A Mountain Life: Guiding with Brewster Sightseeing
The summer of 1975 in Banff was, like so many things in the Canadian Rockies, spectacular.
The small community of 4,000 mountain dwellers was the temporary home of Murray Wilson, driver guide for Brewster Sightseeing. Like most adventurers, Murray didn’t come to Banff planning to stay for good. But this place just has that effect on people. Now, 44 years later, it has become the central story of his life.
A Lifelong Connection
It was Murray’s first summer as a driver guide that forged his bond to the Rockies. After being recruited by a friend and fellow driver, Murray spent his summer days guiding guests through Banff and Jasper national parks. He learned the stories of the Indigenous peoples that have long lived here, and the legends of the later explorers of the mountains. And with that, he was hooked.
“Those folks who did all this exploring… They left important stories to tell,” he says. “I think having a link to the past can address where we’re going in the future.”
Training that Counts
For Murray, the future is about making sure that people can continue to experience the unfiltered wonder of the mountain parks. It’s a responsibility that Murray and the rest of the team at Brewster Sightseeing don’t take lightly.
This message is one that Murray has instilled in the countless driver guides he has trained over his 45-year career. “Over the years, I have had the opportunity to train most of the Brewster Sightseeing drivers,” he says. Always modest, Murray is quick to add, “But with plenty of help—we’re a team here.”
The team of drivers jokes about trying to impress the trainer they admire so much—Murray is a well of information about the people and places of the Rockies. But in truth, training is no laughing matter.
“We have an important responsibility,” Murray says. “It’s about operating the equipment, but also about just being available.” Whether it’s to lend an arm or to answer a question about the flora and fauna of the Rockies, Murray makes sure that new driver guides are ready to provide the full experience.
It’s the reason why Brewster Sightseeing provides such extensive paid training, including free Class 2 Licensing and government-certified MELT (Mandatory Entry-Level Training).
Characters of the Canadian Rockies
During more than four decades of training and drivers, Murray has seen first-hand the depth of connection that driver guides have to this place and to each other. The spirit of community within the Brewster Sightseeing team is powerful.
“The bonds and friendships that drivers make last a lifetime,” Murray says. “I still keep in touch with people from 40 years ago.”
This team itself is about as diverse as they come. With drivers ranging in age from their early 20s to their 70s, each has been drawn to the mountains for a different reason. Some are locals, following in the footsteps of a parent who was a past driver guide. Others have come from as far as Morocco and Albania to make this place home. They are connected by their shared passion for the fascinating characters, wildlife and rich history of the Canadian Rockies.
All signs point to this summer being as spectacular as 1975. Join Murray and the Brewster Sightseeing team on a new adventure this summer. We're hiring!