Top 10 interesting facts about HI-Banff
10. You get a free city bus pass for anywhere in Banff, valid for all the days of your stay at the hostel. At $2/ride, this quickly adds up and will save you money visiting the Sulfur Mountain Gondola, Banff Springs Hotel and all the other must-see sights in the town during your stay....not to mention getting to the bars at night!
9. You're travelling in hostels because you want to meet people, right? We get it - so we have a full-time activities coordinator who has the coolest job in the world, making sure there are things on the go every day so you will meet other travellers easily. Ice climbing (see #8)? Check. Very cool, friendly, cheap pub on site with live bands, karaoke and guest participation (see #6)? Check. Outings to go hiking, skating sightseeing with other guests? Check. It's more than a place to sleep, it's a place to meet people.
8. The HI-Banff has an ice climbing wall on-site with lessons and hero-photo-opportunities to impress your friends back in whatever temperate climate you came from. Too scary? Then just watch ice climbers from the window while sipping a beer from the hostel pub, "The Storm Cellar.".
7. There a ghost town building on the hostel property. This old train station from Bankhead is located between the Mary Belle Barclay building and the main hostel. Bankhead was a coal mining town that shut down inside Banff National Park in the early 20th century. Part of the town is still standing, but under 20 meters of water in Lake Minnewanka.
6. The hostel has a band made up of staff and ex-staff that likes to rock out on Wednesdays in the pub - they'll let anyone who comes and can play or sing get up on stage with them and jam out and will lend them instruments to do so. Bring your lounge-singer voice and sing along.
5. We had a blogger who decided to make a short movie about our property! Come on, how cool is that? Check it out.
4. The smaller dormitory building is called the Mary Belle Barclay Building. Mary was the founder of hostelling in Canada. In 1933 she opened the first hostel in Canada outside Calgary near Bragg Creek. It cost $0.25/night to stay, but before you go running for a refund consider this: no running water, no electricity, no insulated walls, plus everyone and everything was in the same room, including the kitchen stove. We've come a long way from such a humble beginning.
3. HI-Banff is located in the first town created inside the first National Park in Canada.
2. We are on the edge of the town - given that it takes 20 minutes to walk across town, that's not far - but because we are not in the business core and because we are in a National Park, we see elk, deer, and these scruffy varmints (they are called Columbian Ground Squirrels) in our parking lot and our front lawn regularly. Definitely one of the highlights.
1. The mission statement of HI-Canada is "To help all especially the young gain a greater understanding of peoples, places, and cultures through hostelling" If you have an idea of how we can do this better, please tell us.