” Apparently the water was a cure for Syphylis” remarked the ever smiling Hubby.
I almost dropped my camera whirling from gazing at the bubbling pool to look if my leg was being pulled. Hubby continued reading from one of the many signs at the birthplace of Canada’s National Parks:
“1918 – The chief ailments for which sulphur waters have proved efficacious are diseases of the skin, gout, chronic rheumatism and syphilis, for the treatment of stiff joints, and gunshot wounds, and in poisoning of mercury and lead.”
“Well that would have been quite the group to hang out with in the hot pool I must say.”
History of the Banff Cave and Basin
In 1883, when three railway workers from the Canadian Pacific Railway stumbled upon thermal hot springs, they immediately imagined the potential profit that lay before their eyes.
With the railway opening up the wide expanse of Canada, wealthy globe trotters were keen to experience the adventure of the Rocky Mountains. Frank McCabe and brothers William and Tom McCardell envisioned the travelers soaking happily in their newly found hot springs and paying a pretty tourist penny to do so.
Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, held a very different vision. Once news of the hot water streams flowing from the western rocks spread east to Ottawa, he supported the creation of a hot springs reserve. The hot pools and surrounding land would be protected as Canada’s first national park.
Today the pool rules have changed dramatically since the free for all of maladies submerging in the hot waters of the Banff Cave and Basin.
Today at Banff Cave and Basin
For a small entrance fee, or showing your annual pass to the park, you can walk through the Banff Cave and Basin and upper streams. Bathing in the waters is forbidden and many warning signs about even dipping a finger in are on prominent display.
You will be pleased to know I obeyed all rules and looked extensively for any signs advising against photography. Since my misbehavior and near expulsion at the Badlands Passion Play I have been on my best blogging behavior.
The curative waters, that aboriginal peoples likely gathered at for millennia, now shelter the endangered Banff Springs snail. No other spot on the planet houses the wee creature, no bigger than an apple seed.
Here the tiny shelled creature remains safe from such things as gout, rheumatism and syphilis.
For information on hours of operation, fees and location click here.
Do you have a protected parks near you? I’d love to hear about your top suggestion for us visit.