Vicarious vacations 10: Banff, Alberta, 1979

(Click here to get back to the list of 12 vignettes.)

THEN: Kara Kyro (left), sister Kim, and mom Sarah pose in 1979 in Cascade Garden.(Richard Kyro)
NOW: Banffites Samantha Reid (left) and Jessica Morman enjoy their perch in the same spot. (Banff & Lake Louise Tourism)
Banff, Alberta, 1979
‘I had never seen a lake that was so blissfully blue’
Kara Kyro
By Jean Sherrard

A high-school principal in Oak Park, Michigan, Richard Kyro made the most of the calendar.

“We went on vacation every summer,” recalls daughter Kara, now a Boeing software engineer. “We drove across the country in the family motorhome for a minimum of four weeks.”

Of all their destinations, Banff, Alberta, was Kara’s favorite. She pronounced it “the most beautiful place on earth.”

Nestled high in the Canadian Rockies, Banff was first settled in the 1880s after the arrival of the transcontinental railway through Bow Valley.

In 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway workers happened upon a cluster of natural hot springs. Their competing claims seeking to develop the area inspired the Canadian government in 1885 to establish a protective reserve. It became Canada’s first national park.

At 11, Kara was stunned by glacial-fed Lake Louise. “We were flatlanders from Michigan. I had never seen a lake that was so blissfully blue and have always remembered learning about glacier silt that absorbs and scatters sunlight across that spectrum.”

The photo taken by her father from Banff’s Cascade Garden overlooks Banff Avenue, with Cascade Mountain towering over the town. The garden also is home to the Tudor Revival style Banff National Park Administration Building.

To mark her 50th birthday in 2018, Kara revisited her favorite Banff locations. “It was the best trip ever,” she says. Her affinity for the landscape led her to move to Seattle.

“I’ve been here almost 20 years now and so love the mountains and the water. I can’t imagine not being near them.”

VIDEO (3:52):Click the photo to see Kara Kyro talk of her 1979 trip to Banff, Alberta. (Jean Sherrard)

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