Destinations: Cultural Landscapes of Tourism

By Greg Ringer | Go to book overview

5

REWRITING LANGUAGES OF GEOGRAPHY AND TOURISM

Cultural discourses of destinations, gender and tourism history in the Canadian Rockies 1

Shelagh J. Squire

Drive through the Rockies and you’ll enjoy a Canadian vacation classic. While relaxing in the comfort of your car or touring coach, a succession of picture postcard scenes rolls past like your own personal travelogue.

(Palmer 1996:12)

The type of people who came [to the Rockies] were more the wealthy people because they were the only people who could afford…to stay at hotels and hire horses.

(Tocher 1977)

This issue…is about a declining ecosystem, and our inability to come to terms with what needs to be done to restore it…. I foresee a terrible day when the only bears left in Banff National Park will be found in cash register drawers, stamped on the face of two-dollar coins.

(Legault 1996:15)

These extracts capture different facets of the tourist destination that was and is the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The scenic beauties of Canada’s western mountains are the currency for international tourist recognition. Correspondingly, however, the mountains as a destination are also a social construction. The landscape preferences and values for wilderness to which they appeal reflect cultural influences originating in European Romanticism. As tourist space, the Rockies have been shaped by differences of race, class, gender and a dialectic between work and leisure. And, not least, the mountains have been a milieu where notions of limits to growth and ideas about

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