July 1st is Canada Day, and as you might imagine, in Canada this is a fairly big deal. Parades, Canada flags and fireworks are everywhere, and everyone is out to celebrate. And nowhere celebrates Canada Day more than Banff.
Accommodation in Banff on Canada Day
Canada day is a national holiday, and as a result, what seems like the entire City of Calgary tends to descend on Banff for a party. If you’re reading this at the start of the year, you’re in luck, there are probably lots of hotels left to book. If you’re reading this in June, or even May, good luck, you’re going to have a bad time.
The last bastion of hope for finding somewhere to stay might be either the HI Hostel, the Same Sun Hostel or a camp site up Tunnel Mountain. If reading this is a last ditch attempt at finding somewhere to stay, this is as good as it’s going to get unfortunately. Air Bnb might still have the odd option, but again, you’ll be paying an arm and a leg.
The rest of this post is going to assume you’ve already found somewhere to stay (if not, don’t worry! You can always commute out from Calgary on the day, but expect lots of traffic!)
Throughout the day, there’s a multitude of events in three main locations in Banff. For the full schedule, click here.
Banff’s central park usually puts on an afternoon of musical entertainment, and it’s pretty common for people to take a picnic blanket, claim a spot and enjoy the local musical talent for a while. Usually the musical groups are sourced from Calgary, Canmore, Banff and even Edmonton and there are usually cultural acts such as the Kujawiak Polish Children’s Dance Society.
There is also usually an artisanal farmer’s market where you can buy things like fudge, popcorn or arts and crafts. This is open from around 11am this year.
Finally, fireworks are banned normally in the national parks, so Canada day is one of the few occasions each year that one can see them in Banff. Heading to the Central Park for the fireworks is your best bet, as they’re normally set off from the other side of the river by the park.
Banff Avenue Canada Day Parade:
The highlight of Canada day in Banff is really the parade down Banff avenue. With marching bands, baton twirlers, clowns, firetrucks and giant parade floats, there’s no shortage of entertainment. This year it all kicks off at 4.30pm, but If you want to watch it from a good position we recommend planning in advance. Either head to a restaurant with a balcony, like “the Park”, or “Banff Ave Brewing Co.”, or take a chair and plant yourself at the side of the road really, really early – like 45 minutes early. Here are some photos from previous years; it’s a nice family activity and it’s a good excuse to head out to Banff and celebrate Canada properly.
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