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Clouds and swirling snow crawl over sharp Rocky Mountain peaks as we sit window-side at Juniper Bistro in Banff’s Juniper Hotel. The sun cracks through these fast-moving swirls, fanning snow-covered pines with rugged Jesus rays. It’s a divine sign that we order the eggs benedict ($15). She’ll have the Canadian bacon, while I’ll have the smoked salmon.

We admire the construction of a shallow birch-bark canoe ornamenting the divide between the restaurant and its lounge. Speaking of ultra-Canadiana, there’s a very cool Norval Morrisseau painting entitled “Medicine Wheel” in the small hotel’s main hall.

The eggs arrive, two each, smothered in perfect Hollandaise. The yolk runs golden with the first forkful. Crisp wedge fries accompany. The salmon is smooth and almost sweet. The bacon is likewise soft and smooth but with a salt edge. I lean back and enjoy the food-fuelled feeling of leaving work and the worldly concerns of 2011 far behind.

Over this exhilarating breakfast we vow never to take Calgary’s very proximate mountains and foothills for granted. Reinforcing the excellence of our meal, we scored a cheap mid-week rate for our two-nights of accommodation.

Stomachs full, we’re off to Lake Louise to see the sights and enjoy an early evening sleigh ride round the lake.

Ian Doig

The Juniper Hotel and Bistro
Juniper Way and Mount Norquay Road
Banff, Alberta
866-551-2281

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