Jasper hasn’t changed much in the past ten years. A bit of construction projects have been completed, some roads have been improved, but the grandiose landscape and the cozy atmosphere of the town itself remain untouched.
Attending a three-day conference at the Jasper Park Lodge is not a troublesome opportunity. Au contraire! Entering Jasper National Park, the broad highway offers awesome mountain sights and frequent views of wildlife. Elk, mule deer and big horn mountain sheep abound here, and they don’t seem perturbed by the year-round flow of traffic. The long winding road to Jasper Park Lodge promises unique sights, and you will not be disappointed. A wide lake shimmers in front of the lodge, a greenish reflection of majestic peaks still snow-covered in early May.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge legacy began as “Tent City” in 1915, on the shores of Lac Beauvert. It was taken over by Canadian National Railways in 1921, when they built wooden cabins, some of them still in place today! In 1988 the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge went from a summer resort to a four-season resort.
Traveling to JPL with her daughter, a trade show exhibitor at the 2015 Alberta Library Conference of April 29-May 2nd, Helen Trudel was thrilled by this opportunity to travel to a site where she worked as a switchboard operator in the summer of 1947! She was familiar with most of the property, but not with the Lodge itself which had been rebuilt in the early ‘50s after a massive fire. To re-visit this comfy and awesome hotel and its sprawling property were a bucket list item for her.
The grounds are impeccably kept. Elk and deer roam the property, to the joy and amazement of guests who, cameras in hand, cannot believe their good fortune at being so close to these majestic animals. . Grizzly bears have been seen nearby, but this doesn’t seem to worry the golfers at the nearby sprawling golf course and no incident has ever been recorded. Canoes, kayaks and bicycles can be rented, horses when the season gets warmer, and the Jasper Park Lodge is dog-friendly. The world-famous Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course offers grandiose views and fairways.
The Town of Jasper holds many fun and interesting points of interest for visitors of all ages. Grandma’s Place is the cool ice cream place on a main downtown street that has been owned and operated for the past twenty years by a Korean family: Grandma is a petite, feisty Korean matriarch who is well known around Jasper. The Wildlife Museum is a hidden gem, located on the lower level of Whistlers Inn on Connaught Drive downtown. The minimum half hour visit shows off dozens of birds, mammals and rodents in full mounts, and the visit is well worth the $3 entrance fee.
Many quality restaurants offer various menus, Canadian and ethnic, designed for global visitors of many tastes. Retail venues offer quality fashions, art and gems, and of course Canadian and Rockies souvenirs. Everywhere you shop and visit in Jasper you will meet vendors who are proud of the town they live in and this awesome National Park where they get to welcome thousands of visitors each year.
The Town of Jasper and Jasper National Park alike offer many trails amongst lakes, glaciers, rivers and mountains. It is obvious that families with young ones, elderly visitors and youths seeking challenging hikes in a majestic setting all find what they came to Jasper to discover. Peace, adventure and a deep communion with nature that will ultimately restore our faith in God’s amazing creation, and the hard work that many generations of visionary planners and workers have invested in this, one of the world’s greatest wonders.