Dated 1953, this curious booklet contains 16 pages of semi-glossy paper filled with color photo in a plain tan wrapper that was probably meant to seem posh, but today just seems cheap. While Canadian Pacific had numerous Rocky Mountain lodges in various price ranges, the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise described in this booklet were the crème de la crème, not just for the Rockies but for Canada as a whole.
By any measure, the Banff Springs Hotel is absolutely monumental. After a fire destroyed the original 1888 hotel in 1926, the current hotel was built in stages and now has well over 800 rooms. At one time it was the tallest building in Canada.
With nearly 500 rooms, the Chateau Lake Louise is nearly as large. As it overlooks a lake rather than being nestled in a forest, the white chateau doesn’t seem to fit into the landscape as well as the native-rock hotel. It’s history is similar: first opened in 1890, burned in 1924, rebuilt in stages since then.
Both hotels were only in use during the summer seasons until the 1970s saw enough demand for winter sports that the railroad “winterized” them. I’ve been fortunate enough to cross-country ski out the door of both of them.