As a native Calgarian, trips to Banff is something that happens pretty much every summer. After going there so many times, you kind of know what’s there and only a few things change from year to year. Mary’s Popcorn Shop is one of those changes for 2015, popping up on the corner of Banff Avenue and Caribou Street. The small boutique has good foot traffic, with lots of people wandering in after picking up the fragrant scent of popcorn from outside.
I appreciate the feel that Mary’s gives off, sort of like a modernized classic that has been around for decades, although in actuality it’s only existed for a few months. Keeping it simple, Mary’s offers 7 different flavours of popcorn for purchase:
- Original Salt & Butter
- Classic Caramel
- Cheddar Cheese Corn
- Chicago Style (Mix of Caramel & Cheddar)
- Sea Salt Caramel Almond
- White Cheddar
- 100% Pure Maple Syrup Pecan
I ended up grabbing a small bag of Chicago Style ($5.50), while my friend got a medium Maple Pecan ($9.75). As you may have noticed, these prices are quite steep and comparable to what the movie theatres charge. The small is good for 1-3 people to snack on while walking around, and the medium is more appropriate for 3-6 people. I thought that the popcorn was good, but not better than the huge bag of G. H. Cretors Chicago Mix sold at Costco; to be fair though, GH Cretors is really good. My current favourite is still Sugar Creek Kettle Corn, which I foresee holding onto that spot for a long time. (Challengers are always welcome, however!)
For value, it depends on how you look at the purchase. You’re definitely paying the tourist premium on popcorn, a relatively simple and theoretically low cost snack. On the other hand however, it’s easily shareable among a group of friends, it’s family/kid friendly, and works out to be $2 per person for something to munch on while walking down the strip, which isn’t too bad. Like many things in Banff, this is a situation where you’re paying for convenience and novelty more than anything else, but that’s not unexpected.