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Canmore Alberta’s Rockies

Canmore is between Calgary and Banff. It took about 1½ hours to get the 50 miles (81 kilometres) from Calgary International Airport.

Canmore is only minutes away from Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country and Bow Valley Provincial Parks where 5 famous ski resorts and 6 breath-taking golf courses are located.

Canmore is situated in the Bow Valley within Alberta’s Rockies, it is an old mining town; because of this, it went relatively unnoticed for a great number of years, unlike Banff.

However, Canmore is more than a ski resort base. It offers over 70 kilometres of trails, a Nordic centre, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and scrambling provide an endless assortment of outdoor activities.

To enhance your experience of the Rockies, visit the Rafter 6 ranch resort (currently up for sale), this ranch has a colossal variety of activities and the location is second to none. While there I was lucky enough to view the white buffalo, a herd of elk and some precious wolves. Being an ardent photographer, I was lucky enough to get some great photographs of the white buffalo, elk, wolves, and landscape in and around Canmore and Banff National Park.

Canmore's town’s elevation is 4296 feet (1309 metres) with the surrounding summits extending to heights of 9,633 feet (2936 metres). The Bow River flows through the town linking it to a network of wildlife corridors and trails. An abundance of local wildlife, wildflowers and mountains provide boundless opportunities to experience nature and take photographs of the wildlife, flora and The Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters are a trio of peaks near Canmore. They are known individually as Big Sister (Faith), Middle Sister (Charity), and Little Sister (Hope).

Albert Rogers, a nephew of Major Rogers who discovered ‘Rogers Pass’ in the Selkirk Mountains named the three peaks in 1883.

Albert Rogers recollected, ‘there had been a heavy snowstorm in the night, and when we got up in the morning and looked out of the tent, I noticed the three peaks had a heavy veil of snow on the north side, and I said to the boys, ‘Look at the Three Nuns.’ They were called the Three Nuns for quite a while but later were called the ‘Three Sisters’ and first appeared on George Dawson’s map in 1886.

Heights:

  • Big Sister (Faith) – 9,632 feet, (2,936 metres)

  • Middle Sister (Charity) - 9,084 feet, (2,769 metres)

  • Little Sister (Hope) - 8,840 feet, (2,694 metres)

History


In 1884 Donald Smith the director of the Canadian Pacific Railway officially named Canmore.

In 1886, Queen Victoria granted a coal mining charter to the town, and the first mine was opened a year later.

In the 1890s a North-West Mounted Police barrack had been built on Main Street, but it was vacated in 1927 and was restored in 1989. It still remains in the main street.

By the 1970s the market for coal had diminished and in 1979 the Canmore mines ceased operations. Unfortunately because of safety and reclamation policies initiated by the province of Alberta, most of the mining structures were demolished and today, only the lamphouse and a few mine entrances remain.

Canmore’s commercial future seemed gloomy until the announcement in the 1980s that Calgary would be hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics. This opened the door for Canmore, as it would host the Nordic events, resulting in increased tourism.