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Bella Coola
Boundary Bay
Campbell River
Dawson Creek
Fort St. John
Fort Nelson
Grand Forks

.. . ..
Golden Memories of the Banff- Windermere, Rogers Pass
and Royal Canadian Pacific

The eternal icefields wear a "necklace of thermal springs", fed from water trapped in fissures and caverns deep in the roots of the Rockies. Raging rivers, glutted by the seasonal runoff, churn and boil like some concoction from a giant soda fountain. Oh the joys of steamy, bubbly-hot, sulfur-scented waters; Solus Par Aqua (health by water) to the Romans; a sacred rite to Canada's native peoples, and Shangri-La to we hot springs fanatics.

Pitt Meadows
Port Hardy
Powell River
Prince George
Prince Rupert
Salmon Arm
Williams Lake






Golden, BC is ideally located as a tourist Mecca, and now has a direct air service that brings the area much closer to tourists, business types and adventurers (more to come). Some day soon, I plan to make Golden my vacation focus for several weeks; it leads to an enormous vacation land. Banff and Calgary are a few hours to the east. The Rogers Pass and Revelstoke lie to the West; then there's the Lake and Hot springs Resorts of Radium and Fairmont to the south. Northward is the long and winding Big Bend Highway, which served those hardy types who insisted an all Canadian route to Vancouver (before the Rogers Pass connection made it obsolete). We always dipped south and took the Spokane route when heading west from Calgary. Now the trip is a breeze via Rogers Pass.

• Golden is A main stop of the newly launched historic excursion train, Royal Canadian Pacific. for information contact Brewster at 1-800 661 1152.

Soothe those Aching Muscles
Fairmont Hot Springs has four pools with an average temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and Radium Hot Springs has two pools, averaging 35 degrees. Hottest of all is Lussier Hot Springs near Canal Flats, whose waters hit a healthy 44 degrees. Four
mineral pools tumble down the hillside into the Lussier river at Whiteswan Hot Springs, near a lake of the same name. Many First Nations people made pilgrimages to these sacred waters via the Spirit Trail. At Canal Flats, your map shows two mighty rivers flowing side-by-side. Great lovers in Indian folklore, the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers were pledged to remain apart until completing their separate journeys.

The Spirit Trail
To the K'tunaxa peoples, Columbia Lake's shores were a Garden of Eden, where the Creator placed his first people. Today, it's the site of Fairmont Hot Springs, which boasts Canada's largest natural hot pools, a lodge, and two golf courses. The original native bath house is open to visitors at no charge. Beyond Invermere and Lake Windermere, the road forks; route 95 heading north via The Bugaboos (of Heli-skiing fame) to Golden and Yoho National Park; route 93 becomes Banff-Windermere Parkway

Kootemik-Radium Hot Springs
Imagine if you can -- two million litres of hot, mineral-rich water gushing from the ground each day. That's a lot of Perrier! With healing powers reputed to relieve arthritis and a list of ailments as long as one's arm, a wily Medicine Man could have made a fortune selling it by the bottle. Known as Kootemik to local Indians, whose legend of Nipika traces their origin, the springs were popularized in the 1890s. At Radium's Aquacourt, you can soak year-round in the steamy, odorless mineral water, or swim in two outdoor pools. The Lodge has an 18-hole golf course, campgrounds and shuttle-bus.

Of Marble and Paint Pots
According to experts, Kootenay National Park is an ancient ocean floor. Over 70 million years ago, so they say, it was compressed, folded like a gigantic pretzel, and sculpted into what we call the Rocky Mountains. In 1920, Ottawa bigwigs dedicated the park in a move to preserve the canyon's mineral springs, and protect waterfalls along the highway. Landmarks on the Banff-Windermere Parkway include Sinclair and Marble Canyons, Vermilion Pass and the Fireweed Trail. Heard about The Paint Pots? Would you believe they're ponds of red, yellow and orange, just like a kiddies' coloring set? The pots are fed by oxide-bearing streams, and there's an endless supply. For ages untold, Indians mixed ochre from this site with fish oil or animal fat to decorate rocks, teepees -- and each other. Near Vermilion Pass, the Alberta- BC. boundary marks the summit of the Continental Divide; rivers east of here drain to the Arctic Ocean or to far off Hudson's Bay; waters to the west flow to the Pacific.

Banff to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway

Banff Park's Castles and Caves
Imagine spending twelve festive days of Christmas in a fairyland castle! Truly unforgettable, when it's the Banff Springs Hotel. During many memorable stays, l learned of the hotel's hey day from band leader Louis Trono, who was on a first name basis with the Hollywood greats. As a return to elegance, the hotel offers a new $12 million health spa, with cascading waterfalls, mineral whirlpools and Turkish baths. The Banff Springs is an Epicurean's delight and a golfer's challenge. The first tee-off, from high above the Bow River to its far shore, still gives me goose pimples.

Upper Hot Springs
After skiing Mount Norquay, hiking Sundance Canyon, or fishing Lake Minnewanka, Sulphur Mountain's Upper Hot Springs is a Banff ritual -- hot plunge, icy shower, steam bath, blanket-wrap and massage. Loose as a noodle and ready to devour an ox -- is how one usually feels after that routine. A gondola nearby will whisk you to the summit for a sweeping view of the valley. Sundance Canyon Trail leads to The Cave and Basin National Historic Site, where like honeymooners for generations past, we gazed through a telescope at surrounding peaks. Clad in Rundle-stone, like most Banff buildings, this site contains displays, a theater, and tours into the misty grotto, with its emerald pools, and warm sulfur water dripping down the cavern walls. Priceless Indian relics at nearby Luxton Museum are well worth seeing.



map page

This map links
to several larger
maps of BC and
Alberta with links
to air Gateways


Doing a round of business meetings in Vancouver,
Langley, Victoria and Seattle?
You can cover all cities in a single day and return refreshed for your next day's activities. Travel time Seattle to Victoria is 34 minutes, and Vancouver travelers can reach downtown Seattle in 70 minutes, with a brief stop in Victoria. Helijet Airways has two busy heliports in Vancouver; the new international airport location and the downtown harbour location next to Vancouver's Canada Place, Convention Centre, Waterfront SkyTrain-Seabus-West Coast Rail Terminal and Cruise Ship Terminal. (604) 273-4688, fax (604) 273-5301.
Airline of the Future.

Ed Anderson Photo