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Arts and Culture in Banff

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A deep love and respect for the mountains is apparent throughout Banff – it’s hard to ignore the magnificent Rockies which form the dramatic, snow-capped backdrop. But there’s more to Banff than its wilderness setting. It has a diverse collection of museums and art galleries, while a packed calendar of festivals and performances creates a cultural vibrancy.

 

Museums

 

Encompassing architecture, natural history, and the heroics of human exploration, Banff’s museums are strongly connected to its environment and people. You’ll get an insight into the great beasts which used to roam the Rockies, and learn about the mountain pioneers of these wild parts, with interactive exhibits bringing it all to life.

 

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

 

This large and diverse museum has collections ranging from art to artefacts, with periodically changing exhibits. The work of local artists and interpretations of the local landscape are often on show, while the heritage section contains early examples of ski and climbing equipment.

 

111 Bear Street, Banff AB T1L 1A3. Tel: +1 403 762 2291

 

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies website

 

Galleries

 

Whether you just want to enjoy some stunning local photography or do some serious bargain-hunting for that showpiece item of jewelry to take home, there’s a wide choice of boutique galleries to explore in Banff. The artists are regularly in residence, so you’ll get an expert touch to your gallery visit.

 

All in the Wild

 

Showcasing the work of local photographers, this gallery will attract any wildlife fan. Presented in a minimalist space, the striking give an insight into the lives of the animals which inhabit the local area. There’s also a commitment to conservation, giving it a seamless link to the landscape outside.

 

105 Banff Avenue, Banff AB T1L 1A6. Tel: +1 403 760 3141

 

All in the Wild website

 

Performing arts

 

Boasting an internationally-renowned arts center, Banff puts on everything from poetry readings to majestic operas. There’s also experimental work in the form of art installations that provide an interactive experience for visitors, while regular workshops allow you to get involved in all kinds of performance arts.
Banff Centre

 

A gleaming, modernist building which sits beneath a snow-covered mountain, the Banff Centre is the area’s cultural heart. Home to the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival, it puts on a wide range of unique performance events. Come to see a show, or get stuck into a workshop – this is a place to fire the imagination.

 

107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff AB T1L 1H5. Tel: +1 403 762 6100

 

Banff Centre website

 

Festivals

 

Whether you come for the winter snows or the summer sun, you’re sure to find a festive atmosphere in Banff. The start of winter brings with it a flurry of activity, with World Cup skiing, incredible ice-carving and Christmas magic. Summer is given over to the arts, with film and literary festivals on offer.

 

Winterstart Festival

 

Opening the ski season with a bang, the Winterstart Festival kicks off in late November or early December. The town is transformed into a winter wonderland, with cozy, firelit taverns and Santa Claus parades. Out on the mountains, the World Cup racing provides the most exhilarating action to hit the slopes.

 

Lake Louise Resort, Banff AB T0L 1E0. Tel: +1 403 522 3555

 

Winterstart Festival website

 

Summer Arts Festival

 

When the sun warms Banff, everyone comes out to play. July and August play host to a full schedule of open-air live concerts and a range of performing arts events all over town. Get the drinks in, sit back on the grass, and enjoy the summer fun.

 

107 Tunnel Mountain Drive Box, Banff AB T1L 1H5. Tel: +1 403 762 6100

 

Summer Arts Festival website