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Banff Cave & Basin’s clever repurposing shows the way for aging attractions

Banff’s Cave and Basin National Historical Site was, until just a few years ago, the home of the Lower Hot Springs, a popular bathing spot.

Tourists began to prefer the hotter waters of the Banff Upper Hot Springs and the soon the Lower Hot Springs found themselves short on visitors.   Because the site is also the birthplace of  Canadian National Parks, they decided to make repurposing the pool part of a larger $13.8 million upgrade.

The site of the former pool now hosts movies, weddings, conference gatherings and more.  Starting next week, they even plan to make it a temporary ice rink. Local media official Anne Frick provides a tour of the new area in the video.

The tourism industry is quick to jump on new projects and new trends, but one of the trickier aspects is what to do with aging attractions that don’t pull in visitors.  There’s a nostalgic and historical value of preserving them, there are often large costs when make-overs are involved and there’s often not the same sort of interests as starting a new project from scratch. So when a destination does manage to pull off a quality repurposing, we like to showcase them here so others might learn from them.

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