Banff and Lake Louise History Explorer
Book Review

Banff and Lake Louise History Explorer (An Altitude Superguide), by Ernie Lakusta, Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd. The Canadian Rockies, Canmore, Alberta, 2004.

Finding a good, compact, general history of Banff was not easy. What is available are dozens of small books on niche areas of Banff history, like the Swiss guides, or woman of the rockies, etc. If you were to buy all of these niche histories it would cost you several hundreds of dollars to cover the myriad facets of Banff history. Not the way to go if you are on a budget, even though each book is good read.

After visiting the book sections of visitor centers, several book stores, and a library, two book store clerks and a librarian suggested The Canadian Rockies: A History in Photographs, best met our need and we bought it. A good book, which we review in our book section.

Then we found Ernie Lakusta's book, Banff and Lake Louise History Explorer, on our own -- in the last book store we visited on our summer 2006 trip. This book was just what we were looking for. Well written, beautifully illustrated, well designed, up-to-date, with all the essentials of Banff history and a few topics you might not find other places. If you are interested in history, you will not find a better overall book on Banff history at an affordable price. (The actual title is Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer, but since "&" is a reserved character in HTML coding, "and" has been used instead of "&" in the title on this website.)

One problem. Why was it so hard to find? We took high resolution photographs of the book shelves at a couple of visitor center gift shops and the Banff visitor section of the Banff Townsite Library. I just reviewed these photos and the book is nowhere to be found on the shelves. Even Amazon does not have a photo of the cover on their listing as of 9/2006. Altitude Publishing has done a great job in producing the book, but they need to do a better job of getting it on book shelves where tourists will see it and buy it.

Topics include: map of Banff National Park, introduction, people of the shining mountains, prehistoric hunter-gatherers, new arrivals, the Stoneys, the legend of the Pasque flower, first contact, historic routes, map of historic routes, Peigan Post (Old Bow Fort), the Palliser expedition, Sir James Hector, creating a national dream, a spirit rules the hot springs, the legend of the hot springs, missed opportunities, these springs are worth a million dollars, creation of the Hot Springs Reserve, creation of the Rocky Mountains National Park, map of the changing boundaries, Banff National Park, death at the gates, gateway to the rockies, suppose we call it Banff, arrival of the steel ribbon, well Banff it shall be, the first entrepreneur, if we can't export the scenery, the Banff Springs hotel, Bow Falls, the Vermilion lakes, map of town of Banff area, peaks around town, Devil's Gap route, Lake Minnewanka, Devil's Gap, the first tourists to Banff, peaks surrounding the lake, a tale of two guides, the ghost towns, the Bow Valley parkway, map of peaks in Banff vicinity, the Sawback range, the Massive range, Silver City, park prisoners, Vermilion pass, at the great divide, the legend of the fireweed, Usna Waki-Cagubi, peaks of the Ball range, peaks of the Bow range, the lake of the little fishes, discovering a gem, it had to be a royal name, trail blazer of the Canadian rockies, Laggan, the great divide, the story of Mt. Lefroy, homage to the Queen, a tragic day on Victoria, hidden from view, Lake Agnes, above Lake Agnes, Georgia Englehard Cromwell, the Slate range, Paradise Valley, discovery, the giant steps and horseshoe glacier, mountains men and mountaineers, the Yale Lake Louise Club, the Appalachia Mountain Club, the Swiss guides, guardians of the valley, on top of their world, the Temple tragedy, cathedrals pinnacles and towers, Moraine Lake & the valley of ten peaks, Wehkchemna: the valley of the ten peaks, the ten peaks, Consolation valley, the Consolation peaks, Kicking Horse pass, a fortuitous wink, a twist of fate, the Canadian Pacific Railway, chronology, references, index, photographic credits, about the author.

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