The only times I’ve experienced tourist towns are times where I’ve left the country. Foreign currency and passport in hand, and generally a foreign language dictionary in the other, walking up and down the streets of foreign tourist towns put me on one side of the coin.
Now that I’ve been to Canada’s own tourist town, I have gained a better understanding of the other side of the coin. Not because Banff is bad, but because it’s easy to see how quickly problem-plagued tourist town problems can become the norm. Banff is a clear indication that this country knows how to do tourist towns better.
Banff’s walkways are almost as wide as the vehicular streets, providing ample room for tourists to walk up and down the touristy district. Crosswalks provide left, right, and diagonal crossing paths to cross the street in any direction during prolonged red lights. Parking lots are plentiful and large, ensuring tourists with rented vehicles can find a place to park and walk. Washrooms are abundant, clean, and free.
That’s a foreign word you don’t find when you travel to other countries. Simply pay the national park fee when you enter Banff National Park and all attractions, bathrooms, and parking lots are free thereafter.
Painless and simple.
Banff may be a tourist town, but it doesn’t feel like one. And all the horror stories I’ve heard of past-Banff and the horror stories I’ve seen in other tourist-plagued towns shouldn’t scare away want-to-be visitors. Whether you’re Canadian or are travelling from across the world, Banff is a tourist town worthy of a lengthy visit.
You can view the entire Banff National Park gallery right here.