“We Want Pictures so Kodak as You Go”: Promoting Winter Recreation in Banff in the 1920s


  • Lauren Wheeler




In February 1917 the residents of Banff, Alberta hosted the first Banff Winter Carnival. Aimed at a regional middle class market, the winter carnival became the base of local efforts to get people to visit the Rocky Mountains at a time of year when external promoters, like the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), were not interested in bringing tourists to the region. Local boosters used the established representation of Banff as a wilderness area and incorporated photographs into promotional text to create a different image of place informed by the experience of living in a national park. A careful examination of the 1920 promotional booklet, Banff Winter Sports: Banff Canada’s National Park in Winter, Canada’s Winter Playground, illustrates how Banff boosters used winter recreation and a visual emphasis on people at play in the mountains to make the town a place worth visiting in the winter months.

Author Biography

Lauren Wheeler

Lauren Wheeler is a PhD student in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. Her research focus is on the environmental history of Western Canada. Lauren may be contacted at lmwheeler@ualberta.ca