Stay with Us Children's Festival

Stay at The Banff Centre on Saturday, May 20 and 21 from $149 per night. (Based on double occupancy, excludes taxes and fees)  
To book: 1.800.884.7574 or 403.762.6308 

The Banff Centre Children's Festival

Children's Festival Dining

Don't miss the Pirate themed "Grab and Go" lunch available at Le Café ($6.50), and the outdoor BBQ at the Music and Sound Building Patio (inside option in case of bad weather is Laszlo Funtek 223). Or visit Maclab Bistro or Vistas Dining Room.

Winners from 2015 climbing competition

Celebrating 15 years at The Banff Centre, we are pleased to once again host our annual climbing challenge. Open to all ages and abilities, this event welcomes everyone who loves to climb.

Also, we are hosting a silent auction in support of the ACA's Youth Bursary. Amazing items to bid on with all proceeds going to Alberta athletes going to national and international climbing competitions and events.

The event, as always, will be a scramble format including bouldering, top rope, and lead routes. Top 7 climbs will count towards your individual ranking plus a combined score for the team ranking.

*** PLEASE BE AWARE: this competition is NOT sanctioned by the ACA for points for youth or open rankings. It is just a fun competition for everyone to particiapte in.***

This year, we have made a few changes to format to mark our 15 years in the Bow Valley:

Individual categories - $25 per climber:

  • Youth D (11 & Under)
  • Youth C (12 & 13)
  • Youth B (14 & 15)
  • Youth A (16 & 17)
  • Junior (18 & 19)
  • Adult Recreational
  • Adult Open

Team category - consists of 3 climbers who are climbing within the same climbing group, must be a mixed group with either 2 females and 1 male, or 2 males and 1 female.

There are four climbing groups and times - 25 maximum climbers per climbing group, registration 30 minutes before the start of your group:

  • 8:30am - 11:00am: Youth C & Ds
  • 11:30am - 2:30pm: Youth Bs, Youth A Females
  • 3:00pm - 6:00pm: Adult Recreational
  • 6:30pm - 9:30pm: Youth A Males, Juniors, Adult Open

To sign up, please fill out the registration form.

Awards will follow each category. Party at Maclab Bistro afterwards.

Paul Pritchard

Paul Pritchard

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Paul Pritchard was a cutting-edge rock climber and mountaineer; adventuring in the Himalaya, Karakoram, Patagonia, Baffin Island, the Pamirs, and the European Alps. He has published three books – two of which have won the Boardman/Tasker Award and one was the Banff Mountain Book competition Grand Prize winner. 

During a 1998 world mountaineering trip, Paul acquired a brain injury when a boulder fell on his head whilst climbing the Totem Pole in Tasmania. The accident resulted in hemiplegia and he lost the power of speech for many months. Since his accident, Paul has continued to lead a challenging life: climbing Kilimanjaro, lead climbing, and in 2011 he tri-cycled across Tibet to Everest Base Camp. He successfully climbed the Totem Pole again in April 2016.

Festival Content 
Hand painted Indigenous Drum

For Indigenous people, the visioning process has always been essential in preparing for the future. As Lougheed Leadership faculty Don McIntyre stated, “Visions happen in the shadowland or the dreamtime. In this space, as in our dreams, there are no rules. Everything is possible.” As the landscape changes for Indigenous communities, transforming visions into strategic plans will be essential for success. 

Strategic planning outlines where you want the organization to go, not necessarily how you are planning to get there, which is why it is the foundation to any initiative. As part of the Indigenous Strategic Planning program, participants learn to combine traditional practices and values with research and best practices to set direction and long-term goals for communities and organizations. Part of the teaching is how to bring together a group of individual and separate entities in order to form a system. This is represented with the building of a traditional Indigenous drum.

When building a drum, the pieces – hoop, hide, rope —  are unique and independent, however when you learn the importance of each item and how to bring them together you are able to create a system that has a voice and resonates with the community.

Making a strategic plan and building an Indigenous drum have a lot in common, in fact. There are three key pieces to building a drum: the rope, hoop, and hide. Similarly, a strategic plan includes three major components: the vision, mission and values.

  • VISION - The Hoop - A vision statement is the description of what an organization would like to accomplish in the future. Its purpose is to provide a clear guide and outline the direction the company is heading. Similarly, the hoop is the framework of the drum, and the foundation that will determine the final outcome based on the size and materials that are chosen to create the desired sound.
  • MISSION - The Hide – The mission statement is used to tell the world the organization’s main goal. It is what the public will hear as a declaration of the company’s purpose. The hide is the face of the drum, and what creates the sound for people to hear. Each drum is hand-painted to represent stories and personal tales. The mission statement and the hide are how the key messages, stories and rhythm can be shared with the community.  
  • VALUES - The Rope (Bundle) – Core values are the operating principles that guide an organization’s internal conduct, as well as its relationship with partners and other stakeholders. Core values are what keep the culture and objectives in place, to make sure that the mission and vision are being upheld. When building a drum, the rope is responsible for tying all of the pieces together and binding them tightly. If the ropes were to let loose, the drum would no longer make a sound. Similarly, if the values are not being upheld in a company, the mission and vision statements would no longer hold true.    

