Widmer´s Family

Banff Local, outdoor enthusiast

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Words by

Lorraine Widmer-Carson

Photography by

Lindsey Hill

The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is more than just a 9 days festival, it’s a mountain culture celebration, bringing films and stories of adventure and exploration from around the world.  The Festival also a huge impact on locals in Banff inspiring thousands of locals of different ages and different outdoor passions to get out there everyday and be apart of this mountain culture.  

 We caught up with Banff local Widmer’s family, Erwin and Lorraine. Since 1979, Erwin Widmer has been owner & host extraordinaire at Ticino restaurant. Born and raised in Zürich Switzerland, he immigrated to Canada in 1967. He and his wife chose to settle in Banff and raise their four children. Ticino is one the oldest restaurants in Banff and one of the few that are locally-owned and family run. 

Why did Erwin move to Banff from Switzerland in 1967?

I originally came to Canada to learn English and then planned to go back to my job in banking –  at the UBS Bank in Zuerich. That took a turn in 1975 when I decided to settle in Banff rather than settle in Switzerland. I met Lorrie at Ticino in 1976 where we were both working for the season. That summer started our life as a couple. I was able to become owner/partner of Ticino Swiss Italian Restaurant in 1979 and we got married in 1980. Together we have raised our four children here and I am so glad that I made those decisions forty years ago. 

Lorraine, what made you decide to move from Ontario to the mountains?  

Basically, I fell in love with Erwin during my first summer season in Banff. I also fell in love with the spirit of adventuring in this beautiful place. As a young adult, I knew that I did not want to live in a city or follow a conventional career path. Rather than return to university and pursue a Master’s degree, I decided to pursue an adventure in life, by living and learning alongside Erwin. I was at a cross-roads when I chose what I thought was ‘the path less travelled’. I was a little bit wrong because choosing to live in Banff with Erwin has meant I chose a path full of treks and travels, hikes, biking and ski tours. Lucky me! 

We know Ticino has been a sponsor of the Banff Film Festival in the past, why is it important for you to support the mountain culture and community?  

Supporting the Banff Film Festival is part of our restaurant’s tradition. I believe in loyal relationships and I believe that the Banff Film Festival, specifically and all events that take place at The Banff Centre are a tremendous asset for our town. 


Together we have raised our four children here and I am so glad that I made those decisions forty years ago. ”

I decided to live in Banff because of its small-town charm and great location. Choosing to live in a town inside a national park, that was a summer and winter destination meant I could live in the mountains and go skiing, or hiking and raise a family. ”

What do you think has changed the most in Banff in 50 years?

Yes, there have been changes. I think the increase in the number of visitors and the volume of traffic are my biggest concerns – and of course they impact our lives – financially, and environmentally. I decided to live in Banff because of its small-town charm and great locationChoosing to live in a town inside a national park, that was a summer and winter destination meant I could live in the mountains and go skiing, or hiking and raise a family. 

At 78 years old, Erwin is still skiing, climbing with his children, hiking with his grandchildren, sailing, skiing.. What is the secret for you to keep going?

I love good food that is carefully prepared and of good quality. I have worked in the restaurant industry for over 40 years – but I always insist on taking my time to sit down to eat.

I refuse to eat on the run, or out of my hand. I eat very slowly, and do not over-eat. I start my day with freshly squeezed orange juice and I also believe in the importance of sleep – at least 8 hours a night and a nap mid-afternoon is often a good idea. I try not to worry – especially about money.  

I get energy from my wife and my family – including my two grand daughters who are three and five years old. I still love skiing, sailing and being active in the outdoors – especially with my family. 


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