While the townsite of Banff is part of magnificent Banff National Park, there's a small park within the town that's worth checking out. It's Cascade Gardens (formally known as the Cascades of Time Gardens) -- a park within a park.
Cascade Gardens is directly across the Bow River from the Banff townsite, behind the Parks Canada administrative building. Parks Canada took over the Brett Sanatorium and Hotel built at this site in the 1880s. This building burned down in 1930 and the land was converted into the present day gardens, which cover 12 acres. Cascade Garden was completed in 1935.
(Parks Canada's Banff administrative building)
The garden is most pleasant to visit and stroll through, especially in the summer. It's built into the hillside, so it requires walking up some steps to see all of it Besides the many beds of annuals and perennials, there are several gazebos in which you can sit, and ponds and waterfalls to enjoy.
The most unique thing about the garden are these structures made of local pine burl wood. I've not seen anything quite like them elsewhere. One of the following photos provided last weekend's "One Clue Mystery", which was recognized by George G and PortMoresby
It being a mountain environment, the blooming season is limited from early June to early September. These photos were taken in May when the only flowers in bloom seemed to be poppies. The mixed floral display in the summer months is quite spectacular, so I'll need to return to photograph that soon!
Frost (and snow) freeze the flowers before the end of summer, but you can still enjoy a stroll through the grounds any time of year, including in the winter when everything is covered in snow.
There is no admission fee. Parking at Cascade Gardens is limited so it's best to walk to the Garden from Banff, across the scenic Bow River.