Today is Canada Day and Irish Travel Trade News was recently ‘walking on air’ in Canada – when visiting the newly opened Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park in Alberta.
Following a fam trip to St John’s in Newfoundland and Halifax in Nova Scotia (of which more later), ITTN’s News & Features Editor Neil Steedman was invited to spend a day at WestJet’s headquarters in Calgary and was then hosted by Banff Lake Louise Tourism on a visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks.
Opened on 1st May 2014 by Brewster Travel Canada, the CAN$21 million Glacier Skywalk is a 38mm-thick laminated glass observation platform that extends 35 metres out and 280 metres above the Sunwapta Valley…and, yes, the platform does bounce just a little when people (inevitably) jump up and down on it!
A free audio set is provided and there are informative interpretative panels about the local geology and fauna along the pathway to the Skywalk. At $24.95 per adult, $12.50 per child aged 6 to 15 (+ 5% GST) it is a little pricey, as is the Glacier Adventure, which buses you out to walk on the glacier, at $49.95 per adult, $24.95 per child. However, there is a combined Skywalk + Adventure ticket at $64.95 (€45) per adult, $32.95 per child – and the two attractions are well worth it. Advise your clients to allow three hours if doing both.
Banff National Park
Two ‘must sees’ in Banff National Park on the way up to the Glacier Skywalk are Lake Moraine and, of course, Lake Louise – where the Fairmont Hotel, with its lounge/restaurant overlooking the lake, is the place to stay.
Banff National Park has been seeing a lot of bears recently – one section of road near Banff has even been closed as a result – and ITTN, on a brief, one-day visit, saw three black bears right beside the road.
Another ‘must see’ Brewster attraction is the Banff Gondola up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in Banff itself. The views are great and the mountain claims to have “the highest teahouse in the Rockies”.