Tuesday 26 September 2017

A walk among the ruins

There are a couple of ghost towns in Banff National Park. One of them is Bankhead, Alberta just a couple of miles from Banff itself. Bankhead existed from From 1904 (or 1905 depending on the source) to 1922. Bankhead was a coal town and supplied coal for the railway. There was once a population of 1,500 including about 300 underground coal mine workers.

Coordinates are 51.230989, -115.523905

Poor quality coal and continuous labour strikes are stated to be the causes of the closure of the town in 1922. Some building were moved to Banff. The town was stripped and the concrete walls and foundations are largely what remain.

This was the lamphouse were miners were issued their lamps before heading underground.

Lots of coal. You can see chunks of it when walking the trail as remains of the slack heaps. There is no shortage of coal. There was a town that existed before this called Anthracite just a mile or two from here. Nothing exists. There was, and still is, no shortage of coal in Alberta.

This is what remains of the briquette house where they made briquettes. The venture was never profitable.

No. 101 KH compressed air locomotive from 1901. This was not used here, it was used in the old Canmore coal mine, east of here. It is sitting here as an exhibit.

This is all that remains of the tipple. The structure on top of this was close to one hundred feet high. There are a lot more ruins. Mainly foundations and walls of what once was. It is an interesting walk and Parks Canada has signs up giving a history of the town.


  1. I did not know that was there! I saw signs for the Bankhead trail but I didn't realize there was a ghost town there... next time, maybe :)

    1. There is even more there. I only walked through what was the industrial area. I did not have time to walk through what was once the residential area. There should be the remains of a church there that I did not get to see.

    2. And there's more still, higher up on the mountains, the upper workings of the mine. There's a spectacular view of the valley from the waste dump there.

  2. Cool! I should take the kiddo there. He might like it!

  3. Sounds like an interesting place to explore. The photos do a great job in illustrating your story. I love places like this.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.