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Around Banff: Hogarth Lakes Trail

Our photography workstudy, Meghan Krauss, spends a lot of time taking beautiful pictures in and around Banff, so we thought we’d share some of her stories and images with you.

The Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail is a 4.5km loop along flat terrain through dense forest in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and follows a route that includes great views of surrounding mountains from the shoreline of a series of frozen lakes. It’s a perfect trail for beginner snowshoe users, as avalanche gear is not a necessity. The trail starts at the Burstall day use area, which is about 41.5 km South of the Nordic Centre in Canmore along the Smith Dorrien/Spray Trail.

It was a weekend in early January that I headed out on the Hogarth Snowshoe Loop. There had been some fresh snowfall the week prior, so the snow was deep, which added to the quiet natural surroundings of the wooded trails.

After finishing the loop, we began the trip back to Banff. The Smith-Dorrien Spray Trail is a gravel-road that gives “backdoor” access to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Spray Lakes Provincial Park, for ice fishing, skating, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and boating. The drive is long, but has its own great views, such as this one of Mount Nestor.

While driving down the Smith-Dorrien Spray Trail in Spray Lakes Provincial Park, we spotted something moving out on the frozen lake. Pulling into the nearby parking lot, it became obvious that it was a group out on a local dog-sled tour. Along with a couple of ice fishers, we watched as the groups finished up their excursion.

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4:45 a.m.: Time to make the Danish

In her five years of 4.30 am starts at The Banff Centre, pastry cook Yaeko Hamazaki has never missed a day of work. If you’ve ever eaten a pastry, muffin, scone, Danish or freshly baked bread at The Banff Centre, more than likely it was Hamazaki who prepared it. We decided to see what a regular work day looks like for her, beginning when most of us are all still tucked up in bed asleep.

Nightfall at The Banff Centre.

3:30 a.m. – Rise n’ Shine! Hamazaki is up and ready for her work day.

4:30 a.m. – Under the cover of dark Hamazaki arrives at The Banff Centre and gets to work prepping croissants and Danish pastries for the day ahead. She then proofs them for 15 minutes (that means she lets them rise).



Hamazaki proofs croissants and Danish pastries.

4:45 a.m. – She begins to bake croissants and Danish for the coming day.







The first batch of cupcakes.

5:30 a.m. – It’s non-stop in the kitchen despite it being a one-person team. In between preparing goodies for the coming day, Hamazaki starts the food preparation for Conferences. This can range from fruit platters to baked goods and sandwiches. Today she has 1200 cupcakes to ice.



Making delicious cheese bread.

6:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. – She prepares and bakes all the breads for The Banff Centre – Tuscany and grainy loaves, ciabatta, baguettes, and buns.

8:00 a.m. – It’s almost lunch time for Hamazaki, and the start of the work day for some of her colleagues.







Cookies and treats for Conference guests.

9:00 -10:00 a.m. – She starts to prepare cookies and afternoon snacks (usually fruit squares and cookies) for MacLab and Conference guests. Today it’s a mix of assorted cookies and cupcakes.





Happy to be baking!

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – She sets to work preparing for the following day’s events. At her busiest times during the year (Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival and the Midsummer Ball) Hamazaki can spend two days making 1200 cookies and muffins, carrot cake, and oatmeal slices.



Job well done! Hamazaki heads home.

12 p.m. – One hour left before home time! Time to clean up and make last-minute amendments to tomorrow’s orders.

1 p.m. – It’s a wrap! As most people are taking their lunch break, it’s time for our hard-working pastry cook to hit the road.

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On to Sochi, via Banff!

Last week, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos helped host the Molson Canadian Block Party to send off Canadian athletes to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

During the event, The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled its 2014 “lucky loonie”, a circulation coin designed by artist Emily S. Damstra that features the loon and the logo of the Canadian Olympic team, a maple leaf and the Olympic rings. Five million lucky loonies have been produced and will enter into circulation on Jan. 20. Those who attended the event in Banff were able to trade in an old loonie for a “lucky loonie” ahead of this release date.

The tradition of creating a lucky loonie began in 2002 at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, when a dollar coin was buried at centre ice on the rink where the Canadian men’s and women’s ice hockey teams would play ahead of the games. Both teams won gold that year.  Since then, the Mint has produced a lucky loonie for every Games as a symbolic good luck charm for Canada’s Olympic athletes.

