A first look at Banff's new illuminated Christmas experience (PHOTOS)

Nov 24 2021, 7:05 pm

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After what was another challenging year, we could all use a little extra holiday spirit this season.

Luckily, a new event in Banff aims to do just that, bringing Christmas magic to the Bow Valley.

“In Search of Christmas Spirit” is a magical journey through the Cascade of Time Garden in the town of Banff, taking guests on an illuminated stroll through the grounds, with a story inspired by wildlife.

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

The experience first appeared in Banff in 2020; however, due to the pandemic, the event was only available to residents of the Bow Valley. In Search of Christmas Spirit is open to everyone this year, so whether you’re travelling from Calgary, Edmonton, or a little further, you’re sure to be surprised and delighted by this festive new activity.

The experience starts at the Banff Park Museum. Guests check-in and are given a lantern to light your way. From there, guests take a short walk to the Cascade of Time Garden, where the journey begins.

The star of the story, an owl, guides guests through an immersive story featuring the animals of Banff National Park, including wolves, bears, and fish, as the bird seeks the Christmas spirit amongst hard times.

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

“In Search of Christmas Spirit” uses light, such as glowing animals and incredible laser displays, and sound, like howling wolves and grunting bison, to bring festive vibes to locals and visitors.

The awe-inspiring experience brings a new appreciation for the natural beauty of the park and the creatures that live there.

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

The experience runs from 5 to 10:30 pm Wednesday through Saturday from November 24 to December 18. Then from 5 to 10:30 pm daily from December 22, 2021, to January 1, 2022. It’ll take approximately 45 minutes to complete the entire journey.

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

The event is free, but guests are asked to reserve tickets to ensure their comfort and enjoyment. Tickets are required for all members of your group (except children two years old and under) and can be found online.

It’s important to note that the experience takes place outdoors, with limited access, an uneven walkway, and irregular steps. Banff & Lake Louise Tourism recommends dressing appropriately, including wearing proper footwear, and says that visitors are welcome to bring walking poles with metal tips.

Banff Christmas

Elle McLean/Daily Hive

In Search of Christmas Spirit

When: November 24, 2021, to January 1, 2022
Time: Departures every 10 minutes between 5 and 10:30 pm Wednesday through Saturday from November 24 to December 18, and 5 and 10:30 pm daily from December 22, 2021, to January 1, 2022
Where: Check-in at the Banff Park Museum (91 Banff Avenue, Banff), then head to Cascade of Time Garden to start the experience (Cave Avenue, Banff)
Tickets: Free; reservations required

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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