The town of Banff relies heavily on young people from across Canada and around the world to come and work in the service industry. Many folks who are planning to come want to make the most of their stay in Banff: they want to enjoy the world-famous national parks in their off time, and hopefully return home with some extra money as well as many great memories.
Here are some tips from folks who have "been there, done that":
- As at 2013, expect to pay around ~$500 for a room, or $800-$1200 for a 1br suite/apt
- Worried about the first week or two -- where to stay, how to get interviews, etc? Consider the Banff International Hostel's Jobseekers' Package. It includes accommodation, internet access, voicemail, shuttle to town -- everything you need for your job hunt in Banff. The Banff Y Mountain Lodge, another hostel, offers a similar package, which they call the Best Job Seeker's Package inTown. Gap Year Canada also offers job-seekers assistance www.GapYearCanada.com
- Try for good staff accommodations at a decent price -- if you have a choice between a job that includes it and one that doesn't, go for the first. Housing in the Banff area is quite expensive and in short supply.
- Try and get a job that earns tips, to boost your earning potential.
- There are lots of great free things to do in Banff: hiking, cultural events, festivals, sports. The Town of Banff will let you borrow some sports equipment, like volleyballs or basketballs, frisbees or tennis raquets, free.
- Because there are so many young people working together, it can tend toward becoming one long party. Living in staff accommodation, which is often the only available (and economical) place to live, contributes to this too. It's easy to get hooked into the vortex - and hard to save money that way, so be wary.
- Stay out of the bars, avoid the party scene to maximize your savings.
- Minimize eating out -- eat at your work (if they offer that) or pack your own lunches, make nutritious breakfasts and dinners in your accommodations, go for picnics rather than restaurant meals, etc.
- Note that Banff has a high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- A lot of jobs in the Rockies are filled by university students, who all leave at the beginning of September to go back to school. So September, which is still a busy time for tourists, can be a heyday for making $$ for those who are left, as most places are quite short-staffed. Also, some employers will offer a bonus if you stay to the end of the season - usually the end of September, or until Thanksgiving in mid-October.
- If you're hoping to work at one of the ski resorts, local hiring begins in August, even though most jobs don't start until mid November or December. Early February can also be a good time to come, as this is the peak of the ski season. That means more staff may be needed, and some businesses may need to replace employees due to turnover since the start of ski season. Hotels, restaurants and retail stores also hire many workers throughout the ski season.
- Some employers offer substantial perks to their employees. For example, Brewster has a wide variety of enterprises within the national parks and their employees have free access to all their attractions/activities. One former employee said he saved "probably around $2000" with free tours, free tickets, etc. Employees of The Banff Centre will have many amazing opportunities to attend world-class events. Employees of SkiBig3.com may get seasons passes for skiing. The Town of Banff active living program offers interest free loans for things such as ski passes, golf passes or fitness passes, as well as annual bus passes for just $5 (local transit only). Even smaller employers -- the best ones -- have special staff discounts, staff outings, etc.
- The Banff Job Resource Centre (314 Marten Street) is a community service that helps people find jobs and new careers. In addition to a job board with local opportunites, computers with Internet access and job search advice, they host hiring fairs each October and May to help connect job seekers with local employers.
- The Banff Public Library offers free Internet access (101 Bear Street)
- BanffLIFE offers drop in centre and activities for young adults, 18 to 30. There's no charge to join, and you'll meet people just like you. The mountain adventure activities is a convenient and safe way to try backcountry wilderness treks.
- The Banff Ambassador program is a good way to learn about Banff and get cheap access to Banff's top attractions and tours.
Banff Job Resource Centre
BanffLIFE or facebook.com/banfflife
Move to Banff - more info
Work in Banff- more info
Affordability and Assistance in Banff- more info
Facebook group IEC 2012