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Banff Springs Hotel
by Florence Cardinal

The Banff Springs Hotel lies in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in western Canada, only a two-hour drive from the city of Calgary, Alberta. Surrounded by mountain grandeur, by the Bow River and Lake Louise, the Banff Springs Hotel is a major tourist resort with all the amenities desired by travelers from all over the world. Yes, it has everything, including a ghost or two.

In 1888, the Canadian Pacific Railroad forged its way into the Rocky Mountains. Vice President of the CPR, William Van Horne saw the potential inherent in the scenic beauty of mountains, rivers and lakes, and the attraction of the wonders of the natural hot springs. He decreed the building of a luxury hotel, and thus the 250 room Banff Springs Hotel was born.

But, during the building of the hotel, the carpenters made a slight blunder. They created a room with neither windows nor doors. They did what workmen the world over have always done with blunders. They hid it, and the hotel was created with an extra room that no one except the guilty workmen were aware of.

 

The existence of the room wasn't discovered until a fire in 1926. The room was empty, naturally, but it was suggested that the existence of the hidden room might have been responsible for strange phenomena that had been occurring in the corridor that bordered the room. Shadowy apparitions had drifted down the hallway late at night, and a phantom bellhop offered his services to patrons in surrounding rooms. The room was empty, and inaccessible, so perhaps it became inhabited by people from -- the spirit world?

The hotel was rebuilt in 1928 in even greater luxury and became known as the Castle of the Rockies. The rebuilt hotel and the removal of the mysterious room may have eradicated the phantom figures from the hallway. But people say the bellhop still exists. He wanders through the hotel, still offering his services to patrons. He has even been known to open doors for people who have forgotten their key. If you need him, just give him a call. He's been dubbed "Sam."

And he's not alone. Others that wander the hotel are a bride who tumbled to her death from the staircase, a bagpiper with no head, and a bartender who tells patrons who have over-imbibed that it's time they went to their beds.

If you ever get the chance to visit Banff, it's a trip you'll never forget. The mountains, the rivers and lakes, the hot springs - all magnificent. And if you can get a room there (it's often full,) why not stay in the Castle of the Rockies, the Banff Springs Hotel? Oh, and while you're there, don't forget to tell Sam I said "Hi."

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Florence Cardinal



Haunted Hotels
A Guide to American and Canadian 
Inns and Their Ghosts

 

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