We left the Rocky Mountains and decided to go to Drumheller, Alberta, the home of a major Canadian tourist attraction, the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The museum, located 84 miles northeast of Calgary, AB in the Canadian badlands, is a center of palaeontological research and is noted for its collection of more than 130,000 fossils. The first dinasaur fossils were discovered here in 1884 by geologists searching for coal seams and since then fossils continue to be found. The collection continues to grow and now contains at least 40 mounted dinosaur skeletons. It was a great museum and I’m glad we made the little detour out there.
From there we headed south to Waterton Lakes NP, located in southwestern Alberta. Established in 1895, it adjoins Glacier NP in Montana, which was established in 1910. Their location, adjoining one another along the International Boundary, led the governments of Canada and the United States to link the two parks as the world’s first International Peace Park.
I must admit that one of the reasons I wanted to go to Waterton was to check out the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel, situated on a bluff overlooking the Upper Waterton Lake. Contructed between 1926 and 1927, the hotel was built by the American Great Northern Railway to lure American tourists north of the border during the prohibition era.
The hotel was named after the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), in a transparent attempt to entice him to stay in the hotel on his 1927 Canadian tour, but the Prince stayed at a nearby ranch instead.
The Prince of Wales Hotel enjoys the distinction of being the sole establishment among Canada’s grand railway hotels to have been built by an American, as opposed to a Canadian, railway company. The all wood chalet style hotel has glass windows overlooking Upper Waterton Lake and since it just happened to be my birthday, Leonard took me out for a wonderful meal in the main dining room, where we had a table by the window overlooking the lake. What great memories.