I am a lifelong Albertan and I have heard the stories of the Banff Springs Hotel. From its history to its beauty to its resident ghost. Say what? Yes, I said ghost. Tell me more you say. Read on my friend.
History of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The construction of the hotel began in 1887 under the guiding eye of William Cornelius Van Horne. The hotel was built at the convergence of the Bow and Spray Rivers with a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains.
The hotel opened to the public in 1888. The hotel became a popular destination for travellers from North America and across the world. This meant the hotel went through upgrades from 1900-1910 and again from 1910-1928. Disaster struck in 1926 when the original wood built hotel burned down. It was rebuilt and with almost continual additions and improvements being made appears as it does today. (see above)
During the World War II years of 1942 to 1945, the hotel had to close. Its doors reopened with the end of the war in 1945 and the Banff Springs Hotel worked hard to bring tourists back to their establishment. Other changes took place through the 1950’s to the 1990’s from construction to the changing vision of various general managers. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is world known as a luxury hotel nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Those Who Checked In and Still Have Not Checked Out
The Banff Springs Hotel Ghosts- The Bride
The story of the bride originated in the late 1920’s and goes like this: a bride was descending a marble staircase in the hotel when something caused her to trip and fall. Some claim that the heel of her shoe caught the hem of her wedding gown which resulted in the fall down the marble stairs. As a bride who experienced something very similar, I tend to believe that the shoe and the hem could have been the cause of her tragic fall. Others have claimed that her dress brushed against a lit candle causing the bride to be startled and slip to her death on the stairs. Whatever caused the fall the result was tragic. The bride did, in fact, perish on the staircase and she has been seen on numerous occasions by both hotel staff and guests alike walking up and down the staircase in her wedding attire. The bride has also been seen in the upstairs Ballroom dancing by herself. What a sad existence. People tend to think that she is pining for the groom she did not have the chance to marry.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Ghosts-Good Old Sam
Some guests of the Fairmont Banff Springs have had the experience of receiving service from a long deceased bellman. Sam McAuley was a friendly and helpful Scotsman who was the head bellman at the hotel starting in the 1960’s and until his passing in 1975. Sam was genial in life and according to some guests and staff, he still is in death. Two elderly ladies that were staying at the hotel received a helping hand from Sam when they called the bell desk for assistance when their room key would not work. The bellman on duty was assisting other guests and could not attend to the ladies call for 15 minutes. By the time he was able to get to the ladies he found that their room door was unlocked. The bellman was told by the ladies that an older gentleman dressed in a plaid jacket had helped them. Their description matched Sam to a T. Sam has been seen in his old office, which is now a guest on the mezzanine floor. Both hotel staff and guests have reported feeling cold spots on the sixth, seventh, and ninth floors of the hotel where apparitions have also been seen. Sam McAuley must have loved his work and helping people if he is still hanging around the hotel. Many people dream of finding work they love that much.
The staff of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel have said that it is hard to keep room 692 booked. There is a less friendly spirit that resides within it. You should not expect a restful night if you choose to stay in room 692. It has been reported that the pillow was yanked from under their heads while sleeping and some guests have been pushed off the bed.
Room 873 is no longer available to stay in. It has been covered and is no longer accessible from the hallway. Which is good with me since the story of that room is spine tingling. The story is that an entire family was murdered in room 873 and when guests could still stay in the room they would report waking up to the sound of screams. When the guest would turn on the lights they would then see bloody handprints on a mirror. Some reported that the handprints would di sappear before cleaning staff could arrive. Other reports state that the handprints could not be removed by cleaning the mirror. I am glad to know that room 873 is no longer available for rent.
Andrew Guilbert has written a post entitled The Ghosts of Fairmont Banff Springs for avenuecalgary.com where he makes mention of a Halloween Heritage Ghost Tour that has been offered at the Fairmont Banff Springs. Now that sounds like a spooky good time. Let us know if you have attended or would like to attend such a happening. Comment below.
The Other Half