We always enjoy seeing entries come in to our annual photo contest, and the number 0f incredible images we receive continues to amaze us. Without further ado, here are the winners of our 2019 contest!

The photo “Majestic” won Bronze in the Judges Category of our 2019 Experience Travel Guides Photo Contest!

Congratulations to Grace Hovius, who will receive 8 Adult, Full-Day Lift Tickets for skiing or riding on “Canada’s Best Snow,” courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort.

The photo “Fantasia” won Silver in the Judges Category of our 2019 Experience Travel Guides Photo Contest.

Congratulations, Matt Meisenheimer! For his prize, he’ll receive 2 Ultimate Explorer Passes courtesy of Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection Pursuit Collection. The passes provide access to four amazing attractions in the Rocky Mountains. They include the Banff Gondola, Lake Minnewanka Cruise, Columbia Icefield and the Glacier Skywalk.


The Grand prize for our 2019 Experience Travel Guides Photo Contest goes to John Krampl for his entry “Pheasant Perch.” Congratulations!

John’s prize is a getaway courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village. It consists of:
– 3 nights in a Deluxe Room for a family of 3
– Dining Room(s) Gift Certificate
– Gondola Passes for 3
– Interpretive Guided Hike Sunshine Meadows

Thanks to all who entered this year’s contest. The overall quality of the entries was astounding. It was a challenge to select the winners with all the amazing photos we received!

Be sure to visit this link to enter our 2020 photo contest, which will open on January 1.

Believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner! Get a jump-start on your shopping by attending one – or more – of these Christmas markets. They’ll get you in the holiday spirit, too! A few Christmas markets took place over last weekend, but there are still other markets to visit if you missed going out this past weekend. Enjoy celebrating the holiday season with other locals looking for the perfect gifts, and take satisfaction in supporting small business owners and local artisans, too!

Okotoks Christmas Festival November 15 – 16

International Christmas Market, Spruce Meadows November 15 – 17, November 22 – 24, November 29 – December 1

Enerplus Olde Tyme Christmas Fair & Christmas Farmers’ Market, Medicine Hat December 5

High River Winter Outdoor Market December 6 – 7*

Christmas Market at Aspen Crossing November 16 – 17

Handmade for Christmas Craft Sale at Coaldale Library November 23

28th Annual Milk River Christmas Craft Fair December 6

High River Christmas Craft Fair December 4 – 5

The BIG Christmas Trade Show, Lethbridge November 29 – 30 at Exhibition Park

Christmas in the Mountains Artisan Gift Market, Crowsnest Pass November 30, December 1

Cardston Christmas Market December 14

*Located along the High River Santa Claus parade route!

Thank you to the many readers who have already entered our 2019 Reader Surveys. Your responses help us to create meaningful, relevant content for future editions of our guides. As a thank you to those who enter well before the contest deadline, we’re announcing an early bird prize!

In 1905, Bert Riggall arrived in southern Alberta. He went on to become a legendary guide in the Waterton region. A self-taught photographer, Riggall’s dramatic images recorded the wilderness scenery as seen from his saddle as he traversed the high country with his clients. Those captivating photographs set in motion the conservation of the Greater Waterton region.

Riggall’ story is now available in the 2018 publication: Bert Riggall’s Greater Waterton-A Conservation Legacy.  The photo reproductions are stunning. Over 300 high-resolution digital scans were printed in dua-tone from the 100 year-old originals.

We will be awarding by random draw, one copy of this table-top book, to each of three readers who complete one of our online surveys by September 15, 2019. A $60 value, this book would be a terrific Christmas present for the photographer or historian in your family!

Click here to find a link to complete the Experience Waterton survey, Dinosaur Trails survey, and/or Cowboy Trails survey!

Due to the abundance of bears in the Olive Lake Area, vehicles are prohibited from stopping along Highway 93 South from McKay Campground to Settler’s Road Turnoff. Both grizzly and black bears have been spending time along the side of the road searching for natural foods. The early season green-up and dandelions along this 15 km stretch of highway attracts the hungry bears emerging from hibernation.

It may be tempting to stop to get a better look at them, but stopping is restricted for several reasons.

Parks Canada lists the following three reasons for the restriction in the bulletin published on May 16, 2019:

  • Stopping creates traffic hazards that are dangerous to passing vehicles.
  • Stopping increases danger to wildlife through habituation to people and vehicles.
  • Traffic congestion can increase the chance of wildlife being struck on the road.

Stopping is also a danger because Highway 93 has narrow shoulders and blind corners in this stretch. The prohibition on stopping will protect both the bears and travellers.

There are two exceptions to the restriction from stopping along the road in this area. First, vehicles that are legally required to stop for safety checks are still allowed to do so. Second, drivers are still welcome to park their vehicles in designated trailhead parking lots.

Parks Canada and the RCMP is taking the ban seriously and will regularly patrol the no stopping zone. Penalties for violations range from a $115 ticket to a mandatory court appearance and maximum fine of $25,000. The restriction will stay in effect until bears move away from the highway when food becomes more plentiful at higher elevations.

Remember that feeding wildlife is strictly prohibited in the national parks. If you see people feeding bears or other wildlife, please promptly report the incident to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470 or via radio. If you choose to stop outside of the no-stopping zone, make sure to follow safety precautions, such as staying inside your vehicle, only pulling over (with all four wheels on the shoulder!) if it’s safe to do so, etc.

For more information on bear safety, refer to these resources from Parks Canada.