The Canadian Olympic Committee has reached out and selected a moose as the official moose-cot… Errr, I mean… mascot for Canada’s Olympic team heading into the Sochi games in February. Meet Komak, posing with Banff Centre employee Trevor Duke.

The Arkells opened the Block Party, and during the performance, lead singer Max Kerman took off his leather jacket to reveal a Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey. The Arkells (Hamilton Tigercats) and The Sheepdogs (Saskatchewan Roughriders) had a bet on who would win the Grey Cup in 2013, and the losing band would wear the winning jersey the next time the two bands played together. Go Green!

Banff Avenue was shut down to traffic during the event, and about 30 Sochi Olympians mingled with the crowd.

Well-wishers were encouraged to sign a flag that will be displayed in Sochi’s Olympic Village, with plenty of comments like “go for gold” and “we’re behind you!” People signing the flag came from as far away as Poland and New Zealand. My personal contribution read “Good Luck from Banff!”

The Sheepdogs (who won Rolling Stone’s “choose the cover” competition in 2011) closed the event, delighting the crowd with an encore at the end of their set.

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Tuesday Night Fever in the spin studio

Inside the newly renovated spin studio in the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre. Photo: Rita Taylor.

Inside the newly renovated spin studio in the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre. Photo: Rita Taylor.

The sport of spinning at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre has undergone a major revamp, with the addition of the Bow Valley’s first specialized spin studio. A motorized disco ball has been installed (just for the heck of it), a large TV has been fitted (where excerpts from the Banff Mountain Film competition will be shown), and spin bikes have been lined up. Installed in a renovated squash court, the new studio takes spinning out of the main gym, where it had become one of the Sally B.’s most popular community classes. It also gave the recreation team a chance to stretch their design creativity. “We were looking at different spin studios to see what was out there, and we came across the disco ball, which we can use to make different themed classes with music from 70’s or 80’s, ” says Sally Borden manager Andrea Vaughan. “It just makes it more fun.”

Working with Health and Fitness coordinator Jeanette Earl and a team from Physical Facilities on the month-long reno project, they built and painted the decorative sound baffles, and added a wall of mirrors. Now they’re looking at using the studio’s TV screen as a platform for virtual cycling tours of local riding hot spots ( Jasper, Invermere and Radium) via the use of high definition Go Pro camera footage. “If people feel they’re going somewhere it gives them more of a sense of achievement. We wanted to give people every reason to be inspired to spin.”

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Banff: In through the open door

Every summer, the town of Banff and the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies host Doors Open Banff, which gives visitors a chance to peek inside heritage buildings throughout the town. All photos by Meghan Krauss.

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Crossmedia meets the mountains

The Crossmedia Banff event is an opportunity for cross-pollination  between the most innovative companies and creators in motion, mobile, marketing, publishing and games. The strength of this event is the broad learning and sharing that is created between globally influential groups and individuals. And it’s my belief that the beauty of an event like this taking place in Banff is that the mountains themselves actually become one of those influencers.

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The Crossmedia audience immersed in local scenery and insightful presentations by industry leaders like Erik Martin of Reddit (right). Photos by Meghan Krauss.

I observed multiple presenters and audience members express their thoughts on the inspiration they were feeling in their surroundings here. And it got me thinking - could the mountainous setting really influence bigger-picture thinking about how we interact with our communities and technologies online? Can the natural environment be an influential player in the growing online conversation, bringing a sense of grounding, a natural human connection to some of these very big ideas?

The mountains are an integral and instrumental part of The Banff Centre experience and it is motivating to think that their voice might actually have a subtle influence on the direction we humans take with our new technologies, perhaps moving us closer towards more natural sustainable systems and behaviours.

During the course of Crossmedia, there were many references to the sense of awe felt being in the mountainous surroundings; how it puts the purpose of our work into perspective and reminds us of how small we are. But I thought Erik Martin, General Manager of Reddit expressed it best when he looked out the window and admitted:

“These mountains make me wonder if all this social media stuff is completely insignificant.”

He later went on to share, half-jokingly, that as an internet-based entertainment company Reddit’s main source of competition is “work, study and the outdoors.”

Again, I wondered, is this the direction we hope to go with our communications technologies? Moving away from time spent in the outdoors, in particular? Looking upwards at the mountains as we do each day at the Centre, who could argue that they don’t have an affect on us by putting things into perspective?

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