Jasper – May 2010


Jasper, Alberta is the exchange point between The Canadian and The Skeena, with the latter running between Jasper and Prince Rupert.  I remember when I was about 10 years old I decided that I wanted to live in Jasper.  That hasn’t changed.  Young population with everyone zipping around on mountain bikes.  My kind of scene.  Too bad they don’t hire planners.  

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My first year of planning school we were told that small fridge = good city (a remark regarding local foods).  I think that full bike racks = good city.  As a resort community within a National Park, there are a lot of reasons why Jasper is the way it is.  Still, as far as resort communities run, I find Jasper remains a real community.  The ‘tourist’ centre is actually quite small and embedded within the greater townsite.  Everything is scaled and designed properly.  It’s a real place, relative to Banff, Tremblant or Whistler. 

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Mount Robson, highest point in the Canadian Rockies.  I’ve visited it numerous times and have trekked Berg Lake, but the view is quite different from the rail line which is on the opposite side of the valley.  Robson is a baby by Himalayan standards, but what makes it interesting is it’s imposing mass…it dwarfs all surrounding peaks and dominates the horizon.  When I visited the Chinese side of Mount Everest, I couldn’t help but think of Mount Robson.

The Skeena is tiny…only four cars, one of which is baggage.  There were about only 30 people on the train (95% tourist) to Prince George meaning everyone gets a seat in the dome car.  The train also slows down for bears and stops for Mount Robson.

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