The entire group will come together for morning presentations. In the afternoon, each group (max 30 participants) will depart with a Group Leader by motorcoach for an exploration of Banff and area. Walking up to 1 mile, about 2 hours; motorcoach travel approximately 50 miles, about 2 hours.
At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet breakfast, with coffee, tea, water included.
Two groups will set out via motorcoach on an exploration of the Banff area, including the town and the Banff Springs Hotel, a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While en route, we will learn about the importance of Canadian Pacific Railway and how it contributed to the building of Canada. As we travel the Minnewanka Scenic Route including Bankhead, an abandoned mining town and relic of Banff's industrial past, we will see hoodoos and anthracite, notable landmarks and historic places, an underwater village, and learn about native history. We’ll stop at a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the classic Two Jack Lake of the Rockies. The other two groups will explore the Parks at Johnston Canyon, a deep rugged canyon with waterfalls and rushing waters. We’ll see how Johnston Creek has carved down into the limestone on the valley bottom, creating a spectacular and deep canyon in a short period of time. Along the way, we’ll make stops for interpretation, viewing, and photo opportunities. Impressively thoughtful, Parks Canada has implemented wildlife crossings – underpasses and overpasses – to enable animals to connect their habitats safely and protect motorists. If we’re lucky, we may spot deer, elk, mountain goats, longhorn sheep, bears and wolves. Groups will switch activities for the morning of Day 7.
At the Banff Centre, the lunch buffet will include soup, salads, choice of entrée, cold cuts, rolls, cheese, home baked breads and desserts. Coffee, tea, water included.
We will discover the fascinating history and geology of the Canadian Rockies in a presentation at the center. Today’s glacial landscape was carved over the last 2.9 million years, during which there have been many ice advances and retreats. We’ll learn from a local geologist about mountain building, the different layers of rock and what they mean, and how the geology of the Canadian Rockies differs from the American Rockies. A second presentation will introduce us to the Banff Centre, during which we will learn from a Banff Centre insider about the state-of-the-art design and architecture of the premises as well as the art, its resident artists and leaders. Afterwards, we’ll embark on an in-depth exploration of the center – the artists in residence, recreation facilities, exhibits, and more.
At the center, we will enjoy a buffet meal, with coffee, tea, water included.
We will gather at the center for a presentation that will explore the concepts of glaciation and the features of a glacially-carved landscape. We will learn about the Athabasca Glacier, which we will visit later in the week. It is part of the massive Columbia Icefields – the largest in North America – whose run-off feeds three different oceans.