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North America > Canada > Prairies > Alberta > Alberta Rockies > Canmore

Canmore

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Canmore is a town of 14,000 people (2016) in the Alberta Rockies of Canada.

Understand[edit]

Being only 80 km from Calgary, at the southeast entrance to Banff National Park and the northwest edge of Kananaskis Country, Canmore is a popular starting point for exploring the Canadian Rockies.

History[edit]

Canmore was named in 1884 by Canadian Pacific Railway director Donald A. Smith. It was named after Malcolm III of Scotland who was also nicknamed Canmore. Canmore is Gaelic for "Big Head".

In 1886, Queen Victoria granted a coal mining charter to the town, and the No. 1 mine was opened in 1887.

By the 1890s, a North-West Mounted Police barrack was built on Main Street, but it was vacated in 1927. The building was restored in 1989 and it is under the care of the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre.

The coal mining industry in Canmore boomed well into the 20th century. In 1965, with a population of 2,000, Canmore was incorporated as a town. By the 1970s the market for coal was diminished, and in 1979 Canmore Mines Ltd. ceased operations. As a result of safety and reclamation policies instigated by the province of Alberta, all but a few mining structures were demolished in the following year; only the lamp house and a few mine entrances remain today.

Canmore's economic future seemed dismal until the announcement in the early 1980s that Calgary would be hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, and that Canmore would play host to the Nordic events. This resulted in an increase in tourism, and Canmore began to develop into the recreational tourist destination it is today.

Get in[edit]

Map of Canmore

From Calgary, take the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1) West. From British Columbia, take Highway 1 East from Golden until you reach the East gate of Banff National Park. There are 3 exits into Canmore, the most popular being the second exit (when going to the town centre).

There are a number of airport shuttle providers from the Calgary Airport to Canmore it is about 1½ hr from the airport.

Get around[edit]

The Canmore town centre is small, and you can walk just about anywhere you want to go. Taxis within the city limits will range in price from around $5. Walking is quick, easy and allows for random adventures down to the Bow River, through the forests, up the mountains. All of Canmore's activities are within a 10-20 minute walking distance. Biking around town is popular too. There are several shops to rent bicycles if you are interested in either mountain biking, quick travel downtown, or trail riding to many locations. Canmore is filled with biking and hiking trails that take you through forested areas, along streams and waterfalls, and lead to incredible lake and mountain views.

See[edit]

View from Ha Ling Peak above Canmore

The Canadian Rockies offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. It may seem a daunting task to try to see it all in a limited amount of time.

Fortunately there is a host of companies available that eliminate the hassle, giving you the opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the view. The friendly guides offer fun and informative sightseeing tours in and around the Banff area in comfortable vehicles.

Do[edit]

Grassi Lakes just above Canmore

Canmore is a Rocky Mountain playground. Golf, hike, dine, party, ski, snowshoe, dog sled, spa, a tour of main street, etc. — it's all here.

Buy[edit]

Enjoy strolling alongside locals and world-travellers as you discover a cosmopolitan collection of galleries, boutiques and cafés. Shops range from unique furniture, florists, gifts, to independently-owned establishments.

Eat[edit]

Canmore offers a wide variety of dining options within easy walking distance of each other. Main Street (8th Street) is the heart of downtown and has upscale dining rooms, corner cafes, brew pubs and casual bistros. Being small does have its advantages. You could restaurant hop and try appetizers in one, entrees in another, and finish the evening with dessert and after dinner drinks at a third.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Banff Boundary Lodge, 1000 Harvie Heights Road, Harvie Heights, toll-free: +1-877-678-9555. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Just outside the Banff Park Gates, it offers 1 and 2 bedroom chalets with gas fireplaces. $84-239.
  • 5 The Georgetown Inn, 1101 Bow Valley Trail, +1 403-678-3439. Cozy hotel with extremely helpful staff. The fireplaces in the rooms are a great touch! The only downside is that it can be difficult to find the place in the dark as the sign is on the smaller side, on the ground, and not lit very well.
  • 6 Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge, 1711 Bow Valley Trail, +1 403-678-5445, toll-free: +1-800-665-6111. Right next to "downtown" so you can leave your vehicle for the entire duration of the stay if you wish - everything is within the walking distance (for Nordic Centre you'd have to walk a bit longer though).

Splurge[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Canmore
KamloopsBanff (in Banff NP) ←  W Alberta Highway 1.svg E  CalgaryRegina
END  W Alberta Highway 1A.svg E  CochraneCalgary


This city travel guide to Canmore is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.