Founded in 1933 by the University of Alberta, Department of Extension, with a grant from the U.S.-based Carnegie Foundation, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity began with a single course in drama.
Its success generated additional arts programs and the Centre became known as The Banff School of Fine Arts in 1935.
While arts programming continued to grow and flourish, conferences were introduced in 1953 and management programs in 1954.
In 1970, to acknowledge the broader educational role of the school as well as its move toward a centre of experiment and innovation, it was renamed The Banff Centre for Continuing Education (The Banff Centre for short).
In 1978, Alberta government legislation granted The Banff Centre full autonomy as a non-degree granting educational institution under the governance of an appointed board.
In the mid-1990s, The Banff Centre, along with most public institutions in Alberta, sustained cuts to its operating grant.
The Centre responded in an entrepreneurial way and launched a successful capital campaign (The Creative Edge) to raise funds for state-of-the-art revenue generating conference facilities, as well as a new Music & Sound complex.
The new facilities opened in 1996, the same year the Centre's fourth division, Mountain Culture programming, was created. A few years later, in 1999, The Banff Centre was recognized as a National Training Institute by the federal government and was awarded $3 million over three years for artistic training programs.
In 2016, The Banff Centre changed its name to Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
Today, the Centre continues its role as a catalyst for creativity. The global leader in arts, culture, and creativity, the Banff Centre is a leader in the development and promotion of creative work in the arts, sciences, business, and the environment.