Doing it by choo-choo and posh motor coach
(Banff and Lake Louise - "Great adventure!" says Chan Burpee)

(Click on the photo below for an enlargement)


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"Beautiful scenery, 4-star hotels, a rewarding trip!"

     Officially - and for scrapbook titling - the thirty of us took the 10-day excursion put together by Collette Tours as its “Canadian Rockies Train Tour.” No boats, no rafts, no float planes, just trains .. and a follow-on Jasper-to-Calgary overland segment by comfortable tour bus. Our itinerary took us from Vancouver, BC, where we spent our first three days, by Vista train to Kamloops, BC, and from there to Jasper. It was then Super Bus down the Columbia Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise, and Banff in Alberta, before terminating our Canadian visit in Calgary.

    After linking up with affable Pat Sullivan, our Collette tour guide, at the Landmark Hotel for our “Welcome Party” in the Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant, we did some Vancouver sightseeing with a vengeance. For example, our first day City Tour took us to the Canadian Craft Museum for some quick “culture,” the Vancouver Art Gallery and a mandatory visit to the city’s Stanley Park with its 40-foot high totems. In later rambling, we toured Bloedel Conservatory, a self-contained rainforest with macaws, parrots, and everything verdant, and then our 30 green-thumbers ooo’d and ahhh’d in the city’s lush Quarry Gardens.

    No visit to Vancouver would be complete without a visit to its Gastown - we did that! - and, of course, there was some shopping (limited!) on famed Robson Street, the street on which our Landmark Hotel was located. Believe me, no part of this most interesting city was left unvisited by CLUB 44.

    Come 7:30 a.m. on Day 4, we boarded the “Rocky Mountaineer” on our first leg to Jasper, doing a mid-train ride, one-night overnight stay at the Ramada Inn in Kamloops. The scenery enroute was spectacular as our Vista-train wended its way through the Rockies. . . We passed Mount Robson, numerous waterfalls, and spied Bighorn sheep galore. After dining at the Chapter’s Restaurant with its panoramic view of Greater Kamloops, several of us were reported to have done the all-in-one-bed post-dinner cocktail bit at the Ramada.

    At Jasper, we left the Mountaineer and did an overnight at the Sawridge Hotel, an Aspen, CO look-alike and, surprisingly, Helen Darling, Lloyd Peelle and Dotty found the time to splash in its outdoor pool ... Brrrrrr! ... Up and at ‘em the next morning we climbed aboard our well-appointed tour bus for Lake Louise driving through Jasper National Park on the celebrated Icefields Parkway that, fortunately, in late August was devoid of ice. Enroute, we viewed the swiftly-flowing Athabasca River and Sunwapta Falls , the latter from its crossover bridge. And we viewed Peyto Lake from an overlook – a truly “green lake” with its green water being caused by sunlight filtering off the glacial deposits floating throughout its water.

    Many “stretch stops" were taken - pictures, too - one at celebrated Bow Lake. While the Columbia Icefield embraces many glaciers, the Athabaska Glacier was the glacial site we visited. Our mammoth snomobile drove all 30 of us right onto the glacier where Cal DeGolyer, Ted and Peg Markham, Lou Daukas and Bunny DeGolyer hollered the “Don’t slip!” warning amidst the countless Japanese tourists.

    Then ... the matchless scene that is Lake Louise and its chateau in which we were bedded. Dick and Phyllis Evans appear dwarfed by the 10-story, multi-wing, 511-room resort hotel ... A ski-lift sightseeing ride was spectacular and nearby Moraine Lake, although log-jammed, was just as impressive. (Inset; Tour Guide Pat Sullivan and our Motorcoach pilot, Ben Crandall).

    With an “Adieu, chateau!” we were off to another Canadian gem, the Banff Springs Hotel where we were greeted warmly and then given a personal tour of the inside and outside of said property by the hotel’s former general manager. Elks grazed on a town soccer field just a block from our hotel - their “clumps” quite prevalent. A short downtown bus tour gave our ladies an opportunity to shop Banff Avenue with its view of Cascade Mountain at its east end. (Inset: Jeffrey Collins, ex-General Manager).

    Highlight? ... Our gondola ride up Sanson’s Peak where we enjoyed a 7,500-foot high luncheon in the Summit Restaurant, Canada’s highest eatery. Off again the next morning, we drove by Mt. Rundle and the Voodoos, a quite strange rock and clay formation, and then by Turret Mountain to Olympic Park. Four brave ones, Bill and Marilyn Baldwin and Dick and Phyllis Evans even rode the Park’s “Bullet.”

    In Calgary, our last stop, we noted the city’s skyline and tower before de-bussing at our “digs, the very posh Palliser Hotel. Many of us visited the Glenbow Museum the next day, Janet Daukas taming an electric bucking bronco with others of us enjoying the “Great Cowboy Gumball Roundup,” a painting of multi-colored gumballs and the mildly porno painting, “Cowboys at Leisure.”

    Two other absolute must-do’s when in Calgary: taking in the super verdant Devonian Gardens, Alberta’s largest indoor gardens and riding up to the 1,600-foot Calgary Tower’s Observation Deck to enjoy a lofty Starbucks. Accessible downtown was “The Family of Man,” 21-foot tall statues, naked and impressive; inaccessible but there if you wanted to cab to it was Calgary’s very unique stadium, the Saddledome a dual left and right sports dome.

    Taking the No-Fare C-train for a short ride gets one to Calgary’s famed zoo that houses more than 1,100 animals and is ranked in the “Top Ten Zoos of the World.” Every animal was represented - rental electric carts at this mammoth, multi-acre zoo would have been helpful!

    Did we enjoy our visit to the Canadian Rockies and several of Canada’s most interesting cities? As proof, look again at the four group photos taken at our Farewell Party . . This sip and sup at Quincy’s Restaurant followed the taking of our group photo at the start of this website page ... Look at all of those smiling faces! They tell you that all 30 of us thoroughly enjoyed this CLUB 44 tour - If you haven’t made this trip yourself, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Chan Burpee,
VP Emeritus, New England Region
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