If you ever drive on Mountain Road, either on your way into town or on your way to Blue, surely you must have noticed that Banff Sports has suffered a major injury. Not only is the century farmhouse the basis for the family business, it is also the family home.
On the morning of January 16, 2006 Banff Sports went up in flames and suffered major smoke and water damage. A small fire ignited in the basement...it only took a couple of short minutes before the fire was out of control and consuming everything in it's path. Brian and his crew tried to fend off the fire on their own...they thought they had but it became too much of a force and they had to bail. While waiting outside for local firefighters to come and salvage what was left of their century old home, Brian and Diane watched helplessly as everything they owned was going up in flames.
Little was salvaged from the house and what's left is now infused with the unmistakable stench of fire.
Banff Sports opened its doors in 1989, Brian inspired by the Alberta Winter Games came back to Collingwood with an idea. He had worked in the ski industry at Squire John's years ago and as a Landscape Architect by trade needed something to do in the wintertime. Not a big company, Banff Sports is a rental facility and they repair and tune skis and snowboards as well as offer a range of ski accessories, like goggles, hats, mitts and gloves... the stuff that people forget to bring with them.
The amazing thing about Brian and Diane, is there is no looking back for them, they have taken a tough stance in a devastating situation and are focusing on looking forward, for the sake of their family and for the sake of their business.
Words to listen to from the wise...make sure your smoke detectors are operating properly; they were the first indication of danger for Diane who was on the second floor. Most importantly, respect and appreciate everything that you have today...because in a flash it could all be gone.
Miraculously, Banff Sports is already open for business again, operating out of a trailer on the front of the property while the clean up and re-build is going on in the background. The fact that the house was solid and well built to start with makes it possible for salvation. Insurance however, won't be enough to cover the re-build, so Brian and his crew will be doing a lot of the work themselves. The family is staying at a friend's place for the time being and are grateful for any donations.
If you want to help, cash donations can be made to...Brian and Diane directly.
Donations of larger items like furniture or home furnishings are welcome as well but the family won't be ready for them until April when they are moving to another location as they don't expect to be able to move back home until late summer. You can contact Diane at Banff Sports at 705.444.1450 to let her know if you are interested in helping.
If you know anyone looking to rent skis, boards or blades ...send them over to Banff Sports. Every little bit helps.
Submitted by Julie Card