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Each year, on July 1, Canadians celebrate our national holiday. Canada Day in Banff is busy but wonderful! I often think that there cannot be a better place in Canada to enjoy the Canada Day spirit.
Link to 2014 program: http://www.banff.ca/index.aspx?NID=823
Each year's events are slightly different, but here's a general overview:
The usual focus of the events is in Central Park (near the Bow River Bridge on Banff Avenue). There, you will probably find a pancake breakfast (at a nominal charge), followed by FREE music, comedy and other onstage acts and kids' activities throughout the day. Practically every person in town who's not at work serving tourists is there -- everyone brings blankets or lawn chairs and just hangs out for the day. Sunscreen, hats and water bottles are a must. Keep a rain poncho in your pack, as it's a Canada Day tradition that we always get at least one brief downpour, no matter how sunny the rest of the day has been.
Around 5 p.m. everyone shifts over to line Banff Avenue for the Canada Day parade. Lots of bands, lots of horses, lots of fun. You can stand, sit on the curb, or bring a lawn chair. The best spot to see the parade is in the upper reaches of Banff Avenue - we always sit across from the high school around the Elk St/Banff Ave intersection. It is not so crowded there, and the people in the parade are fresh and full of energy!!
If you are arriving in Banff that day, keep in mind that you will not be able to drive down Banff Avenue to reach your hotel or whatever for about an hour in the late afternoon, as the road will be closed for the parade. Best thing to do is to get here early, leave your car safely parked somewhere, and enjoy the whole day on foot!
In the evening, starting around 7:30, there are bands in Central Park for an outdoor dance/concert that goes on until the fireworks start at 11:10 p.m. (which is when it FINALLY gets dark enough). Best place to see the fireworks is from the Bow River Bridge, where you'll see them reflected in the river.
Have a happy Canada Day!!