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Canmore, Alberta

Town of Canmore
Flag of Canmore
Official logo of Canmore
Canmore is located in Alberta
Location of Canmore in Alberta
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Alberta's Rockies
Census division 15
Municipal district M.D. of Bighorn No. 8
Incorporated 1965
 • Mayor John Borrowman
 • Governing body
 • CAO Lisa deSoto
 • MP Blake Richards (Conservative)
 • MLA Cam Westhead (NDP)
Area (2011)[2]
 • Total 68.90 km2 (26.60 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,480 m (4,860 ft)
Lowest elevation 1,375 m (4,511 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 12,288
 • Density 178.4/km2 (462/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC−7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC−6)
Postal code span T1W
Area code(s) +1-403, +1-587
Highways Trans-Canada Highway
Waterways Bow River
Website Official website

Canmore is a town in Alberta, Canada, located approximately 81 kilometres (50 mi) west of the City of Calgary near the southeast boundary of Banff National Park. It is located in the Bow Valley within Alberta's Rockies. The town shares a border with Kananaskis Country to the west and south and the Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8 to the north and east. With a population of 12,288 in 2011, Canmore is the ninth-largest town in Alberta.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
  • Arts and culture 5
    • Festivals and annual events 5.1
  • Attractions 6
    • Elevation Place 6.1
    • Canmore Nordic Centre 6.2
  • Sports 7
  • Media 8
  • Housing 9
  • Infrastructure 10
    • Health care 10.1
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Canmore was officially named in 1884 by Canadian Pacific Railway director Donald A. Smith (later 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal). It was named after Malcolm III of Scotland who was also nicknamed Canmore.[3] Canmore is Gaelic for "Big Head"[4]

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 had been instated 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.[5]

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.

The Canmore Hotel sits on the main street as it has for over 100 years. The building has changed very little in this time making it one of the most distinguishable landmarks in Canmore. The hotel celebrated its 120th anniversary in October 2010.[5]

As a result of the 2013 Alberta floods, the city has declared a state of local emergency which started June 20.


Three Sisters Rocky Mountains viewed from Canmore, Alberta

Concerns over Canmore's urban growth adjacent to provincial and national park land has led to many efforts to place a limit on future development. The town is expected to reach its maximum "build out" following the completion of the SilverTip and Three Sisters Mountain Village developments sometime around 2015–2020.[6]

Bisected by the Trans-Canada Highway, located on the Canadian Pacific Railway and run through by the Bow River, Canmore is ideally situated on a number of major transportation routes, which has influenced its tourism-based economy and historical mining industry.

Much of the Canmore area has been designated a wildlife corridor. This corridor allows animals such as bears, cougar, wolves, and elk to move between habitat patches, where they can find food, escape predators, breed, give birth, and establish territories.

Despite its modest population and environmentally friendly image, Canmore is highly sprawled and segmented (due to wildlife corridors, highways, the railway, and the Bow River) and takes over one and a half hours to traverse by foot. The pedestrian-friendly town centre surrounds 8th Street, or "Main Street" (as it is known colloquially), which was originally a residential road with some of the oldest architecture in the town; now, however, it is lined with small shops, restaurants, and galleries. Much of the recent development is taking place in Three Sisters Mountain Village, SilverTip Resort, and around the town centre.

A series of hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, and paved trails traverse the Canmore area. Major trail systems are located on the Benchlands of Mount Lady Macdonald, at the Canmore Nordic Centre, and along the north slope of Mount Lawrence Grassi. Many of these trails, and others around the community, are located within Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park and Kananaskis Country. Some of these, including the Montaine Traverse Trail and the Highline Trail, have been improved by the Town of Canmore, the Government of Alberta, the Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8, and various stakeholders (Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance, the B.V. Riding Association, and local hiking groups) in order to balance recreational opportunities with environmental sustainability. Much of the upgrading has been accomplished by volunteers organized by the Trail Care Program of The Friends of Kananaskis Country.

Mountains located adjacent to and visible from the townsite are:


Canmore's climate is relatively mild compared to some other regions of Alberta. It does not have an Environment Canada weather observation station, but the nearby town of Banff has an average high of −3.1 °C (26 °F) in January,[7] with relatively low humidity. Summers are short with daytime temperatures ranging from 18 °C (64 °F) to 22 °C (72 °F).


