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
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
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."
A Guide to American and Canadian
Inns and Their Ghosts