Essential Info for Locals

What Locals Need to Know

Banff Established to Serve Visitors 
Indigenous peoples have lived in this area for well over 10,000 years and their knowledge of the geography undoubtedly benefited European settlement of the mountain community.

In the early 1880s, three Canadian Pacific Railway workers building the nation’s railway saw the potential of the natural hot springs.  The president of the Canadian Pacific Railway named the area Banff after his birthplace of Banffshire, Scotland, and the Banff Springs Hotel quickly became one of the railway’s most prized properties.

View of Banff from Tunnel

The natural beauty of Banff’s surrounding lakes and mountains made it Canada’s first National Park and the world’s third national park refuge, and part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site. More than 4 million people from around the world now visit Banff National Park every year. While the Town of Banff had been in existence for a century to serve visitors, it was officially incorporated in 1990, making it Canada’s first municipality within a National Park.

The purpose of the Town, as set out in its incorporation agreement, is:

  • To maintain the townsite as part of the World Heritage Site;
  • To serve, as its primary function, as a centre for visitors to the Park and to provide such visitors with accommodation and other goods and services;
  • To provide the widest possible range of interpretive and orientation services to Park visitors;
  • To maintain a community character which is consistent with and reflects the surrounding environment; and
  • To provide a comfortable living community for those persons who need to reside in the townsite in order to achieve its primary function.

Residents Shape the Community
The Town of Banff has an active public engagement program on issues that affect residents. In addition to regular consultation through the year, the Town conducts a community social assessment every few years. To learn about the ideas for improvements and the attributes that more than 800 residents said make Banff great, visit banff.ca/talking.

New to Banff
If you’re new, you’ll find some great information below about the basics of Banff. If you want to know more or can’t find what you need, visit Banff Town Hall at 110 Bear Street, or call 403.762.1200.

Find a Job
First things first—find a job in Banff. Larger employers post job opportunities on their own websites and smaller stores will put help wanted signs in windows.

  • Visit the Job Resource Centre at 314 Marten Street. Services are available in English and French free of charge. They have a job board at jobresourcecentre.com. They offer resume writing, career coaching, and also have details on upcoming hiring fairs.
  • Local restaurants and hotels are members of the Banff Lake Louise Hospitality Association, which maintains a job board at bllha.ca.
  • Job opportunities with the Town of Banff are listed at banff.ca/jobs. You can register for email or text notifications when a new job is posted.

Become a Banff & Lake Louise Ambassador
Experience, explore and connect. Learn how to receive your Ambassador Pass with experiences valued at over $500! banfflakelouise.com/ambassadors.

Find A Place to Call Home
Banff has special rules about who can live here. To live in Banff, you need to work in Banff. It’s a Parks Canada regulation called eligible residency. It’s in place to ensure housing is available to people in the community and not used as vacation properties. However, it remains difficult to find a place to live. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to find a place in Banff. Some landlords don’t list their properties for rent, but rely on recommendations. Check banff.ca/housing.

Landlords and Tenants
Landlord and tenant rights in Alberta can be different from other provinces. As a tenant, you should educate yourself on your rights and responsibilities. For more information, visit banff.ca/housing.

Banff Housing Corporation
The Banff Housing Corporation offers price restricted and equity share homes for sale, and rental properties. Rental properties include, Ti’nu, Banff’s newest rental apartment development. Registered Resale List and Rental applications are online at banff.ca/housing or available at the Banff Housing Corporation office, on site at Ti’nu, 547 Coyote Lane, unit 2106. Open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Pets
Dogs and cats need to be licensed. Fees support the off-leash dog park, stocking doggie bag dispensers, and the animal shelter. Licenses also help us return lost pets to their owners (banffmaps.ca/petconnect). License applications are available online or at Banff Town Hall.

Off-Leash Dog Park
Dogs must be on a leash at all times in town and in the national park, but they can run free at the off-leash dog park on Hawk Avenue, opposite the Town’s Operations office (120 Hawk Avenue). It’s fully fenced, has parking and is open during daylight hours. Dog Park

Town Council
The Town of Banff is governed by an elected council made up of a mayor and six councillors who serve a four-year term. Council meetings are open to the public and are typically held the second and fourth Monday of each month at 2 p.m. Town Council

Report a Problem
Have a broken streetlight in your neighbourhood? A new pothole? An illegally parked car? Report it to the Town of Banff through our online system, Action Request. banff.ca/action.

Get a Permit or License
If you’re opening a home business or starting a construction project, you need a permit. Permits ensure any changes meet the town’s design standards and neighbourhood characteristics. banff.ca/permit.

Development in your Neighbourhood
The Development Permit Viewer is an online interactive map that shows you what development projects are under review in your neighbourhood, and who to contact to find out more about them. banff.ca/development.

History & Heritage
Those blue plaques you see around town highlight some of the historic homes and buildings in Banff. But that’s not all there is to Banff’s history. We have a rich heritage as the birthplace of the Canadian national parks system. See how much you can learn about Banff’s great stories, landmarks and legends. History and Heritage

Cannabis Use in Banff
The Town of Banff prohibits smoking and vaping cannabis in public places, just as the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public places. Smoking cannabis is allowed on private property, subject to provincial restrictions or property policies. Outside the Town’s boundaries in Banff National Park, smoking is permitted in day use areas and on trails. For all local regulations, visit banff.ca/cannabis.