The Banff Winter Carnival Returns

Immerse yourself in the magic of winter and let the snow fly!

Just over a century ago (1917), the first Banff Winter Carnival kicked off with great fanfare and enthusiasm, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike. There were competitions in curling, hockey and ski jumping, along with more unusual spectacles like snow-shoe obstacle races, broom-ball tournaments, swim races and fancy diving in the Cave and Basin hot pool. The Winter Carnival quickly became a must-see annual festival that helped to establish Banff as one of the world's premier winter sports destinations. The original Winter Carnival faded into memory long ago, but in Banff the spirit of winter fun lives on!

The Banff Winter Carnival Returns to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site this year with fun activities for all ages. Try your hand at curling, challenge family and friends to wild and wacky outdoor games, and check out vintage films and media from the Banff Winter Carnival’s glory days in the Roaring Twenties.

The Banff Winter Carnival Returns is a featured program running from December 14th, 2019 to March 29, 2020, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays.

Discovery Tour

Experience history and nature just minutes from Banff Avenue. On this 45-minute stroll along lush marsh boardwalks, you will meet colourful characters from Banff’s past and learn why Cave and Basin became the birthplace of Canada’s national parks. Join us and open your senses to jaw-dropping views and bubbling hot springs that have inspired people to visit this special place for millennia. 

Tours are included with your site entry fee and run daily at 1:30 p.m.

Cave and Basics Tour 

Looking for a quick introduction to all the highlights Cave and Basin has to offer? Join us for this accessible 30-minute indoor tour of the 1914 Bathing Pavilion and its many hidden wonders—from Indigenous significance and historic architecture, to a mysterious cave and the birth of Canada’s national parks, to the tiny and endangered Banff Springs Snail and a giant 4-screen movie.

Tours are included with your site entry fee and run two times daily at 11:45 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Hope Springs Internal 

Stop by this station near the Basin and learn about Banff’s mineral hot springs, their historic reputation as “healing waters”, and the science behind the hype that drove early medical tourism in Banff National Park. 

Daily drop-in times are from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.