Rocky Mountain Soap Company: Soap
Lovely local hand made soap and beauty company. You can really only find this stuff in the west.
For people who like stores like the Body shop or Lush this is a wonderful chemical free alternative that is all hand made on site.
What to buy: They make a variety of items like soap, lotions, salts, perfumes and gift boxes.
I love the patchouli mint soap for that earthy yet fresh smell and the pumpkin soap is also wonderful as is the lavender.
What to pay: $5.65 for a chunk of soap
$30 for a gift box.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
The Fudgery: Mmmmmm...handmade chocolate
The Fudgery makes a sumptuous array of handmade chocolates. They are sold by weight and are a little expensive, but worth splurging on. In fact, the fact that they're on the pricey side was helpful because I wasn't as tempted to overdo it. With the amount of care that's put into these goodies, they are totally justified in charging what they do.
I had a "Icefield" which consisted of milk chocolate, white chocolate and pecans assembled into a cluster. A totally worthwhile snack. Most of their items seem to be themed on the area, hence items like Glacier, Mountain, etc. Would make an excellent gift for someone at home, if you can get them there without eating them yourself.
Surprisingly, there wasn't very much fudge on offer.
What to pay: $3 Cdn or so per 100 grams.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Welsh's (or was it Walsh's?): Candy of every description
I was out window shopping on Banff Ave when the I came upon this shop. It's not a large shop, but it has an extensive selection of commercially made candies from around the world.
I fancy myself as a bit of a candy connoisseur and have been to lots of candy shops. This place really impressed me. They had all sorts candies that you normally can't find in Canada such as Curly Wurlys and those salty liquorice candies Dutch people like.
Cows: Moooove it on over
Cows is a great place for distinctive souvenirs. Virtually every item is cow-related with most of them printed with the shop's disctinctive logo. Many items feature spoofs of popular films and ads, such as "The Mootrix", and "Just Moo It" tee shirts.
I bought my hubby a keychain with cows that graze when you wind it up, a Just Moo It postcard, and one with a hippy cow on it that says "Livestock" (I think that's the cleverest).
You can also grab an ice cream cone while you're there.
What to pay: Offers items in any price range.Related to:
- National/State Park
Canmore offers a little bit more opportunity to do some shopping that isn't tourism-based. That means you can actually do some browsing where you aren't looking at souveniers most of the time.
The main street is called, well, Main Street, and most shops are on this street. My favorites are The Tin Box, Willow and Barnyard Stix For basement bargains on clothing and accessories, make sure you stop by the Saan store. If you still need your candy fix, you can check out The Blackrock Candy Company
What to buy: Gift items, clothing, rustic wood furniture
What to pay: The prices in Canmore a little cheaper than in Banff
Most of the shopping is on Banff Avenue. There are a wide range of stores that sell anything from a plastic totem on a keychain, to Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. There are a few major chains with stores in Banff, such as Body Shop, Gap, Club Monaco, and Roots and there is a Benneton opening soon. I would say if you are a serious shopper, give yourself a few hours. For one-stop shopping, check out the Cascade Plaza, which is a mall. Yes, Banff has a shopping mall, a sad commentary to overdevelopment.
What to pay: You will find the major chain stores will have the same prices as in Calgary.
The Quest: Be a Tasteful, not Tacky Tourist
The Quest has for 44 years, offered visitors to Banff a chance to buy beautiful, unique, art and crafts that are mostly from Canada. They also carry Inuit and Native art. This is a place to get your good friend or in-laws something that they will cherish for a long time. Even if you don't want to buy anything, browsing is extremely fun here.
What to buy: They do have a range of items at all prices, and also carry unique and one-of-a-kind pieces. So, spend a little or a lot. Will also ship world-wide, so you don't have to carry that musk-ox carving in your suitcase.
