Waterton’s Dance Pavilion

Bessie Hacking (center) with her Friends
Waterton’s Dance Pavilion built in 1926 and burned down in 1938

During the 1920’s Waterton saw a lot of  building and town growth; it was in 1926 that the Dance Pavilion in Waterton was built and opened. It was the place all the folks came to on the weekends. Grandma Bessie (pictured center above) and Earl Hacking talked all the time about how fun these dances were, they attracted people from all over southern Alberta. The dances back then were called “Jitneys” and the boys would pay to be on a dance card.


From the 20’s through the 50’s Waterton was  known far and wide for its “dandy dances” at the dancehall downtown. People would come from miles around to hear bands like Mart Kenney and his Western Gentlemen and The Lovin’ Spoonful. Old timers remember when men would pay a dime a dance “and they always paid for the dance for the ladies.” When the dance was over they would rope everyone out and start the process of paying for the next dance again. “It was great fun,” they all say with a smile and fond memories.

The Dance Pavilion burned down in 1938 and was rebuilt. In later years it was used as a roller skating rink for a period and later as a pub and dance floor. Today it is the Thirsty Bear Kitchen and Bar.

Mart Kenney and his big band played in Waterton for many years. In the 1990’s the Waterton Natural History Association would have a ball with dinner and an auction hosted at the Prince of Wales Hotel. This event always took place on the last evening of the season that the Prince of Wales was open.  The furniture of the lobby was moved out of the way and a temporary floor was laid down, the band would play in front of the  windows of the lobby. I remember it was amazing to listen to the band and look out the large windows down the valley of Waterton Lake. The view  was so romantic with the lights from the townsite twinkling in the backdrop against the lake. We would also go up to the second floor off the lobby and look down at all of the people dancing on the dance floor. This ball was a wonderful way to end each season of work in Waterton, everyone had time to visit and just enjoy themselves. All of us here at the Northland Lodge truly miss this magical event with the big bands inside the Park’s iconic Prince of Wales Hotel.



Anatomy of Perfume

Since Mother’s Day is fast approaching, we thought it would be nice to talk about the essence of perfume and how fragrance is developed.  After all, perfume makes a wonderful gift and the Northland Lodge  has a couple to offer. Our Rose Geranium has a wonderfully light, powdery fresh rose fragrance and reminds me of the scents and aromas around the lodge with all of our flower boxes and fresh air.


Our second perfume is Red Thyme which is very sensual fragrance rich with the scent of berries and peonies.

Traditionally, perfume is a blend of natural, essential oils extracted from spices, herbs, flowers, grasses, leaves and woods with scent-prolonging fixatives added. Today however, perfumes are a concentrated essence of fragrance materials which also  includes various synthetic ingredients. The more deluxe a fragrance is the higher the ratio of natural materials to synthetic ingredients will be.

There are about 3,000 ingredients available from which perfumers use to compose a fragrance. When they talk about the process they use the terms top, middle and base notes to describe the different elements which make up the perfume’s overall scent.

The top notes of a perfume are the lightest and most fleeting part of a perfume, which provides the initial fragrance impression. Their appearance lasts but a few minutes then they blend into the middle notes as this second phase of the perfume begins. This is where the term “accord” comes from, it is the blending of various notes. Some examples of top notes would include: geranium (The top notes of our Rose Geranium fragrance are actually Mandarin and Blackcurrent) , chamomile, cinnamon, peach, pear, lemon or bergamot.

Rose Geranium Floral Elixir, Eau de Toilette 1.7 ounces - 50 ml
Top Notes- Mandarine, Blackcurrent, Middle Notes – Geranium, Rose, Peony, Base Notes – Violet, Patchouli, Musk

The middle notes, define the character of a perfume. It takes approximately ten minutes for the middle notes, also called the heart notes, to develop on the skin and they can last for hours. The middle notes will harmonize with the supporting base notes. Middle notes tend to be rich in florals for example, honeysuckle, jasmine, rose, peony, freesia. The middle notes of our Rose Geranium fragrance include peony, rose water and geranium and our Red Thyme Fragrance includes blueberry, red thyme and peony.

