After completion of a rail line across Canada in 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) began to build grand hotels designed to encourage rail travel. The earliest of these included the Banff Springs Hotel, which opened in 1888 near hot springs that formed the nucleus of what is now Banff National Park.
As the Canadian Rockies began attracting more adventurous visitors, the CPR began establishing a network of backcountry rest houses and lodges. One such property was a log cabin one kilometre from Shadow Lake that served as a basic shelter for weary travellers who were seeking out backcountry beauty on foot and horseback. Completed in 1929, it comprised a simple saddle-notched log cabin with a gabled roof and two front windows overlooking a wide meadow.
After the Great Depression, the CPR began selling off its more remote properties, including Shadow Lake Rest House, with ownership transferring to Brewster Transport in 1938. The property has been in the Brewster family ever since.
The Brewster family first proposed expanding the property to allow overnight usage in 1978. In 1991, after more than a decade of legal government wrangling over both the construction of additional cabins and status of the access road, the first guests arrived to find the original log cabin renovated and a string of new cabins. Two years later, a cabin dedicated to housing staff was built, along with a grey water system that is still in use to this day. In the following years, more guest cabins and a dining room were constructed, with the original 1929 cabin now used as a guest lounge, complete with a wood-burning fireplace extensive library of local books.
Today, Alison Brewster, daughter of Bud Brewster, along with her husband Bryan Niehaus and their daughters Morgan and Joleen operate Shadow Lake Lodge, continuing the long and storied history of the Brewster family’s link to a very special backcountry lodge.
For a more detailed history of Shadow Lake Lodge, click here.