Lush: Rub a Dub Dub, You'll Want This for Your Tub
The highly successful British company, Lush, has a shop in Banff's major shopping mall, Cascade Plaza. Forget something to put in your hotel whirlpool tub? or, wanting to soak or soothe those tired aching muscles? This is a good reason to conveniently forget your bath products.
Originally affiliated with the famous The Body Shop company out of the UK, Lush has built a world-wide following of it's bath and beauty products, made from natural sources, with 185 stores around the world at the moment.
What to buy: If you're crazy about bubbles, make sure to pick up a bubble bar -- bubble bath concentrate formed into a soft slab -- almost looks like the marshmallow candy you can get at one of Banff's candy stores. My favorites are Amandopondo, and Karma. I found that they give you a gazillion bubbles even using the local hard water.
The massage bars are a must, and make sure to try the mint chocolate massage bar (called "After 8); you have to restrain yourself from eating it. Also, pick up a few of the bath bombs -- big fizzy treats to soak away aches and pains after a hard day hiking or skiing. The Dream Cream is wonderful on dry skin.
If you can't decide what to get, Lush does have gift boxes with assorted products at varying prices.
What to pay: More than average; however, these yummy scented products are worth it, and the quality is excellent.
Candy Capital of the Rockies
It seems in most resort towns, there are numerous candy shops, and Banff is no exception. Start off your sweet tooth tour down the west side of Banff Avenue with The Fudgery, which sells, well, fudge -- I estimate they have about 40 flavors, and other assorted candy and chocolates. The big drawing card here is the fudge and other treats being made right in front of the shop window, on a huge marble table, which will have the kids mesmerized. Make sure to try one of the caramel or candy apples.
Your next stop is the Mountain Chocolates which I , after much extensive research, have concluded sells a better quality candy. Make sure you try the "Bearspaws" which are a gigantic version of that popular chocolate candy, Turtles, only they are decorated with cashews for "claws".
Bernard Callebauthas a store on Harmony Lane (a small mall off of Banff Avenue) and offers the same gourmet Belgian chocolates that you can find in his other stores. Cross the street and head up the east side of Banff Avenue and drop by Welch's Chocolate and Candy -- this is a long-time Banff landmark. The front window is filled with bins of penny-candy (unfortunately, which cost more than a penny) and imported candy from all over the world, including that salty weird Dutch licorice that some people seem to like. They also make their own chocolate treats as well. You can't leave this place without buying something.
What to buy: Fudge, house-made chocolates and novelty chocolates, candied and caramel apples, ice cream.
What to pay: More than average; after all, this is an overpriced resort town!
Silver City Mercantile: Oooooh pretty...
The wares in this shop are absolutely gorgeous. The focus is mostly on art glass and jewellery. It is a real feast for the eyes, and most things are reasonably priced, especially for such a touristy area.
Showing extreme restraint I only bought two items. One was a silver bracelet with pictures of kitschy food on it. The second was a beautiful handmade glass pendant on a silver chain.Related to:
- National/State Park
Bring what you need with you
Outside of the Town of Banff, there isn't much choice for you in terms of 'shopping'. About the only shops you will find are souvenir shops at tourism-designated spots, with hefty prices.
Well, there's Chateau Lake Louise with their shops in the basement of the hotel, but needless to say those aren't cheap either.
So my advice is, bring all the supplies (batteries, film, etc) you need before coming to Banff. Once in Banff, you can find some decent prices inside the town, but once outside, expect the worst.
Visitor Tax Refund
What to pay: Non-Resident Visitors to Canada who spend a minimum of $200 (before taxes) on accommodation, travel tour packages, and/or goods are eligible for a GST/HST tax refund. Applications and eligible receipts must be mailed from outside Canada to: CTR - Canadian Tax Refund, PO BOX 42090, Vancouver, BC, V6P 6S6 Canada. Please allow 6-10 weeks for the processing of your tax refund.
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Pyramid Lake Road, 5 km from Jasper, Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0, Canada
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