“We are not going to see a ghost on a sunny afternoon,” huffs Hubby as we climb the hill from the parking lot to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. ” I can assure there is no Banff haunted hotel!”
Oh the scientific and logical thinking can really put a damper on such excursions.
“You may get quite the surprise when a Banff Springs hotel ghost pops up and offers to serve me tea.” I wink back at him, camera poised should the ghost bride appear before us.
Is the Banff Springs Hotel haunted?
Call them myths or legends, a wide variety of Banff Springs Hotel ghost stories exist. As with any good tale, over the decades the details flourish and evolve.
Banff Springs Hotel Room 873
Should you request room 873 Banff Springs Hotel you may be disappointed. It no longer exists. According to legend, and multiple versions exist, several people met their demise in this room.
The ghastly ghost tale involves a young family and a murder suicide scene. Of all the haunted Banff Springs hotel tales, this one is the most gruesome.
As the story goes, the spirits of the mother and daughter never left Banff Springs hotel 873. Guests who stayed in the room reported hearing shriek like cries in the middle of the night. Housekeeping staff insisted bloody fingerprints appeared on mirrors that would not come clean.
After dealing with such frightening reports, of Banff Springs hotel hauntings, management sealed all access to 873 forevermore.
So much for sleeping in a Banff Spring haunted room.
The ghost bride of Banff
A Banff Springs Hotel wedding is a magical dream for most brides. Marble staircases leading to luxurious ball rooms with the dazzling Canadian Rockies backdropping a dream come true wedding day.
However, for one bride in the early 1930’s, the day would end in disaster. As the Banff ghost folklore goes, the newlyweds arrive for their wedding dinner and reception at the Banff Springs Hotel.
Some say that while ascending a marble staircase to meet her groom, the bride caught her shoe in the hem of her wedding dress.
Other shocking reports tell of the Banff bride’s wedding dress touching a nearby candle flame. The distressed bride at seeing herself on fire, falls down the staircase.
In either scenario, the bride meets her end, breaking her neck on the marble floor.
To this day, patrons, or those wishing to believe the Fairmont Banff haunted stories, insist they see the vision of a bride dancing in the Cascade ballroom. Others tell of a phantom bride floating down the staircase.
The Banff Springs Hotel ghost bride is the most famous of haunted hotel legends. In 2014 a collector coin and stamp were unveiled to commemorate this famous Banff hotel haunted tale.
The Bellman – a friendly ghost
Working at this famous hotel in Banff in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Scottish bellman Sam McCauley (or McAuley), is now a popular ghost visitor. According to Banff legends, Sam swore to his colleagues that he would return to the hotel after his passing in the mid 1970’s.
Guests claim this must be a Banff haunted hotel. What other explanation could there be for an elderly man, in an out-of-style uniform, helping them to find their room.
Others tell how an elderly Scottish gentleman provides assistance when they find themselves locked out of their room. When turning to tip the mysterious bellman, the helpful gentleman vanishes.
Whether Sam the bellman is a Banff Springs ghost still enjoying his helpful role at the Banff Fairmont hotel is unknown.
Banff Springs Hotel history
The Banff Springs Hotel rests majestically among Canada’s Rocky Mountains, in the heart of Banff National Park. Opened in 1888, by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the ‘bastion of luxury’ was inspired by the visionary railway pioneer Sir William Cornelius Van Horne.
As the railways stretched westward, a stop over was needed for those travelling the new route. Van Horne understood that the astounding mountain scenery and natural thermal pools nearby, would create a world class destination. Today the national park is the busiest in Canada.
Vice President of the CPR, Van Horne made famous the line, “If we can’t export the scenery we’ll import the tourists.” The going rate in 1888 for a Banff Springs hotel room was a whopping $3.50.
Banff Haunted Hotel – Castle of the Rockies
The original famous hotel in Banff was a five story wood-framed structure designed by American architect Bruce Price. Drawing thermal water, from nearby natural springs, a pipe system filled pools in the luxurious structure. In 1926 a devastating fire burned the Banff Springs to the ground.
After the tragic fire in 1926, the original wooden hotel was replaced with a steel structure clad in thick Rundle limestone blocks. Carved from nearby Mount Rundle, the origin of the rock provides a magnificent backdrop for this Castle of the Rockies.
Wandering inside and out, we marvel at the workmanship of the hundreds of Italian stone cutters and Scottish stone masons who rebuilt the Banff Springs Hotel.
Sadly not a single ghost makes me tea or even makes a fleeting appearance. Hubby kindly refrains from any I-told-you-so logical comments.
Have you ben to a haunted hotel?
Other articles about Banff you may want to read