Calgary man selling handmade replica of Banff Springs Hotel: ‘It was a lot of work!’

Calgary man selling handmade replica of Banff Springs Hotel: ‘It was a lot of work!’
WATCH: It’s a labour of love that’s taken up half of a garage for decades. But now the Calgary man who created a painstaking replica of a Canadian landmark is putting it up for sale. Gil Tucker has the story.

It’s an experience Frank Kaufman never gets tired of: taking visitors into the garage behind his Calgary home and showing them his painstakingly detailed replica of the Banff Springs Hotel.

“It was a lot of work!” Kaufman said, “but surprisingly, it turned out really well.”

He began working on in 1974, taking three years to finish it.

“It got bigger and bigger and bigger!” Kaufman said. “Everything was made by hand.”

READ MORE: Banff Springs Hotel among Canada’s spookiest places on Google Street View

It was part of Kaufman’s dream of creating a miniature village for visitors, which featured dozens of small buildings he’d made, including a clay replica of Calgary’s old city hall.

Story continues below advertisement

“I said, ‘Calgary needs a new tourist attraction,'” Kaufman explained.

Working as a chef in some of the city’s top kitchens, Kaufman honed skills over the years that came in handy as he fashioned his mini buildings.

“As a chef, we did ice sculpture and fat sculpture,” Kaufman said.

He used mostly wood on the Banff Springs replica, finishing it with sand he brought back from a beach in Holland.

“My original cost [of building the replica] was $500,” Kaufman said. “And that did not include the plane fare to Holland to collect the sand in a small little pail.”

READ MORE: What it’s like to have a 3D printed miniature model of yourself made

Unfortunately, his dream of a miniature village never became a reality, and now it’s time to say goodbye to the hotel replica that’s taken up half of his garage for the past four decades.

Story continues below advertisement

“I would love to sell it to somebody that is interested in displaying it,” Kaufman said. “I tried the Banff Springs Hotel twice and they were not interested, so it should be displayed somewhere, somehow, for others to see.”

Kaufman is a bit sad to be parting with it, as is his wife Ursula, but she sees a bright side.

“I lost all the space in the garage for my car and I’ve had to deal with that for 40 years!” she said. “It was hard [trying to squeeze in the car beside it] but I’m proud of my husband.”

Information on the sale can be found on Facebook.

Whoever buys the Banff Springs Hotel replica will need a few helping hands to get it out of the garage.

Kaufman has no idea how much it weighs, but he knows it’s enough to wreck his back a bit trying to lift it.

When he went to the hospital to get it checked out, he decided to have some fun with it.

Story continues below advertisement

Responding to the emergency nurse’s questions, Kaufman replied: “I was trying to lift the Banff Springs Hotel!”