Essential Architecture-  Canada

Banff Springs Hotel


Bruce Price






Scottish Baronial style




  Banff Springs Hotel from the grounds.
  Another view of the Banff Springs Hotel. Sulphur Mountain is behind the hotel.
  Banff Springs Hotel, October 1929. Note the bare hillsides around the hotel at the time. Trees would later fill them in.
The Banff Springs Hotel is a former railway hotel done in Scottish Baronial style, located in the Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The hotel, designed by architect Bruce Price,[1] was built between spring of 1887 and 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, at the instigation of its President, William Cornelius Van Horne. The hotel was publicly opened on June 1, 1888[2] and rebuilt in the 1920s after a fire.

Under the stewardship of its current owner, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, the hotel has recently had an extensive renovation which, however, has not changed its original grandeur. A significant feature of the change has been the addition of a world class spa. An original construction flaw, the siting of the entrance and lobby on the river side, has also been corrected in this renovation. (The architect is said to have declared "you built my hotel backwards!")

The hotel is within a spectacular setting in the Rocky Mountains, just above the Bow Falls, close to thermal springs. It is within walking distance of the resort community of Banff. The main view from the hotel is across the valley and towards Mount Rundle, frequently cited in geology books for its exposed and tilted ancient seabeads.

The original wooden hotel burnt down in 1926, and was rebuilt larger and in its current form in 1928. In 1968, the hotel was winterized and has been open year-round since.[3] Some people have compared [weasel words] its past operating schedule to the fictional Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's book The Shining in that, like the Overlook Hotel, it was quite large and grand, located in a remote wilderness area prone to impressive snowfall every winter, and only open in spring through autumn months.

The Banff Springs Hotel is one of the premier resort hotels of the world. The golf course in the river valley is also noted worldwide.

Halfway up the internal staircase closest to the Bow Falls may be found a noted painting of William Davidson felling trees on the Miramichi River in colonial times. Davidson was the first European settler in that area, and grew up in Moray, close to Banff, Scotland.