The population of the Town of Canmore according to its 2014 municipal census is 13,077, a 6% change from its 2011 municipal census population of 12,317.[21] At its current population, Canmore is one of the largest towns in the province and is eligible for city status. According to Alberta's Municipal Government Act, a town is eligible for city status when it reaches 10,000 residents.[22]

In the 2011 Census, the Town of Canmore had a population of 12,288 living in 5,176 of its 7,973 total dwellings, a 2.1% change from its 2006 population of 12,039. With a land area of 68.9 km2 (26.6 sq mi), it had a population density of 178.3/km2 (461.9/sq mi) in 2011.[2] In its own 2011 municipal census however, the town counted a population of 12,317,[23][24] a 0.7% increase over its 2009 municipal census population of 12,226.[25] The 2011 municipal census also reported a non-permanent population of 5,982 for a combined population of 18,299.[24]

In 2006, Canmore had a population of 12,039 living in 6,575 dwellings, an 11.6% increase from 10,792 in 2001. Its population density in 2006 was 174.7/km2 (452/sq mi).[26]

About 1.5% of residents identified themselves as aboriginal at the time of the 2006 census.[27]

About 85% of residents identified English as their first language. Almost 5% of the population identified French as their first language, while 3.5% identified German, more than 2% identified Japanese, and just over 0.5% identified Dutch as their first language learned. The next most common languages were Korean, Polish and Czech at 0.4% each, followed by Ukrainian, Russian and Spanish at about 0.3% each.[28]


Mainstreet Canmore

The Town of Canmore originally depended on the coal mines. In the 1980s, the Olympics revived the economy and set the grounds for a high-end bedroom and get-away community which would depend on construction and tourism income.

Arts and culture

Canmore has one museum, the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre (CMAGS) located along 7th Ave in the Canmore Civic Centre. In 2006, the Museum entered a Fee for Service agreement with the Town of Canmore to "act as the custodian of the Town's heritage, maintaining and preserving its artifacts, archives and to built heritage and to interpret this heritage through exhibitions and interpretive programming for residents and visitors on a year-round basis".

Many feature films have been shot in the Canmore area, including Royal Canadian Air Farce with his monosyllabic character "Mike from Canmore".

Festivals and annual events

  • The award-winning food festival, Canmore Uncorked,[29] is hosted every April for 13 days of special set-price menus from local restaurants, incredible culinary events, cooking courses, and a long table dinner.
  • The 24 Hours of Adrenalin[30] is a mountain bike race series held at a variety of locations across North America, with annual stops in Canmore. The race consists of hundreds of solo or team riders competing to ride as many laps as possible within 24 hours, on a challenging 16 km circuit at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
  • The Canmore Winter Carnival is a celebration of the season and a popular community tradition for more than 20 years with events including ice carving, snow sculpting, dog sled racing, the Bonhomme Carnival, and more![31]
  • The Rocky Mountain Ski Challenge[32] is an annual ski marathon hosted by the Canmore Nordic Ski Club.
  • The Rock and Fossil Show is co-presented by CMAGS and APEGGA.[33] Anyone can bring their rock or fossil find to have it evaluated by a professional geologist. The event is usually held in October.
  • The Canmore Miners' Day Reunion takes place each year on the dates closest to the anniversary date of July 13 commemorating the closing of the Canmore coal mines in 1979. The occasion is marked with an evening reunion reception on the Friday, and on the Saturday a parade, a free lunch for the public and a special picnic for ex-miners and their families.
  • The Canmore Folk Music Festival[34] is held annually on the Heritage Day long weekend in August at Centennial Park on the Stan Rogers Stage. The festival has played host to the likes of Ry Cooder, Stan Rogers, Arlo Guthrie, The Arrogant Worms, The Paperboys, The Rankin Family, Moxy Früvous, Oscar Lopez and many other notable artists. The Canmore Folk Music Festival is the longest running music festival in Alberta, and in 2007 celebrated its 30th year.
  • The Canmore Highland Games[35] are presented annually by the Three Sisters Scottish Society on the September long weekend. They are in their 17th year. The games host a ceilidh, heavy lifting competitions, piping and drumming, and highland dance events.
  • Mozart on the Mountain[36] is an outdoor concert presented annually by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • The annual Festival of Eagles[37] is a celebration of the golden eagle autumn migration over Canmore and the Bow Valley. The weekend celebration, currently in its 13th year, includes guided hikes, bird walks, interpretive displays, theatrical performances and guest speakers. Spotting scopes are set up at Canmore Collegiate High School.
  • The Vic Lewis International Band Festival[38] is held every November. It is in its 11th year. The festival hosts up to thirty-two concert bands, wind ensembles and jazz bands from across Alberta who play for some of the most well-known band directors in North America. Previous directors have included Tim Salzman, Paul Read, Gillian Mackay, and Tommy Banks. More than 800 students in junior high and high school bands perform for adjudicators, participate in workshops, listen to faculty recitals and give public performances during the two days and two nights of the festival. The festival takes place at Canmore Collegiate High School and the Canmore Recreation Centre with evening gala performances at the Oh Canada, Eh?! Theatre.
  • The annual Canmore Children's Festival[39] is a two-day event providing an array of children's entertainment, including acrobats, magicians, jugglers, music, theatre, storytelling, crafts, stilt-walking, dancing, face painting, and clowns.
  • The Canmore ArtsPeak Arts Festival[40] and the Canmore Winter Carnival[41] give participants the opportunity to discover local venues such as the Communitea Cafe featuring live music and film screenings, including the work of local artists and cinematographers.[42]