Top Notes: Blackcurrant Flowers, Middle Notes: Blueberry, Red Thyme, Peony Base Notes: Wild Blackberry, Patchouli

The base notes carry the top and middle notes, giving the perfume it’s depth. Base notes are generally referred to as fixatives because they prolong the evaporation rate or dry down and the life of a fragrance on the skin. Base notes will include  balsam, cedar wood, frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. The base notes of our Rose Geranium fragrance include musk, patchouli and violet, while our Red Thyme is composed of wild blackberry and patchouli.  The dry down occurs when the final phase of the fragrance develops on the skin. This usually takes about half an hour if the person wearing the perfume has dry skin and fifteen minutes if the skin is oily.

Remember: it is always important to store your perfume in a dark place, as light will breakdown the components of your fragrance. Our perfumes come with a beautiful storage container keeping your fragrance safe from light.

Check out our perfumes and lotions at our website Northland Lodge under gift shop and see if there is something perfect to Wow your Mom on Mother’s Day! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get special pricing offers.


Plowing The Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park, snow plows reveal the road shortly after May 1st, 2018.

The Sun Road, as it is sometimes called, is the only road that cuts east and west through Glacier National Park, and winds its way up over the Logan Pass (elevation 6,646 ft/ 2,026m), cutting across the Continental Divide. Construction of this epic road began in 1921 and was completed in 1932, with a formal dedication on July 15, 1933.

Glacier Going-to-the-Sun Road-2
View from Going-to-the-Sun Road in the 1930’s

This road is said to be one of the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring. There can be up to 80 ft of snow at the top of Logan Pass with even more just east of the pass in an area referred to as the “Big Drift” With all the park’s heavy equipment they can move up to 4,000 tons of snow an hour which translates to about 500 feet (150m)  of road per day, consequently, the road can take up to 10 weeks to plow.

Portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road remain open all year and provide access to many locations and activities. The opening of the alpine portion varies, based on snowfall and plowing progress. There is no set date for the road to open. Typically the road has been fully open in late June or early July.

Closing portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road is also weather dependent. Typically the road is fully open until the third Monday of October, however,  that can change due to weather conditions at any point.

The latest news for this year (2019) is that they have started plowing and are past the Lake McDonald Lodge— a ways to go yet! Check out Glacier National Park’s facebook page for updates. Last year there were some projects in the works, check link below for updates pertaining to this year.  https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/gtsrproject.htm

Glacier National Park is wild country, and wildlife may be present anywhere along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Mountain goats and Bighorn sheep are consistently seen near Logan Pass.

Grandma Bessie, Grandpa Earl Hacking and friends at the Weeping Wall on Going-to-the-Sun Road circa 1930’s

This two lane road is quite narrow with winding hairpin turns, tunnels, waterfalls, astounding mason work, and epic views. As a child (in the 1960’s) I remember our family would tow our boat over the pass heading to Flathead Lake from Waterton. When the Northland Lodge was rented for family reunions, we would take a vacation to Glacier and water-ski at the Lake for a few days. I recall being terrified as we drove over the pass with the boat, worried we would careen over the edge.  Today there are size restrictions, no vehicle longer than 21 feet (6.4m)  and no wider than 8 feet. (2.4m) are allowed on the pass; you will understand why as you ascend up the pass.

Jackson Glacier Overlook affords the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road, it is located on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Logan Pass and St. Mary.

Either way, once the road is plowed, the views are stunning! Be sure to bring your passport so that you can experience an international vacation without leaving the continent. Both Waterton and Glacier have breathtaking views, wildlife, historic buildings, stories, and adventures to make your trip unforgettable!

