In 1882, the Canadian Pacific Railway was building the transcontinental railway through the Bow Valley in this newly acquired territory of the new Canadian Nation.
Bow Valley is a valley located along the upper Bow River in what is now Alberta, Canada. The name “Bow” refers to the reeds that grew along its banks and which were used by the local Indians to make bows. The Peigan Indian name for the river is “Makhabn”, meaning “river where bow weeds grow”
Three Canadian Pacific Railway workers stumbled upon a series of natural hot springs in 1883 here and wanted to develop it for commercial application. After much controversy and debate, the Canadian Government claimed the area as it’s First National Park. The area became popular with tourists because of these springs and easy access by the new railroad. This resulted with the city of Banff being settled in 1886.
The area was named Banff by George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, recalling his birthplace in Banff, Scotland. The Canadian Pacific built a series of grand hotels along the rail line and advertised the Banff Springs Hotel as an international tourist resort.
We went to The Cave and Basin and viewed the hot springs. The 3 railway workers first notice the hot springs by the smell of sulphur coming out of this cave hole.
For years people came to this pool, called the Basin, to enjoy its warm, mineral-rich spring-fed water. They were drawn here to soothe aching joints, or to dive and swim in its bubbling depths.
Bathers loved the Basin for its year-round warm waters, and beautiful color, preferring it over the dark and sulfurous Cave pool.
Due to high bacterial counts, the Basin was closed to bathers in 1971.
We hiked along the Bow River.
Two miles down, the tranquil river becomes raging rapids