Last Updated on November 28, 2020 by Irene Seto
Cruise the mountains in style with Open Top Touring
Open Top Touring is the newest excursion to hit Banff National Park and you’ve probably never seen anything like it! You’ll get to drive around in style in their vintage-inspired open roof automobiles. Soak in all that mountain air, pine scent and warm sun along the way!
This throwback experience takes you on a scenic drive through Banff to learn about the history, landmarks and sights that you may not already know about. Even though I have been to Banff a number of times, I learned quite a few new facts during the 90-minute tour. Do you know where Banff gets its name from? Well, the answer is shared in the tour so I won’t give away all the lessons just yet 🙂
Open Top Touring: the automobiles
The Open Top concept was inspired by the original 1930’s tours offered by the Brewster Brothers. The pair commissioned special open air vehicles to take tourists through the mountains. They were a total hit! Folks enjoyed seeing the national park in a safari-style mode of transport. (It’s just not the same behind closed windows!)
Open Top Touring’s custom coaches are based off of these 1930s vehicles but with some modern luxuries. It’s an automobile unlike any other – not quite a limo, much nicer than the usual bus. Plush leather seats and soft caramel suede lining makes you feel like a Hollywood star. Ward off any chills with the provided cozy blankets. Built-in heaters near the floor area are there to keep your feet warm. USB plugs are also available to can keep your phone charged so you can capture all the memories along the way.
In case of inclement weather, the cars are covered with a glass top roof so that you can still see out from all angles.
The views, the stories and so much more!
Not only are the vehicles based off the past, but the entire tour is as well! Your guide will help set the Pre-War era tone in their period costume and language – you’ll learn new-to-you phrases and expressions as part of the fun. Old-timey jazz music will play from the speakers along the way to get your toes tapping and get you into the 1930s mood.
The tour will take you along a number of scenic areas throughout the town of Banff. Most of the tour is rather sedate and leisurely, but you’ll eventually pop out onto the highway too. There are opportunities to stop for picture-taking at some great lookout points – obviously my favourite part of the tour. Getting your picture with the Open Top vehicle next to the mountains will make for one unique memento.
The Open Top experience
There’s just something about the open roof experience that makes it a little more special – I especially enjoyed seeing some of my favourite Banff views in the comfort of the Open Top Touring car. Maybe it’s because living in Calgary it is not practical to have a convertible top car – but they sure are fun when you get the chance to ride in one! That’s the same kind of fun I got out of cruising around in the Open Top coaches.
If you’re on a morning tour, I recommend wearing a few more layers as it can be quite brisk in the mountain air. Also remember a hair elastic or hat to keep your hair out of your face when the car picks up speed.
Safety protocols at Open Top Touring
As we settle into the new normal, Open Top Touring has many COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Each tour is set to 50% capacity to ensure enough physical spacing. In between each tour, touchpoints, blankets and other surfaces are thoroughly sanitized.
Remember to also bring your face mask with you as you will need to wear one during the tour. (You may notice that in some of my photos, my face mask was off. This only occurred when we had stopped moving and others had exited the vehicle to ensure we all stayed safe).
2020 will see a shortened Banff touring season that will run until mid-October. But you can look forward to a full Open Top Touring season in spring 2021. Get your motors running and book in soon!