Going-to-the-Sun Road kanonsky
Beautiful Sunset in Glacier National Park from the Going-to-the-Sun Road. View of Wild Goose Island



Waterton Lakes Golf Course

In honor of Tiger Woods’ tenacious win at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia yesterday, it seemed like a perfect time to tell you about our beautiful course here in Waterton. The Waterton Lakes Golf Course is one of Canada’s oldest, it was developed by genius golf course architect Stanley Thompson of Banff Springs and Jasper Golf Courses. It was constructed from 1929 – 1939 just after the Prince of Wales Hotel and the Northland Lodge were completed.

On the course with the Prince of Wales Hotel in the background

The Waterton course will both challenge you and take your breath away. The great thing  about this course is that it works for the novice golfer as well as those who are experts at the game. It is astonishing how impressive the mountain scenery is surrounding this course. Looking off down the valley you have epic views of Mt Cleveland, The Citadel, and The Prince of Wales Hotel sitting perched on its hillside.  This public course offers a range of amenities including club and cart rentals, a pro shop, a practice green and a licensed clubhouse all of which are open seven days a week from May until October.


This 18 hole course is challenging, fun, and reminds you of why you started to play the game. Located right in Waterton National Park (2.5 hours south of Calgary) and plays right next to the Southern Alberta Rockies. Like most of the courses in the Rockies, the mountain scenery is often a “hazard” all its own. This is a must play course if you are in Northern Montana or Southern Alberta. Its’ fairways are lush with  its greens UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_50arestored to reclaim their position as being among the best in Alberta. It is the only place I have golfed where without much effort you can see quite a bit of wildlife and marvel at the scenery. It is possible to see moose, fox, elk and  bear. I’ve heard the bears love to break off the sprinkler heads to get a drink of watered play around the greens!

With friendly staff and  unforgettable surroundings, this is the perfect place to spend a day in Waterton. The food at the clubhouse is very good with the beef dip sandwich being my absolute favourite. There is a lovely patio overlooking the golf course where  you can sit and enjoy the scenery, eat lunch and visit with friends – and once again this is a public course and clubhouse so even if you don’t golf you can go to eat and just enjoy the epic views – no membership is required.  We recommend this adventure highly when you are planning your visit to Canada, Banff, Waterton and Glacier National Parks; it is for sure a bucket list item in Waterton. Check them out at our website Northlandlodge.ca under things to do where you can book a tee time, reserve clubs and carts, view the course map, and read a description of the entire course.


What’s for Dinner?

Blond bear cub small

The wildlife here in Waterton and Glacier National parks love to eat berries and we have them everywhere. In Glacier the bears, wildlife, and humans love to eat huckleberries. What’s interesting is that huckleberries don’t grow as prolific in Waterton as Glacier. Here in Waterton we have Saskatoon Berries and that is what all of the bears and humans are searching out, and the bears eat mountains of these berries!

Saskatoon berries were considered one of the most important foods to the indigenous cultures. The Blackfoot used fresh Saskatoon berries in soups, stews, and pemmican (their travel food which consisted of a combination of dried meats and berries).  The berries were also used to make dyes and were a remedy for stomach aches, and liver problems. Dried berries were also a very important winter staple and trade item.19A



This berry is about 1 cm in size (approx. 1/2 inch) in diameter and when mature turns a dark purple in color; it is very high in iron with lots of anti-oxidants.  The seeds in this berry give it an almond like flavor. The plant grows as a shrub or small tree, and is quite at home here in Alberta. It blooms from May to June with fragrant white blossoms. In the fall their leaves turn crimson covering the mountain sides with a patchwork of color. The scientific name for the Saskatoon berry  is Amelanchier alnifolia , in Canada this berry is called a Saskatoon Berry;  in the United States it is commonly called a Service Berry or June Berry.

northland-breakfast-07 At the Northland Lodge we offer our own Saskatoon Berry Jam, and pies for you to enjoy. We serve Saskatoon berry jam  every morning with our complimentary homemade hot muffins, along with coffee, teas and juices. It is a great time for guests to meet, visit, discuss their adventures and plan their day! We also offer jams to take home to remember and share your visit in Waterton, Glacier and the Northland Lodge. While you are here you will also want to try our Saskatoon Berry Pie! This pie is delicious with ice cream and a wonderful treat in the evenings. If you have a family reunion or lots of mouths to feed we offer whole pies. For a midnight snack to share we have pie by the slice! Either way be  sure to reserve your piece of pie beforehand as this coveted berry  pie is limited!

