The Lake has undeniable beauty and atmosphere. The hotel has the star power of inns such as the Ahwanee in Yosemite, Fairmont in SF or most any hotel at the edge of Central Park in NYC. Chateau Lake Louise is a landmark as is the lake it is named for, no matter seen close up or far away (below).
Like a top tier hotel, it’s also expensive. We sat in bar to take in the atmosphere and watched a foursome next to us order the Louis XIII cognac. It came in a small chi-chi suitcase and portions were poured by the waiter. That’s right they consumed nearly $1,000 of cognac in one sitting.
Upstairs the staff was awaiting the approval of the bride’s mother. I called this shot “WHAT?!?! It’s Supposed To Be Chocolate!!!”
When I was 14 I was invited to join my cousin and his parents on a wonderful trip that included a stay at the Chateau Lake Louise. Imagine my first take of this first class hotel with breathtaking scenery in all directions. The memories of this place have stayed with me ever since – as has the rest of the trip – bestowed on me by very a kind aunt and uncle.
The hotel has undergone change, mostly in additions but in the same style as I recall from in 1962. So it was a special treat to revisit this place of great beauty and remember again the generosity of my aunt and uncle. My Dad’s parting advice was for me to pick the least expensive item on the menus where ever we went. That advice went unheeded here – who could resist Pheasant Under Glass. Of course I remember the presentation but not the taste.
Until 1982 the hotel was a summer resort only. The bathhouse, not used since the 1950s, has yet to be restored. One thing that hasn’t changed is the portrait of Queen Elizabeth (below), the same as I remember from 55 years ago. I’ve aged more than she has.
Usually I don’t like to throw too many pictures at you all at once but what we saw during our time there was overwhelming. This collection of SOME of what we saw was intended to do the same. Some flowers I knew, some I didn’t, some were in gardens and some, like the Lady Slipper Orchid (immediately below) were a complete surprise in the wild.
An unexpected treat waiting for us in Kaslo, BC was the beautifully restored sternwheeler, S S Moyie. Once it and 26 other sister ships sailed the long lakes that help define S.E. British Columbia.
The dining room.
The ladies lounge.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad built and ran most all of them. Generally two stories tall, there was a freight deck (& engine room) below and a remarkably plush passenger compartment above. For longer trips, small rooms could be booked.
Fruit wasn’t the primary freight that got the railroad into the steamboat business – it was logging and mining. All those lakeside small towns and camps that served as jump off point to the the interior needed resupplying. It was easier to get access by boat than to build tracks.
This was also a time where cars and trucks were beginning to make an appearance and so the paddlewheelers even had to carry the seeds of their eventual destruction – motor vehicles.
This ship was beautifully restored – even small touches like leaded glass accent windows and clerestory panels, each with a different glass daguerreotype image of local landmarks. The map below gives you an idea of Canadian Pacific’s steam and rail penetration into this rugged country. The Arrow Lakes are actually the Columbia River.
Dwarfed by mountains, the first sight of Bella Bella looks like something from a fairytale or an adventure novel.
It can be said of the Inside Passage that there are more islands than people by a large margin. The north coast of British Columbia alone is loaded with islands: over 40,000 of them. Bella Bella, at 1,400 folks, is the largest island town between Vancouver Island and Alaska.
Bella Bella is home base for the Heiltsuk Indians. This tribe’s history can be traced back to 7190 BC! Like most all Indian Nations they suffered at the hands of foreign invaders (including other tribes) but survived. Canada calls it’s various native populations “First Nations.”
Bella Bella, the town, has hopped from Campbell Island to Denny Island and back over the last century. At one time this abandoned BC Fisheries camp on Denny Island was the core of the old town and was even the site of a Hudson Bay post.
Night or day Dryad Point Lighthouse is the first landmark you see whether you are coming from the south or north. This structure was built in 1919 but a lit wooden tower was first built in 1899. Mariners complained that the light was so bright that it was difficult to see the rocks in the surrounding waters – so a red sector was added. The weather this day was nice enough to get this bicyclist out.