Alberta & BC Rockies History - Tourism Boom

After the Second World War, booming populations in western Canada and the expansion of air and car travel increased awareness of the Rocky Mountains. In 1956, the Transportation-Canada Highway is completed through to Yoho and continued westward. In 1961, the Icefields Parkway is upgraded to a paved road and by 1970, the Yellowhead Highway officially opens to join Edmonton, Jasper and British Columbia.

Kananaskis Village is the heart of Kananaskis Country Over the following years, many fundamental components of today's tourism industry are opened or expanded. In 1964, the Jasper Tram is built south of town to the top of Whistlers Mountain. In 1968, the Radium Hot Springs' Aquacourt is completed. In 1977, the Alberta Government establishes Kananaskis Country east of Banff National Park, using money from its booming "Heritage Trust Fund". In 1980, Sunshine Village begins to operate its gondola to bring skiers up the hill, and in 1984 begins summer season operations. In 1985, the National Parks' centennial year (they become a World Heritage Site), the Cave & Basin Hot Springs reopens after major renovations.

The 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games changed the world's knowledge(and perception) of the Rocky Mountains as a summer and winter playground. The Olympics used Nakiska at Mount Allan for downhill events and Canmore for nordic skiing events. The following year, a new visitor centre opens in Field, and the Chateau Lake Louise adds a major new wing. In 1990, the Lake Louise Visitor Centre opens.

But there are changes on the horizon. In 1990, Banff becomes a self-governing community, ending over 100 years of federal government rule of the community (but not of the Park iself). That year, regular passenger train service through the Rockies as discontinued. (A few years later, a scaled-down but classed-up version was re-instated fram Calgary to Vancouver, via Kamloops). The federal government imposed growth limits on Banff, causing Canmore to boom, as the only unregulated real esttate to fill the tourism demand. In 1996, the Three Sisters development begins in Canmore. Shortly after, even Canmore imposed its own growth limits, fearing it was beginning to lose its small-town charm.

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