A special place to visit when you're exploring Banff is this pretty mountain church. The above photo was featured in last weekend's One Clue Mystery, and it was recognized by George G -- good work, George!
Catholic missionaries have had a presence in the Canadian Rockies for almost 200 years, including during the founding of the Banff townsite in the late 19th century. A log cabin church was built in Banff in 1888 and it was consecrated as ‘Our Lady of the Assumption', but known by the locals as St Mary's.
The church you see today was built in 1951 by Fr. Robert McGuinness, and it replaced the original building. Fr McGuinness had attended seminary in Europe and loved the stone churches he saw there, inspiring him to build something of this type in his beloved town, Banff. Fr. McGuinness had been a structural engineer with the Canadian Pacific Railroad before joining the clergy,and personally designed and supervised the building of the church. The church is constructed of rock quarried at nearby Castle Mountain. It certainly is a lovely building, especially in the fading light of dusk when I visited it.
I've never had a chance to visit the interior of the church because I did not know you could call the church to schedule a tour. It's of Romanesque design, with lovely stained glass windows made in Austria The photos below are courtesy of St. Mary's Parish, Banff.