Saskatoon Berry Pie with Ice Cream
Northland Lodge Saskatoon Berry Pie


Bertha Peak

2016-8-22 016 Bertha Falls
Lower Bertha Falls

One of our favourite hikes right outside the Lodge’s door is the Bertha Lake Hike;  this hike traverses up  Bertha Peak to a beautiful alpine lake. The trailhead starts just a block down our back alley; it wanders down the valley for about two miles where you come upon Lower Bertha Falls. Past the falls you start-up switchbacks ultimately summiting to the lake. We have had a guest that counted the switchbacks and said there are 21! The hike to Bertha Lake is 10.4 km/6.5 miles round trip and a great day hike from the Lodge. No driving to trailheads required, and if you think it is too much you can always hike to the falls and return.

Bertha Peak  (8,005 ft, 2,440m), lake, and falls have been said to be named after a longtime resident of the park. The story goes that Bertha was a bootlegger during prohibition, however, no one seems to know her last name, or much about her. Originally the lake was named Spirit Lake but back in 1914 it was posted on a map as Bertha Lake and the name has stuck.

There are other mountains, lakes, and landmarks in Waterton that have had their names changed over the years.

View of Vimy Ridge from the deck of the Northland Lodge

Sheep Mountain became Vimy Peak or Vimy Ridge, in memory of Vimy Ridge battle during WWI. Mount Crandell was known by the locals as Black Bear Mountain or Bear Mountain and  Blue Lake became Crandell Lake.  Bear’s Hump another famous hike in Waterton was originally known as the Pimple. Yikes, I think I prefer Bear’s Hump!

And after a day long hike there is nothing better than sitting on the Northland Lodge deck visiting with friends and family, relaxing and telling stories of your days adventures.

HP1508-03 Waterton Chamber-9464
Enjoying the deck at the Northland Lodge in Waterton Lakes National Park


What’s in a Pattern?

We have tried over the years to incorporate things that will enhance our guests’ experience and tell a memorable story of Waterton and Glacier. Consequently, almost everything at the Northland Lodge has significance, from the big details such as pressing our sheets daily, because that is what Great Grandma Jensen did, to the smaller items like the daily china that we us. Our china pattern is Johnson Brothers Blue Willow pattern; there is a story behind it, from the pattern itself to why it’s used at the Lodge.

The Blue Willow pattern is believed to be the original pattern used at the Prince of Wales Hotel in 1927. When the hotel was remodeled and updated the china was sold off and replaced. The  Great Northern Railway  had just years earlier, in 1924, introduced its Oriental Limited Express rail cars.  These Pullman built sleepers, diners and observation cars were designed to be the finest trains operated between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago. The Blue Willow pattern may have been chosen to compliment the rail line with the Hotel. Louis Hill was famous  for pulling concepts together from the train lines, to the vessels the Great Northern owned to the Hotels and the park, all in an effort to generate interest in visiting Glacier and riding the trains.

blue-willow-china-e1553458471561.jpegThe first known printing of the Willow pattern goes back to the mid 1800’s. Over the years the Willow Pattern Legend has been passed down from generation to generation. We had a guest a few years back who was ecstatic to see we used Blue Willow because as a child her father had worked at the Prince of Wales Hotel and she remembered it along with  the legend that her mother had told her about  the pattern on the plates. The legend goes like this….


The Legend of the Willow Plate

My Willow ware plate has a story,

Pictorial, painted in blue,

From the land of the tea and the tea-plant

And the little brown man with a queue.

What ever the food you serve, daughter

Romance enters into the feast,

If you only pay heed to the legend,

On the old china ware plate from the East.

