Summer is once again descending on the Great White North and for this chick that means embarking on my annual migration from the west coast to Alberta’s side of the Rocky Mountains.  But first, a bit of context…

Early into the spring semester I wanted to be ahead of the pack when it came to applying to co-op jobs; preferably in Victoria – where I live and go to school – but also in my hometown of Banff, where I often spend my summers working. This year the fates would have it that after spending my whole life here avoiding tourists whenever and however possible I would land a job working for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism in their downtown office.

Tourist Central. Oh boy.

Prior to accepting the position I struggled a bit to see how such a job could benefit my long-term plans for a career in Canadian history. After thinking about it I figured what better way could I have to bring a history that I adore to a huge number of people than working in an visitor center?

I won’t lie to you: I have spent a huge amount of time complaining about silly questions. I’m sure locals in any town, especially touristy ones, gripe and moan about all the ridiculous things they get asked or deal with on a daily basis. But the way I figured it, by working in the visitor center we can kind of cut the middle man and get to the really important questions. People come to this place because they know that the people inside hold all the answers; where to eat, what to see, things to do, the best times to do stuff, and – if they’re really lucky – get the the local insight.

Locals like lording our secrets over tourists. Its a fact.

I have now been working in the VC for a week now, getting my feet wet alongside one other new hire. Helping us learn to stay afloat in this new environment are not only our coworkers but also the Parks Canada employees who share “the beehive” with us. This is the first time I’ve worked around a significant number of fellow locals and it has helped in making this new job feel comfortable faster. Likewise, I am the only born-and-raised local on the BLLT side and I’m having tremendous fun sharing that perspective with my comrades in arms!

This is the calm before the storm. Us newbies to the biz are busy learning to swim as fast as we can to prepare ourselves for the tsunami that will be summertime in Banff, but it feels more like playing than training. Yes, friends, this will grand times indeed.


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