Visting our working holiday students in Banff

Last week, I had the privilege of going to Banff, Alberta to visit the students in our Casual Work Experience Resort program. The best words to describe my time there are “chilly” and “colourful,” because the leaves in Alberta are turning yellow and red even faster than here in Vancouver. It made the drive through the Rocky Mountains even more beautiful than usual. I had brought a good sweater, too, so the cold was no problem. In fact, it was kind of nice to bundle up in the mountains.

The first thing I wanted to do when I was in Banff was say hi to one of our hosts. She runs a major hotel right in the heart of town and one of our students had been working for her all summer. I had a chance to talk to the student, her name is Pon, for a few minutes:


Next, I went to visit a student named Renata who had just started her work term in Banff. She had been working in her hotel for less than two weeks, but you would never know it. She got along really well with her host and her coworkers, and she was extremely quick at cleaning rooms! There was a system to everything, and she was going to be a pro in no time. She also seemed to know her way around the gigantic hotel she worked in, which looked like a big disjointed maze to me.

Most students in the Resort stream of the Casual Work Experience program get to live in subsidized staff housing. So after her shift, Renata took me to see where she lives. Her accommodation is about a 15 minute walk from her hotel right in the quiet, residential part of Banff. Once we got further from the tall hotels and closer to her apartment, we could see the mountains all around us.

I think she could probably see them from every window in her place. (Part of the joy of living in a National Park). Her kitchen was cute, there was a lot of space in the living room, and her roommate seemed really nice. But that also could have been because she’d gotten to sleep all day.

It seemed like everyone in Banff was settled in and happy in their jobs, and so my work there was done. I went on my way and wandered the cozy town. When I was walking down a side street, I came across a couple deer outside of a church.


I tried my best not to scare them away, and in the end they let me get as close as a metre away! It was a very serene experience until one of them looked up and stared me in the face. That’s when I decided it was time to move away from the wildlife. It was starting to rain anyway, so I ducked inside and got myself some prime Alberta beef.