Koong Shee was a mandarin’s daughter

And Chang was her lover, ah me,

For surely her father’s accountant

Might never wed pretty Koong Shee.

So Chang was expelled from the compound

The lovers’ alliance to break,

And pretty Koong Shee was imprisoned

In a little blue house  by the lake.

The doughty old mandarin reasoned

It was time that his daughter should wed,

And the groom of his choosing should banish

That silly romance from her head.

For years had great artists been stitching

In symbols the dress she should wear,

Her  headband of scarlet lay waiting,

She should ride in a gold wedding chair.

He was busily plotting and planning,

When a message was brought him one day,

Young Chang had invaded the palace,

And taken his sweetheart away.

They were over the bridge when he saw them,

They were passing the  big willow tree,

And a boat at the edge of the water,

Stood waiting for Chang and Koong Shee.

The furious mandarin followed

The groom with revenge in his eyes,

But the little boat danced on the water

And traveled away with the prize.

But vengeance pursued to their shelter

And burned the pagoda, they say

From out of the flames rose the lovers,

A pair of doves winging away.

They flew toward the western heaven

The pretty Koong Shee and her Chang

Or so says the famous old legend

From the land of the Yangtse Kiang,

I wouldn’t be the one to deny it,

For the little  blue dove and her mate

Forever are flying together

Across my Willow ware plate.

Blue Willow Plate and Rhubarb Muffin
Blue Willow plate with our famous handmade rhubarb muffin topped with Saskatoon Berry Jam





Crypt Lake Hike – Bucket List Item

IMG_1848So you are planning your summer vacation to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and are trying to figure out what to spend your precious time doing while here! In Waterton there are several epic hikes that are bucket list worthy and one of them is the Crypt Lake Hike. National Geographic has rated this hike one of the “World’s 20 Most Thrilling Trails!” It is an all day hike (5-8 hours)  and a bit of a challenge — but manageable. Make sure you bring plenty of water, lunch, and snacks. Last time I did this hike I did not bring enough water and it was not much fun; you are exposed on the south side of the mountain for a fair amount of the hike and water is really, really,  important.

What makes this hike so interesting is that you get to experience many different elements. To start you take a 15 minute boat ride over to the trailhead at Crypt Landing which is located across Waterton Lake. Check our web-site under things to do for information to Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co.  In peak season there are several boat shuttle start times, I recommend the 8:30 or 9:00 time slot as it can get quite hot in the afternoon and you can also spend more time at the lake if you get going earlier; mind the clock in order to catch the return boat. Believe me when you are done with the hike and waiting for the boat you just want to be home!

Crypt Lake Hike

The hike passes 4 waterfalls: Hell Roaring Falls (1km), Twin Falls (3.5 km), Burnt Rock Falls (5.6km) and Crypt Falls, (8km). As you approach the top of the pass you come to a steel ladder you ascend to enter a 60 foot tunnel through the mountain which is completed with a short maneuver around a cliff utilizing an anchored cable, to help with security, …… then after a short walk you arrive at the Lake. Crypt Lake is surrounded by towering cliffs and if you look closely you may see Mountain Goats. It’s a great spot to sit, eat lunch, fish for local Cutthroat Trout in the alpine lake (provided you have a fishing license), and relax for a short period while you prepare for the return trip.

All of the Northland Lodge guests who take this hike rave about it;  when they get home they love to sit on the deck with a cold beverage, relax, take a look at their pictures of the day, and tell us about their adventures on the this epic hike. I must admit my favourite memories in Waterton are:  after completing a hike such as this, relaxing in one of our lounge chairs on the deck with a cold beverage, my shoes off with my tired toes cooling in the breeze!  At the end of the day it feels so rewarding to have completed a long hike with family and friends admiring beautiful scenery, and having sore muscles.

