Banff National Park is 125 years old today, July 3rd, 2010. It was the first area to be proclaimed a park in Canada. We can thank some very forward thinking people who in 1885 set this area aside for future generations to enjoy. The park is also the 3rd oldest national park in the world. There are a number of events going on from May to November to celebrate the anniversary of the park. For the last ten years July 17th has been deemed Canada Parks Day. From coast to coast there are a number of events taking place in National parks and historic sites. There will be free admission to Banff National Park and all other Park Canada venues.
Performance In The Park
To celebrate the the occasion Parks Canada put on an event called Performance In The Park. It took place in the setting of the beautiful Cascade Gardens. The first musician on the stage was Matthew Barber, a Toronto based singer songwriter. Neither one of us knew much about him prior to this evening. We were pleasantly surprised. His musical influences include Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Hank Williams. He has a fantastic voice. We’ll definitely be purchasing some of his music.
The second entertainer of the evening was Hawksley Workman, another musician who grew up in Ontario. His music can not be put into any category. He is his own creation and you just never know what to expect. His style has been called a quirky blend of cabaret pop and glam rock. He is a multi-instrumentalist that can play guitar, drums, bass and keyboards. We found him very entertaining and loved his unique style. You just have to listen to him for yourself and see what you think.
The last performance of the evening was Spirit of the West. The band members are from various places on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland area of Vancouver. They have been going strong for 27 years! We were looking forward to seeing them since we are originally from Vancouver Island and many of their songs reflect on west coast life. I think we first started listening to them at the Queen’s Hotel in Nanaimo over 15 years ago!
After all these years they can still really get the crowd going. Their sound is a mix of Celtic folk meets alternative rock. Out of all three groups to perform it was only Spirit of the West that got a large crowd dancing out in front of the stage. A mini mosh pit was even started. We were surprised that the younger generation knew the words to a few of their songs. The crowd really got into their performance. One of their songs, Home For A Rest is practically the 2nd Canadian National Anthem!
It was a great evening of entertainment. It makes you realize what diverse Canadian music talent we have. Banff should have more Concerts In The Park. You couldn’t get a more beautiful spot for a venue.
Cascade Gardens are located at Canada House. This is where the Banff National Park administration office operates from. Even though the gardens are just a stones throw away from touristy Banff Avenue, they are usually a peaceful place. The administrative building has some interactive exhibits of Canadian history. The admission to the gardens and exhibits are free. It is open from 10am to 6pm from the end of May into September.