Canadiana and Clothing
Few companies in the world were as responsible for the development of a country as was the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in Canada. Founded in 1670, the HBC established trading posts throughout western Canada, many of which attracted settlers, forming the nucleus for towns and cities that survive today, including Alberta’s capital, Edmonton.
HBC stores continue their traditional role of providing a wide range of goods, in towns big and small across the country. In Banff, the HBC store is at 125 Banff Avenue (403/762-5525).
Another Canadian store, this one famous for its fleeces, sweaters, leather goods, and as supplier to the Canadian Olympic teams, is Roots (227 Banff Ave., 403/762-9434). For belts, buckles, and boots, check out the Trail Rider Store (132 Banff Ave., 403/762-4551). Rude Boys (215 Banff Ave., 403/762-8480) is a snowboard and skate shop downstairs in the Sundance Mall, but don’t expect to find anything suitable for your grandparents.
Camping and Outdoor Gear
Inexpensive camping equipment and supplies can be found in Home Hardware (221 Bear St., 403/762-2080) and in the low-ceilinged downstairs section of the Hudson’s Bay Company (125 Banff Ave., 403/762-5525). More specialized needs are catered to at Mountain Magic Equipment (224 Bear St., 403/762-2591).
The store stocks a large range of top-quality outdoor and survival gear (including climbing equipment) and rents tents ($20 per day), sleeping bags ($12), backpacks ($10), and boots ($10). Mountain Magic Equipment also sells and repairs all types of bikes.
Two of the best spots to shop for outdoor apparel are locally owned Abominable Ski & Sportswear (229 Banff Ave., 403/762-2905) and Monod Sports (129 Banff Ave., 403/762-4571).
Gifts and Galleries
Banff’s numerous galleries display the work of mostly Canadian artists. Canada House Gallery (201 Bear St., 403/762-3757) features a wide selection of Canadian landscape and wildlife works and native art.
The Quest Gallery (105 Banff Ave., 403/762-2722) offers a diverse range of affordable Canadian paintings and crafts, as well as more exotic pieces such as mammoth tusks from prehistoric times and Inuit carvings from Nunavut.
Across the Bow River from downtown, browse through native arts and crafts at the Indian Trading Post (1 Birch Ave., 403/762-2456).
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition