History of the Area
Improvement District No. 9 encompasses the area of the Banff National Park outside of the corporate limits of the Town of Banff. Banff National Park is located 140km west of Calgary, Alberta and was Canada’s first national park. Established in 1885 to preserve a cave containing hot springs, the park expanded to encompass 6,641 km² of mountainous terrain including glaciers, coniferous forest and alpine landscapes. Banff National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) built the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise which drew tourists to the area and today the park sees between 3‐4 million tourists annually.
The hamlet of Lake Louise (originally called Laggan), Improvement District No. 9’s population centre, was built in 1890 and was a station along the CPR route. Lake Louise is the highest community in Canada at 5,033 feet. The hamlet is separated into two communities; Upper Lake Louise is centered around the Chateau Lake Louise, adjacent to Lake Louise and also includes Deer Lodge and Paradise Bungalows. Lower Lake Louise or “The Village” is adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway and is where most residents live. A small shopping area, hotels, restaurants and gas stations can be found here. As of the last federal census in 2011 there were approximately 1,200 residents in Lake Louise. The Lake Louise Ski Area operates cross the Trans Canada Highway from the village and is a year round operation offering world class skiing and a the best grizzly bear viewing during the summer months.
Improvement District No. 9
Improvement District (I.D.) No. 9 was originally formed as Improvement District No. 51 on April 1, 1945 through the amalgamation of numerous other I.D.’s. Improvement District No. 51 was renumbered to I.D. No. 9 on January 1, 1969. Formerly part of I.D. No. 9, the Town of Banff separated from the improvement district and incorporated as a town on January 1, 1990.
Improvement Districts are municipal regions governed directly by the Province of Alberta and generally encompass areas of either national or provincial parks. Some Improvement Districts with significant populations have local municipal councils and administrations. Improvement District No. 9 is one of these. See Governance.