Photographs and Design by Lee Cookson
Curation by Laurel Green
Taken over four years, the photographs in this issue explore the contentious topic of parking in Banff, Alberta. A busy day in Banff sees 25,000 vehicles inbound and outbound, with a peak daily visitor population of over 50,000 people. Approximately 8.3 million vehicles travel through Banff each year. Visitor-pay parking came into effect in downtown Banff in late 2021, with free parking lots on the periphery (an 8-minute walk). Resident Parking Permits are required in the streets around the downtown paid zone, and there are a recorded 1,354 private parking stalls (driveways, garages, etc.) in the area. Many visiting drivers circle the small downtown core looking to park as close as possible, resulting in traffic congestion, idling vehicles, and frustrated drivers spilling over into residential streets trying to avoid paying for parking. Each year, Banff residents pay $265,000 in taxes towards the cost of road and curb repair, and the marking of parking spots. By elevating the rarified parking spot to a wildlife encounter, we pose the question: what are we driving here to see?
In the spirit of respect and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Banff area, known as “Minhrpa” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “the waterfalls”) and the Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley First Nations – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Shuswap Nations, Ktunaxa Nations, and Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play here, steward this land, and honour and celebrate this place. As the progeny of settlers and immigrants from Great Britain, we are guests on these lands and share these photographs as an exploration and critique of what Banff has become since colonization.