Grey clouds forming and it is looking like rain or maybe snow (it is May in Banff after all). 20 people gather at the Whyte Museum for the Banff version of Jane’s Walk.
Honorary guides Rob Crosby and Dorothy Carleton will lead us with stories about this wonderous place and the people who have created the rich history of our modern times.
As we started we glanced up at the sky wondering if we would get wet but as we started out in Central Park, Dorothy was reminded of singing at the Bandshell with Louis Trono, Banff’s famous big band leader. Someone asked her what song she sang and she replied “When your smiling”. Then she lead us in singing the song and as we finished …”and the whole world smiles at you” the sun broke through and we were blessed with warmth from both the sun and our connections to each other and the history of Banff.
As we wandered through central park Rob talked about the old zoo with bears and told us of being a kid and being so excited about watching them at feeding time. We looked at public art, we walked along the Bow River and remembered it’s many faces – shrouded in willows, then open as the beaver and elk mowed them down, and now again with willows and other shrubs making it a wild and natural. As we stood on the path looking across the river an osprey dove into the water but came up empty and flew off – it was very dramatic.
Rob told us some stories about fun on and around the river – boat races, skating, winter bridges and the flood of 33 when you could canoe way past the rivers edge onto what is now the Whyte Museum back lawn where he used to live. He also told us about Abegweit (meaning “Cradle on the Waves”) the home his father built in 1918.
We finished at Windy Cabin with Dorothy telling us of being a war bride from England and moving to Banff National Park with her young baby and living in a similar cabin near Bow Summit.
When she first saw the Cabin she was shocked at how primitive it looked on the outside and then was even more shocked what was inside. Kerosene lamps, a small bunkbed and a wood stove with a barrel oven. She learned to bake bread and create a life for her and her family there. Dorothy is now in her 90’s and still brings that spirit of enthusiasm and yes we can attitude.
This event is about celebrating and bringing to life the ideas of Jane Jacobs. Jane was a writer and activist who really wanted people to learn about their neighbourhoods, to walk, and to make their communities vibrant and liveable by connecting with each other. We really honoured the spirit of Jane’s philosophy and at the end people exclaimed let’s do this again. The Banff Ideas Bank, the Banff Community Foundation and the Town of Banff’s Community Development department co-created this event.