The Nancy Pauw Bridge officially opened today, creating a new crossing over the Bow River that will help reduce vehicle use and promote active modes of transportation in the heart of Canada’s first national park.
Named for local philanthropist Nancy Pauw, the bridge was made possible through funding from the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation, the Government of Canada, and the Town of Banff. The wooden structure spanning the iconic river will provide a convenient and environmentally friendly route between Banff’s downtown and southside neighbourhoods, as well as connecting Banff’s Central Park to the recreation grounds and the nearby Cave & Basin National Historic Site. The bridge provides connections to the trails on either side of the river in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“We are thrilled this long-awaited bridge will now provide a safe route for year-round commuters, while helping to take vehicles off the roads. By using the bridge, visitors and residents will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, maintaining our clean mountain air, and promoting active lifestyles,” said Corrie DiManno, Mayor of the Town of Banff. “We are grateful to the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation and the Government of Canada for their investment in a community connector fitting of our national park’s values of environmental protection and fostering the behaviours that promote long-term sustainability.”
The Pauw Foundation’s $2.5 million donation is their first contribution to an infrastructure project, adding to their investment of more than $1 million each year this decade in support to Bow Valley community programs.
“The bridge celebrates Nancy and her passionate support of active lifestyles and human-powered adventures, whether cycling, walking, running, climbing, or paddling… all made even more special in beautiful Banff,” said Cathy Geisler, Executive Director of the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation. “We are fortunate that Wim has chosen to donate the profits earned from his successful hospitality venture at the Banff Lodging Company, towards programs and resources that benefit the visitors and people in our community.”
Click for event slide show and project details.
The bridge provides a valuable “last mile” connection with Roam Public Transit and is expected to see 5,000-8,000 crossings per day during the peak summer months and eliminate more than 3,000 vehicle trips across the river, reducing traffic congestion and promoting active modes of transportation.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that safe and effective transportation networks across Alberta are essential to build healthier and more resilient communities,” said the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “With today’s announcement, residents and visitors alike can now benefit from a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge that will provide a quick, convenient and environmentally friendly route between downtown Banff and surrounding neighbourhoods. This new infrastructure will help enhance transit connectivity while also encouraging people to use greener and more active means of transportation.”
A bridge at this location was identified as a need for the community more than 80 years ago to complement the Town’s only vehicle bridge, built in 1921. The other pedestrian bridge, located off Muskrat Street, opened in 2013.
With more than 4 million visitors to Banff each year, the pedestrian bridge and its connection to Roam Transit will reduce traffic congestion across the main Bow River Bridge and out of town to the top local tourism attraction – the Gondola on Sulphur Mountain.
Project cost: $5.5 million
- $2.5 million Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation
- $2.2 million Government of Canada through Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program
- $800,000 Town of Banff
Hundreds participate in opening
The Town of Banff thanks the more than 350 Banffites who participated in the official opening of the Nancy Pauw Bridge!
Special thanks to the Banff Elementary School, the many seniors and Community Cruisers, the Banff Canoe Club, Community Greenhouse Society and so many more who participated in opening this important human-powered crossing over the Bow River.
The installation of lighting on the bridge rail will be completed by the end of next week. We are waiting for approval from Parks Canada to turn on the lighting. We will install lighting on the trail leading up to the bridge after Parks Canada provides approval. We opened the bridge before all the lighting and landscaping was complete due to the demand for the bridge and to make available the fully functional crossing during the daylight. People who are uncomfortable crossing at night are encouraged to continue using the other two crossings until the new lighting is installed and approved.
Stay tuned to the project web page for updates, at banff.ca/PauwBridge.
Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation
In 2022, the Pauw Foundation has committed $1.4 million in donations to community initiatives that meet one of three pillars: Active Lifestyles, Education, and Community Building. Established in 2013, the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation is a private foundation in Banff. Funded by Wim Pauw, the founding shareholder of Banff Caribou Properties, Ltd and Banff Lodging Company, the goal of the Foundation is to reinvest in Banff and the Bow Valley by supporting projects that contribute to a more active, vibrant, and happy community.
Wim met Nancy in the 1990s while cycling on a 3,100-mile trans-continental trip from the east coast to the west coast of the United States. Over 22 years together, they grew the company, pursued outdoor adventure and world experiences, and maintained a belief in their community as core components of their lives. After a courageous battle with cancer, Nancy Pauw passed away in 2018.
Government of Canada – Investing in Canada Plan
Supporting public transit infrastructure projects helps to create good jobs, support local economies, and make our communities healthier and more resilient.
The federal government has invested more than $2.2 million through Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help construct the new Nancy Pauw Bridge which will make it easier and safer for residents and visitors to explore the local community.
The federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities. In Alberta, the Government of Canada has invested more than $3.6 billion in 206 infrastructure projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to date.
In February 2021, the federal government announced $14.9 billion for public transit projects over the next eight years, including $3 billion per year in permanent funding for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27. In March 2021, the Government of Canada announced $400 million of this funding will go towards active transportation to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges.
For project information, visit banff.ca/PauwBridge.
For media, contact:
Jason Darrah, Communications, 403.762.1207