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Banff, Alberta:

An Unforgettable Student Experience

By: Kyra Clark


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In the small town of Banff, Alberta, Concordia University student and former Dawson Athletic Therapy intern Brianna Clark returned to her staff housing after a “Christmas in July” with her work colleagues. To their surprise, a herd of eight elk were sleeping on the front lawn. Clark and her crew joked about how they should probably let Santa and his reindeers finish their job before going up to their rooms. “Surprisingly, this became a normal occurrence, having elk sleeping all over the front lawn,” she says. “We just weaved our way around and tip-toed to the front door trying not to disturb them.” Banff is teeming with extraordinary experiences like this, and they could become your reality next summer.

Banff is a hotspot for adventurous students from all over the world to unite, create unique memories, and work in the backyard of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. With endless opportunities to explore the vast outdoors, COVID-19 restrictions can be easily integrated into the lifestyle.

Most employees are not from Banff. In fact, native residents are given the nickname “unicorns” because they are so few. After spending three consecutive summers in Banff, Clark confirms that because “everyone is in the same boat looking for friends, you will never be the only newbie.”

Parks Canada and Pursuit Collection are the recommended companies to which you should apply. Applications should be submitted on their websites in January before a summer season. According to Ashley Cameron, recruitment specialist for Pursuit Collection, “we hire 1500+ seasonal staff to work from April to October. Many of these positions are filled by students, and we do have some contract dates that align well with a student’s time off from school.” Cameron explains that Pursuit Collection seeks candidates who are “adventure seekers” and “like-minded individuals who thrive on building connections and exploring the great outdoors.”

Sophia Auclair, a fifth semester Pure and Applied Science student at Dawson, is considering working in Banff, and sees a fit with the lifestyle. “I’m very adventurous and will always say yes to doing new things and seeing new things,” she says, “I feel like if I go to Banff, I will meet a lot of outdoorsy people who like to do the same things as me.” Clark explains that her job at the gondola gift shop on Sulphur Mountain is extremely rewarding because she gets to speak with people from all over the world about the beauty of her country. Auclair believes that she would be a great candidate for a similar job because of her experience working with the public. “I am very comfortable working in customer service because I have worked in food, retail, and as a waitress.”

According to Clark, in Banff, “you kind of have to be a ‘hell yeah let’s do it!’ type of person.” She carries this mantra with literally every step she takes in life. Clark got the word “why” tattooed on her left ankle, and the word “not” on her right. Her fearless attitude was essential to her adventures in Banff, including a spontaneous decision to jump out of a plane during the last week of her trip. She explains that she just went “up in a little plane, took a deep breath, the door opened, and I jumped.”

Clark took the leap. Will you?


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