Distance: 17.2 km / 10.7 mi (return)
Elevation Gain: 700m / 2300ft.
Hiking Time: 5-8 hours


Canadian Prairie Food, Rhubarb Muffins

At the Northland Lodge we try to introduce you to great, homemade, garden fresh, Canadian prairie food. Rhubarb is one of those wonderful prairie foods; from jam to pie to ice cream sauce it is delicious.  I remember as a kid eating warm rhubarb sauce with ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream, just the smell of rhubarb reminds me of my childhood; strawberry-rhubarb pie is another favourite of mine.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_bafRhubarb is really interesting, it is a big beautiful plant that  you pull by the roots  like swiss chard, however, just the stalk is used in cooking.  We had a spot in the garden where I decided to plant some rhubarb a couple of years ago. The  first year it is planted you cannot use the plant but the second year of growth you can start pulling stalks for cooking.  It grows to a large beautiful plant with lots of foliage, and the deer do not like to eat it so it is perfect in our garden.

We have experimented cooking with rhubarb creating rhubarb pie, rhubarb curd and of course one of our best-loved items, our Rhubarb Muffins. I have had so many people ask for this recipe, that I decided to share it with you so you can make your own and reminisce about your visit to the Northland Lodge, Waterton Lakes National Park, Glacier National Park,  and Canada.

Northland Lodge Rhubarb Muffins

preheat oven to 375 degrees

bake time: 18 – 24 minutes


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk)

1 cup chopped rhubarb stalks


3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts

3 tablespoons salted butter softened, at room temperature

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Using a mixer blend butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs on medium speed until creamed together.
  3. Reduce speed to low and mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the yogurt (milk) mixture; repeat until all ingredients are blended. Fold rhubarb into the batter.
  4. Crumble together the flour, pecans, butter, sugar, and cinnamon with a fork or fingers.
  5. Fill muffin cups about two-thirds full, then sprinkle topping over the top of the batter.
  6. Baking time will vary depending on altitude and the weather, it is generally about 21-24 minutes in Waterton and we are about 4000 feet above sea level.

Serve warm with our Saskatoon Berry Jam available on our web-site! Good luck and I am sure yours will taste divine! Hashtag us at #northlandlodge with photos of your muffins to get featured on our instagram  page @northland_lodge




Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

There is always a bit of confusion with the names of Waterton and Glacier National Parks. There is: Waterton Lakes National Park, Waterton Park, Glacier National Park and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Hopefully some of this information will clarify the parks and their titles.

Kootenai BrownJohn George “Kootenai” Brown was Waterton’s first forest ranger in charge and was credited for inspiring the idea of linking the two parks. Brown realized that the border means nothing to the wildlife and linking the parks would help preserve animals and their breeding grounds.

The Great Northern Railway, led by Louis Hill pow.jpg
also played an instrumental  role in developing  the idea, with the construction of the Prince of Wales Hotel, the railway started including Waterton in its advertising campaigns. The “Peace”  element was developed in honor of the horrors from  the Great War (WWI)  which had ended 13 years earlier, thinking that the rest of the world might admire the peaceful relations between Canada and United States.

It took 11 months for the US Congress and Canadian Parliament to pass individual pieces of legislation to create Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park  and was accomplished in large part to the urging of the Rotary Clubs in Alberta and Montana.

Glacier Park Hotel 1932.jpg        On June 18, 1932, the parks, celebrated the passage of similar bills in the United States and Canada, along with over 2000 Rotarians and guests gathered at Glacier Park Hotel to dedicate the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

Even with the creation of “Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park,” The Great Northern Railway never used this name in its advertising campaign, it was too long and awkward and they were intent on Glacier as their main focus. Rather, the Great Northern Railway used phrases as “Glorious Glacier.” When Waterton was mentioned in advertisements or on  brochures, it was usually second or in smaller print. Today, Glacier Park, Inc., which operates the hotels previously owned by Great Northern, will reverse the names of the park to Glacier-Waterton in its advertising material.

Waterton-Glacier became the first International Peace Park in the world in 1932, since then there has been 138 Peace parks around the world that have been created. In 1995 it was designated as a  UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the time it was the only Site consisting of two adjoining parks in different countries.


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