In Indigenous communities, a drum is a living and breathing object, that needs to be played in order to resonate – it can’t just hang on a wall as decoration. It’s important to think of a strategic plan in the same way; once a strategic plan is developed it cannot sit on a shelf, it needs to be implemented and part of every conversation for it to resonate and have an impact.

Strategic planning is vital in creating clear, meaningful, and reflective plans that can be powerfully communicated with the team and community at large in order to motivate and inspire. Combining traditional strategic planning and contemporary models allows communities to develop strong voices that resonate with themselves, and the world around them. 

Writer and climber Kelly Cordes talks about his book, The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre. His book, about the controversial peak in Patagonia, won the Mountain and Wilderness Literature award at the 2015 Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival. 

Listen to more episodes of this podcast here


I’m not really sure what International Women’s Day means to me. As a feminist news junkie, every day I read stories about the wage gap, access to abortions, female genital mutilation, #Gamergate and much, much more that ends up making me feel at once angry, impassioned and hopeless.

But those issues are important to me (and —ahem— they should be important to you) so why hasn’t International Women’s Day ever really resonated? 

This year I decided to do something about that — to mark the day in some way. I wanted to participate in this movement and put just a tiny bit of positive energy into a world of news that’s always full of disappointments. So I signed up, along with some of my Banff Centre colleagues, for the Art + Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives on Saturday. 

I’d never edited a Wikipedia page before, though I visit the site often. So does everyone else, I suppose. In fact, according to a Wikimedia projects edits counter, every single second 10 edits are made to any of their five million-plus articles. It’s a lot of information, so I never thought I’d have anything to contribute. 

Turns out I wasn’t alone in that thinking. That’s part of why Art + Feminism was born. 

A 2013 study found only 16% of global Wikipedia editors were women. Another study found in 2015 only 16% of Wikipedia biography pages were about women. Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites in the world, full of so much recorded human knowledge. 

So where were the women? 

A record player in the Library and Archives

The library's record player featured music from female musicians while we edited. 

No one can say for sure why women are less likely to hop on and edit, but I have my guesses and I bet you do too. No matter the reason, the ripple effect determines which pages even exist and that means that Wikipedia is inherently skewed. You know how they say write what you know? Well, a whole lot of guys took that very seriously. And now every girl with a book report is basing her knowledge off of an ever-changing encyclopedia full of people who don’t look like her. 

That’s the problem with this wild west of information — so much to share, so many people to decide what’s important, but no one to be held accountable.

This imbalance seemed like something I could chip away at. A lot of feminist rhetoric is just that — talk. It’s necessary, it’s the way forward, but damn it feels good to take action sometimes. 

Even in this small way. Even though I was worried I’d get something wrong or screw it up.

Our team expanded or created Wikipedia pages for Banff Centre alumni, most of whom I’d never heard of. On our list was KC Adams, Gisele Amantea, Nadia Myre, lesbian performance artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Barbara Spohr, curator Daina Augaitis, Julie Doucet and Quebec-based tapestry artist Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. I focused on Nadia Myre, an Indigenous artist whose work I’d seen previously at the National Gallery in Ottawa. 

I remember being so moved by her piece, Indian Act, a beaded recreation of all 56 pages of the original federal statute, line by line. The piece is an act of anti-racism and reclamation. Myre had over 200 collaborators help her with the delicate work of sewing bead after bead to page-sized cloth. So I added the history of that work to her Wikipedia biography.

It was only a paragraph, really. A small sub-heading on an otherwise fairly short entry. But it didn’t exist when I started the afternoon, and all of sudden, when you searched her name there it was — new information about a female artist doing beautiful and important work.

New information some little girl might find when researching Canadian art for a school project. New information some little boy might find, too.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” is a well-worn motto in the women’s rights movement. This International Women’s Day I’m keeping that in mind when I celebrate the success and achievements of women the world over. 

Let’s write down their histories so the next generation can celebrate them, too.

Conn Fishburn in conversation with The Banff Centre's Dominic Girard

CEO of Zealot Networks Conn Fishburn in conversation with The Banff Centre's Dominic Girard at Story Summit 2016. 

