Banff shopping centres on Banff Avenue, which is renowned for its shops, but in reality has evolved into a continuous stretch of tacky tourist shops and international chains. An exception is About Canada (105 Banff Ave., 403/760-2996), which does an excellent job of sourcing Canadian-made gifts.
Canadiana and Clothing
Few companies in the world were as responsible for the development of a country as was the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in Canada. Founded in 1670, the HBC established trading posts throughout western Canada, many of which attracted settlers, forming the nucleus for towns and cities that survive today, including Alberta’s capital, Edmonton. HBC stores continue their traditional role of providing a wide range of goods, in towns big and small across the country. In Banff, the HBC store is at 125 Banff Avenue (403/762-5525).
Another Canadian store, this one famous for its fleeces, sweaters, leather goods, and as supplier to the Canadian Olympic teams, is Roots (227 Banff Ave., 403/762-9434). For belts, buckles, and boots, mosey on in to the Trail Rider Store (132 Banff Ave., 403/762-4551). Also check out Rude Boys Snow & Skate (215 Banff Ave., 403/762-8480), downstairs in the Sundance Mall, but don’t expect to find anything suitable for your grandparents.
Camping and Outdoor Gear
Inexpensive camping equipment and supplies can be found in Home Hardware (221 Bear St., 403/762-2080). More specialized needs are catered to at Monod Sports (129 Banff Ave., 403/762-4571). Locally owned Abominable Ski & Sportswear (229 Banff Ave., 403/762-2905) has a good selection of hiking boots.
Gifts and Galleries
Banff’s numerous galleries display the work of mostly Canadian artists. Canada House Gallery (201 Bear St., 403/762-3757) features a wide selection of Canadian landscape and wildlife works and native art. The Quest Gallery (105 Banff Ave., 403/762-2722) offers a diverse range of affordable Canadian paintings and crafts, as well as more exotic pieces such as mammoth tusks from prehistoric times and Inuit carvings from Nunavut. Browse through native arts and crafts at the Indian Trading Post (1 Birch Ave., 403/762-2456), across the Bow River from downtown.