak in the therapeutic 104 degree waters of the BANFF HOT SPRINGS, right under Mt. Rundle.

Better yet, simply relax in BIRCH HAVEN'S ROOFTOP HOT-TUB.

After all, nothing beats a soothing massage from steaming aqua jets, crisp winter air and 360 degree panoramic views, all from the convenience of your very own building!

SO... CAN YOU PICTURE YOURSELF HERE YET?!

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