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