So jealous! I have some friends who have been there and they say it's stunning. If I can't get to Banff, I hope I can at least see the Canadian Rockies. I've heard they make the Colorado Rockies look like foothills! :)
not to call into question singeaddams verity - the saint elias mountains of the yukon/alaska, certainly put all other mountain ranges in north america in their place - but the canadian rockies are actually pretty tame compared to the colorado ranges of the rockies, at least in terms of elevation. colorado has 58 distinct peaks over 14k feet, where the tallest peak in the canadian rockies is under 13k. gotta stick up for my home state. ;-)
I've been to events at the Royal York, but I've never stayed there. I understand the rooms are quite small by modern hotel standards. But the craftmansip of the place -- handpainted coffered ceilings, for instance -- is incredible.
I've been in the Empress Hotel several times (although these days it's called the Fairmont Empress) though I've never actually been in one of the rooms that guests stay in. I love their chocolate buffet with a passion. I was not as impressed with the high tea as I thought I would be, though.