Nov. 3-7, 1999 Marketplace

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Banff: Climbers and Elk Mingle
As mountaineering legends descend on Banff for one of the world's most prestigious film festivals, the streets are abuzz with electric excitement. Locals and tourists fill The Banff Centre hoping to rub shoulders with legendary mountain characters such as Everest summitter and IMAX filmmaker David Breashears during the November 5-7 festival that previews top adventure films from around the globe.

Downtown Banff
The festival alone is often the main draw that weekend, but once visitors start to arrive they can't help but be lured by the wilderness and the variety of outdoor activities that draw people from all over the world to Canada's flagship national park. It's a unique place to visit. Elk walk the streets as casually as climbers and locals. A train whistle blows in the distance as a reminder of the park's railway roots, while designer shops dot the streets.

It's on these busy downtown streets that cultures and people from all walks of life come together. Hollywood's rich and famous walk with locals and international visitors; everyone wants to experience the wonder of one of Canada's true wilderness jewels.

From a sleepy summer resort town that used to close its doors in the winter months, Banff has now grown to be a year-round attraction. They take in the restaurants, shops, museums, cultural activities, and walk Banff's bustling main avenue.

Begin the day with a brisk morning walk down Banff Avenue as local retailers begin to open their doors for the day's business, sit in Evelyn's cozy coffee shop sipping on steaming java and eating fresh-baked muffins. Only minutes away from all the action, take a quiet walk along the banks of the Bow River.

Or take a relaxing soak in the therapeutic waters of the bubbling historic hot springs, while parents watch their children scream down the waterslides at Douglas Fir resort and arty folk enjoy the exhibitions at The Banff Centre and the local museums.

As the daylight begins to fade, it's time to start thinking about dinner, maybe a romantic meal at Ticino's Swiss-Italian restaurant, or head for the rowdy atmosphere at one of the many local pubs, or gran an Earl's meal for the entire family.

And when the sun finally sinks behind the mountains, another life begins as the town lights up and the younger crowds hit the dance floors at Outabounds and Aurora. Other nightlifers get a taste of the Western flavor of our heritage while two-stepping at Wild Bill's. No matter your interest, there's something for everyone in Banff, although the ski hills don't open until mid-November or early December.

Cathy Ellis, Correspondant

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