Past

Doors Open Banff fea­tures his­toric homes of peo­ple who shaped the rugged Rock­ies mecca

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - LISA MON­FOR­TON Break­ing news at calgaryher­ald.com

Banff ’s his­toric homes are glimpses into an era when the rugged Rock­ies beck­oned in­de­pen­dent spir­its look­ing for ad­ven­ture and the thrill of blaz­ing new trails. Though many of the homes typ­ify the ar­chi­tec­ture of moun­tain cul­ture, it’s the sto­ries of the peo­ple who built and lived in them that cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion.

To­mor­row, you can en­ter the homes to hear the tales of those peo­ple. Doors Open Banff — a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Whyte Mu­seum and the town of Banff —will let you walk through the liv­ing rooms of larger-than-life char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Mary Schaf­fer, Nor­man and Georgina Lux­ton, and Peter and Cather­ine Whyte (of Whyte Mu­seum fame).

Walk­ing through the homes of the town’s his­toric movers and shak­ers of­fers some in­sight into what drove these folks to live large in the shadow of the moun­tains. It was a time long be­fore the town be­came a mag­net for tourist buses and sou­venir shops lined Banff Av­enue; a time when these phi­lan­thropists, artists, sur­vey­ors and ad­ven­tur­ers built a community that en­dures and still at­tracts peo­ple for the same rea­sons that drew them.

“Main­tain­ing the his­tory is the most im­por­tant thing,” says Ral­phine Locke, a cousin of Eleanor Lux­ton, who was the only daugh­ter of Nor­man and Georgina Lux­ton and the first baby born in Lake Louise.

Locke’s pas­sion for Banff ’s past is in­fec­tious as she de­scribes the house where her aunt and un­cle lived.

“The things they achieved with­out mech­a­niza­tion — they were so re­silient with such courage. That’s the kind of his­tory I want to keep alive,” she says

Locke’s sto­ries alone are just some of what you’ll hear at the 21 homes to choose from on this self-guided tour. Here’s a glimpse at a few:

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