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Peyto Lake

Roberto Nickson


Behind the Shot

Advertised to the public as “Fifty Switzerlands in One” the mountains of Banff National Park became popular with adventure-seeking travelers in the late 1800s. In 1896, after a fatal climbing accident on Mount Lefroy, experienced mountain guides were hired to guide the tenderfoots through the wilderness.

Most of the guides were professionals from Switzerland. Ebenezer William “Bill” Peyto, an Englishman who arrived in the area in 1887, was one of the few non-Swiss guides, and had gained the respect of the other guides with his extensive first-hand knowledge of the area.

One of his favorite spots was a small lake in the valley of the Waputik Range. Fed by water from Caldron Lake and the glaciers upstream in the Wapta Icefields, the mineral content of the secluded lake made the water glow a brilliant bright turquoise color.

In 1913, Peyto was named park warden for Banff National Park, a position he held until his retirement in 1936. Peyto died in 1943 and was buried in Banff Town Cemetery. His favorite private retreat was renamed Peyto Lake as a reminder of his devotion to the area.

Roberto visited during his most recent trip to Banff. “My friend Travis had on a cool yellow jacket that I thought was extremely photogenic, especially in this environment. There was a dull, ominous look that day, as it was overcast. The incredible glacial blue hues of the lake remained strong, though, and it was a perfect moment to capture.”