Thinking about living in Banff for the serenity? Think again!
Like many, I assumed Banff would be a beautiful, tranquil town nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Locals and tourists would hike or ski most days, and the silence at night would be a nice change from city life.
While it’s definitely beautiful, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, and everyone does like to hike or ski on weekends, it’s anything but quiet or tranquil.
Before we kick-off, I should mention I live very close to town, but, well, Banff just isn’t that big so while I think you could avoid some noise by living a bit further out (away from the train station), I don’t think you could eradicate it from your Banff experience.
1. Car Alarms
Before moving to Banff I wasn’t even sure if cars still had alarms (are they really effective?), but now I’m 100-percent sure they do. Never in my life have I heard so many car alarms – in Banff, they go off at all times. Sometimes it’s right outside my window, sometimes it’s across the street, and sometimes it’s three on adjacent streets creating a cacophony of relentless beeping to resound across the tiny town. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t hear a car alarm.
Is it train driver policy to toot enormous horns when entering a town? I’m thinking it is, because every time a train pulls in to Banff train station (two or three times a day), everyone in the town knows about it. I don’t live near the station, but I can’t imagine what life is like for the people who do #thoughtsandprayers
3. Drunk Australians
Anyone who has been to Banff will know it’s full of Aussies – we love snow, most of us love drinking, and Banff is the perfect fusion of both. But did you know drunk Australians like to sing and scream at the top of their lungs at any time of the day or night? Neither did I, before living in Banff. If there’s a sporting event on, don’t even bother trying to get to sleep – you can hear the cheering even though they’re all sitting somewhere inside.
Though I’m Australian, I don’t seem to have the ‘loud’ gene, but I now understand how popular it is and I feel as though I’m missing something. Don’t ever sleep with your windows open – they’ll wake you up.
Aside from freight, the only way to get produce, furniture, and souvenirs into the town is by truck, and with the thin alleyways of Banff, they like to reverse a lot. Garbage trucks also like to peruse the town, reversing. At the same time. The beeping is endless.
Banff in summer means an ongoing stream of tourists, which is great! I’m a tourist and Banff is beautiful in summer, but it does mean the streets are full of people from around 10 am until 2 am (after which time the drunk Australians start singing) – it sounds like a party outside your window most of the time. One time someone was dressed in Medieval attire playing the harp
6. Power Tools
Banff isn’t just a tourist town, it’s also home to people with families, dogs, and houses with an endless stream of DIY projects, apparently, involving power tools. I completely understand there are only really three-months of the year when you can blast some Nickelback and use your favourite power tools outside without freezing to death, but it’s just another element that adds to the symphony of Banff.
7. White Noise
Sometimes there’s a long, high-pitched, electronic sound – like a dog whistle – that bounces off the mountains and sings through the valley coming from I don’t know where. I still haven’t been able to place what exactly it is, but it happens at least once a week.
I’m not someone who usually has a problem with noise – I’ve lived on busy roads near fire stations, ambulances, hospitals, police stations, and popular pubs and clubs (at one point, I lived in close proximity to all those things), but those experiences were in large cities.
When you think ‘Banff’, I’m going to make a wild assumption and say you probably don’t think ‘noise’, but hey! Travelling is all about experiencing the unexpected, and living among such incredible mountains does make it all worth it in the end.