A five-storey, 600,000 cubic feet industrial space is transformed for this walkthrough exhibit.
The Fairmont Banff Springs is one of my favourite hotels. I’ve long been charmed by the “Castle in the Rockies,” with its storied past and stunning architecture, and I like to spend as much time here as possible.
But one thing I’ve always been curious about, and heard rumblings of, is the hotel’s haunted history. Spooky stories and urban legends have been around as long as the hotel itself, and most long-time staff members will tell you they’ve experienced things at the Springs that they just can’t explain. Whether it’s a weird feeling or a strange noise, there’s plenty of ghostly lore surrounding this iconic property. And yet, despite all these tall tales, the hotel wouldn’t publicly acknowledge the rumours.
This fall, the Banff Springs is opening up about its haunted past with a ghostly tour, and, naturally, I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peek. I’m happy to report, it was definitely worth the wait.
The tour began in Heritage Hall where we learned about the history of the hotel. We were then led to the spots of the supernatural sightings and treated to plenty of spooky stories.
One of the most common apparitions at the Springs is of a ghost bride, still in her wedding dress, dancing alone at night in the Cascade Ballroom. As the story goes, the bride fell to her death on her wedding day after her dress caught fire on the candles lining the staircase.
Another ghostly resident is Sam the Bellman, a long-time employee who passed away in 1975. It’s reported that he still wanders the corridors late at night assisting lost guests or helping with luggage.
Unusual noises, unsettling presences and unexplained sightings have also been reported in a few guest rooms. In one case, legend has it that a mother left her child unattended in a room and the child died by drowning. Guests in that room now report hearing a baby crying or feeling something crawling up the bed.
Other sightings include that of a barstool in the Waldhaus Pub that was seen spinning on its own, the reflection of a ghostly child in the window of one of the towers and an ethereal little girl hanging out in the ladies’ room. Together, these stories all make a pretty convincing case that the Banff Springs is indeed haunted.
Do I believe in these urban legends? I’m not entirely sure. But I’m definitely employing the buddy system on future trips to the ladies’ room behind Mount Steven Hall.
The tour runs October 23 to 25 and 28 to 30 for hotel guests who book the Haunted Heritage Ghost Tour Package. And, if you really want to get into the spirit, the Haunted Halloween Gala is on October 31 and includes the tour, a seance and live entertainment.