CANMORE — Bud Brewster was a carpenter, a horseman, a golf course builder, a backcountry outfitter, a savvy businessman and a tireless worker.
Bud, who died Friday at the age of 83, was also a fourth-generation Albertan who carried on his family’s legacy of providing warm mountain hospitality to visitors to the Canadian Rockies for more than a century.
“He was a carpenter in a cowboy hat,” said longtime friend Rick Kunelius. “He gave everybody a chance. If you worked, he liked you. Coolest thing about Bud — he never had a desk or a briefcase.”
Bud’s great-grandfather, John, followed the newly completed Canadian Pacific Railway from Ontario to settle in Banff in 1886, with his wife Esebella and four sons joining him two years later.
He soon founded a dairy in Banff and by the end of the century established his homestead in the river valley at the base of Mount Yamnuska, where the Brewster family operates a guest ranch and golf course today.
In 1900, two of John’s sons, already skilled hunters and mountain men by 10 and 12, established Brewster Brothers Outfitting.
Born in 1928, Bud earned his first paycheques cutting wood and trapping animals for fur, embarking on his first pack trip into the mountains with his parents at the age of eight. By the time he was 16 he was running multi-day pack trips for as many as 75 guests with 100 horses at a time into the Rocky Mountain backcountry.
Bud, and his surviving wife of 52 years, Annette, raised three daughters, Janet, Alison and Cori. As soon as they were old enough to lift the buckets, the girls were pitching in, feeding oats to the horses.
Now Bud’s grandchildren too, lend a hand. Janet’s husband, Kevin Stanton, Alison’s husband, Bryan Niehaus and Cori’s partner, Jacqueline Hutchison, all contribute to the family businesses.
Janet’s daughters, Lacey and Bailee, are both award-winning rodeo competitors.
While Bud’s daughters were all encouraged to earn university degrees, all three, alongside Annette, have devoted much or all of their lives to running the family businesses.
Those include Shadow Lake backcountry lodge, Brewster Mountain Lodge in downtown Banff, MountView Barbecue Catering, Brewster Mountain Pack Trains, Lake Louise Stables and the Kananaskis Ranch and Golf Course.
Cori Brewster is a successful Alberta singer-songwriter whose engaging and romantic lyrics capture the mountain places and people deeply rooted in her family story.
Always recognizing an opportunity, in 1950 Bud purchased a 1928-vintage CPR backcountry cabin at Shadow Lake in Banff National Park from his uncle Jim, of Brewster Transport.
Brewster Transport was sold in 1967. It now operates under the name Brewster Travel Canada by Phoenix-based Viad. The company, which operates Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure and is behind the controversial proposed Glacier Discovery Walk, maintains no connection of any kind to the Brewster family.
Eventually gaining permission from Parks Canada in 1990, Bud began building 12 single-room log guest cabins at Shadow Lake, 15 kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway, and accessed only by hiking or cross-country skiing in winter.
“One thing my dad always said to me was you have to go to bed thinking and you have to wake up thinking,” Alison said. “And he didn’t mean about a holiday. At the age of 63, when most people are thinking of retiring, he was starting a brand new business. He didn’t look his age, either, and I couldn’t believe how much enthusiasm he had for the project.”
Then in his 70s Bud, always an avid golfer, began building his own 18-hole golf course at the Kananaskis ranch site, a project that demanded a decade of toil and perseverance. “Even when he couldn’t physically do something, he was still thinking ahead to the next project,” Alison said. “He never quit thinking about all the things that had to be done. He had the most amazing work ethic, and he passed that ethic on to us.”
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Bud was our living legend in the June/July 2011 issue
Source: Calgary Stampede