Today’s media landscape is looking a little, well, cluttered. The industry is grappling with the concept of “peak content” and what creators have to do to really shine in a world full of talented people with the ability to constantly create and share. At Story Summit 2016, presented by Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) and The Banff Centre, these issues were front and centre. The March 4-5 symposium brought together professionals from media, entertainment and content to talk about surviving and thriving in today’s landscape. 

Here are some of the lessons we learned from them about standing out in a very — very — crowded room. 

1. Tell a good story

From talks about finding YouTube success, to demonstrations of new virtual reality tech, all of the presentations came back to one key point: Stories continue to be the best way to draw in an audience, no matter what platform they’re made for. 

Keynote speaker Conn Fishburn, Chief Strategy Officer of Zealot Networks, said if you can tell a really good story, it will go beyond your target audience. Authenticity is key here. Since people have grown up being marketed to heavily, says Fishburn, they are suspicious of content that’s over-produced. Work that’s the most successful tells a story that the audience remembers, even if it doesn’t directly reference a product. Without a great story, you’re already behind. 

2. Find your audience

The internet is flooded with more content than ever before. With this access comes choice, Fishburn said during his keynote speech. Brands no longer determine what audiences have access to, which lets the audience choose what they search and like for themselves. 

Which lends itself to the question: is niche the new broad?

Instead of mass-appeal, we see more and more people who have no backing from big brands introducing trends. These influencers bring new ideas to the mainstream, something brands are constantly trying to dictate. “Relevancy,” said Fishburn, “is the antidote to mass content,” and cuts through the noise of everything else vying to be clicked online. Content made by people who are passionate about something will find people who are similarly passionate. Passion, like good storytelling, draws people in and popularity will pique the interest of people outside your target audience. 

3. Build a community

These days you don’t have to look hard to see who’s viewing your content. But that’s just the first step in maintaining an audience. With comment sections on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, the amount of informal, direct audience feedback is unprecedented. Realtime online reactions show what the audience is latching onto, but also provide the opportunity to engage, and content producers can use this to their advantage, says Fishburn. People are already talking about what they like and don’t like anyway, it’s just that now companies are privy to those conversations. 

There are several ways to own the brand of your content. The first is to make it easy for the audience to share the word. The design of your platform can make this seamless. Podcasts, for example, work themselves into subscriber’s routines. If a subscriber knows they can rely on the next episode’s release, they can schedule it into a weekly walk or listen while they cook dinner. They know how to access it without having to search for it. 

Secondly, Marcia Douglas, the Director of Business Affairs and Digital Initiatives at the Canadian Media Producers Association, said content producers should also look for opportunities to engage, such as shooting behind-the-scenes interviews. An interested audience will tune in for new information. This can also be used to garner attention from people who are not already part of the audience. 

4. Monetize 

So you’ve got your content, your audience and you’ve built a network — next step: monetize. Once you’ve proven that your work is something people want, be that through high engagement, or industry buzz, you can start leveraging attention into cash to finish the job or to fund your next great idea. Of the many ways to make money right now, none is more accessible than crowdfunding. According to Don Pare, Chairman of RvC Inc., Real Value Capital, the top crowdfunded ventures are all within the arts community: Music, film, art and publishing. 

Choosing the right funding model for your project will be important to your success. Kickstarter is the most popular, but takes a higher percentage of your final cut. GoFundMe has no deadlines and lets you keep all your donations, but has less eyeballs overall. Then there’s Patreon, a fund that allows for monthly contributions. Think about the needs of your project, the support network you’ve developed, and choose the avenue that’s right for you. Then rake it in!

5. Keep communicating

If only it were as easy as having a great idea and getting people to buy in. The story doesn’t stop once you get your funding and put your project out to the world, says Don Pare, who's funded many successful campaigns. Continual communication with your network, innovation in your medium and collaboration in your field are even more important once you’ve made a name for yourself, because now people are watching. Don’t stop updating followers on your work, keeping up on the industry’s latest or maintaining the relationships you put in so much effort to establish. 

Jody MacDonald

Jody MacDonald

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Jody MacDonald is no ordinary photographer.  For nearly the past decade, she's called a 60-foot catamaran her home as she's sailed to the wildest corners of the planet on a global kiteboarding, paragliding, and surfing expedition that's taken her to over 60 countries.  MacDonald, who was born in Saudi Arabia and has been traveling the world since she was a child, documents extreme sports, spectacular landscapes, and everyday scenes that open a breathtaking window on different cultures - from India to Mauritania to Morocco.  Jody is an award winning photographer represented by National Geographic Creative.  You can see her images in many international publications such as National Geographic, Red Bull, Outside, BBC, Patagonia, Islands, and Men's Journal, among others.

Michael Robotham and Louise Welsh join host Mojo Anderson to discuss what sparked their careers in crime fiction. 

This is an excerpt from the authors' Banff Centre Talk. Click here to see the full talk:


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