Banff, Alberta, Canada

everything nature has to offer

Iyna Bort Caruso

The town of Banff is incorporated inside a national park, the first in Canada and one of the few in the country to be so designated.

Banff is in the province of Alberta, along the Trans-Canada Highway. The stretch of highway from Banff to Calgary, Alberta’s largest city about 90 minutes east and the location of an international airport, is considered one of the country’s most scenic drives.

In 1883, the discovery of hot springs put Banff on the map. People soon converged on the region to soak in the mineral-rich waters and transformed this spot of the Canadian Rockies into a world-recognized spa resort.

The population of Banff is about 9,000. Wildlife is everywhere—sometimes even in town where grazing elk are known to appear. Grizzley bears, bald eagles and bighorn sheep are among the inhabitants of the surrounding mountain terrain.

Banff and the neighboring destination of Lake Louise have everything nature has to offer. Cross-country and downhill skiing, dogsledding and snowshoeing are popular winter pursuits. In warmer weather, golfing, climbing and cave exploring in the country’s deepest cave system are among the many options. And, of course, access to wellness treatments is a year-round perk.

The region’s residential architecture takes advantage of locally sourced materials, predominantly wood and river rock. Older homes are rooted in the traditional western aesthetics of the Canadian Rockies. Contemporary residences reflect advancements in engineering and construction techniques with innovative and dramatic designs.

The property market in Banff offers condominiums, revenue-generating homes and private estates, some with stunning views of both the mountains and the Bow River. Property in Banff falls under a “need to reside” clause and is restricted to those who work in the national park.

No such restrictions exist on the homes, condominiums and townhouses in the upscale valley town of Canmore, about 20 minutes from Banff. Canmore is a desirable weekend home market for residents of Calgary and Edmonton, as well as a vacation retreat for Americans, who represent the largest percentage of international buyers.