Rocky Mountain


Banff develops new way to celebrate historic past

The Town of Banff has come up with a new way to celebrate the old.

Beginning shortly, the town's Heritage Committee will launch a feature on the website and its weekly newspaper Town Page highlighting a local house, streetscape or location that has some historical significance to the national park town.

The monthly feature, which has yet to be named, is based on a similar weekly feature in New York City hosted by the Municipal Art Society, called Places that Matter (

"The New York program is community-based. People nominate or suggest properties, and it can be a house, a building, a streetcorner, a streetscape... the goal is to encourage people to think about those places that are important to them," said town planner Megan Squires.

"Banff is so much in people's memories. This is a way to give people an outlet for some of those thoughts and memories."

The first site chosen for profile, the 1907 Peck Cabin at 514 Buffalo St., has been researched by committee member Ralphine Locke and should be published within the next few weeks, Squires said.

The house, one of the original buildings along the Bow River, pre-dates the construction of Buffalo Street. Its exterior is made of log, wood and asphalt shingles, with wood frame single pane and double hung windows, a concrete foundation and an exposed log ceiling. Over time, it has received a front verandah, side and rear additions and a tower in the northwest corner. For years it was used as a rental property and a summer home, but it was purchased in 2007 by Wilder and Davis Luthiers Inc., who plan to restore the building and construct an addition off the back. The house will be used as a residence and workshop for the restoration and construction of stringed instruments.

The house will this summer be part of the Doors Open Banff tour of historic homes.

The heritage committee is hoping to inspire community members to nominate locations and places and tell some of the stories connected to them.

Squires noted that some of the properties they'd like to profile are privately owned and not designated heritage properties, which means they don't have an official information plaque attached to them.

As well, a lot of the information they're looking for is the "human history" associated with places, stories of the people who built Banff in its early days.