Elevation Place

View of Elevation Place from Railway Avenue

Elevation Place opened in April of 2013[43] as Canmore's new recreation facility. Construction of the facility began in 2012 to replace the Canmore Recreation Centre (the community's old facility). The facility offers an 8-lane 25m lap pool, a world class climbing wall developed by Walltopia, two cardio rooms, a strength room, and a host of fitness programs. Elevation Place also houses the community's library and a local art gallery.

Canmore Nordic Centre

View across the Valley taken from The Nordic Centre

The Canmore Nordic Centre was originally constructed for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. Cross-country skiing, biathlon, Nordic combined, and blind cross-country skiing events were held here. The Canmore Nordic Centre provides world-class trails for use by cross-country skiers, mountain bikers, unicyclists, trail runners, roller skiers, and hikers. It also has disc golf courses, and orienteering. It has provincial park status and is administered by Alberta Development. The centre was recently re-developed for the 2005 Cross-country World Cup and future international events. The Nordic Centre hosts national training camps for Canada's biathlon and cross-country ski teams, in addition to providing winter and summer recreational facilities to the general public. It has some 60 kilometres (37 mi) of world-class cross-country and biathlon trail systems designed to meet international Nordic competitive standards. The trails are groomed and trackset to accommodate both classic and skating techniques on the same trail. A 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) track is illuminated for night skiing.

The Day Lodge at the Canmore Nordic Centre offers services such as a cafeteria, meeting rooms, maps and information, day lockers, showers, washrooms, equipment rentals, and lessons. During the summer months the Centre converts to include mountain biking facilities and plays host to several national and international mountain bike events annually. The Nordic Centre also operates an 18 "hole" disc golf course during the summer months.


Canmore is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Climbing is popular with traditional, sport and multi-pitch climbs throughout the Bow Valley, and the area is a world destination for ice climbing. Kayakers and canoeists can enjoy guided trips with one of the many local outfitters, or independently navigate the surrounding rivers and lakes. Caving enthusiasts will enjoy the extensive Rat's Nest Cave. Mountain bikers will enjoy the huge trail network in the Canmore area and can check[44] for updated trail reports.

Trails at the Nordic Centre are great for unicycling, there is also a bike skills park to unicycle in.

The local Alberta Junior Hockey League team is the Canmore Eagles. In 2001, Canmore resident and Eagles goalie "Double Blocker" Dan Blackburn, was drafted into the National Hockey League to play for the New York Rangers. The local Bantam hockey team is the Canmore IceCats. The hockey movie Mystery, Alaska (1999) was filmed in Canmore.

Canmore is the official home to the Canadian National Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon teams. This, combined with the Canmore Nordic Centre has resulted in the town becoming a magnet for aspiring athletes in both sports. Full and part-time athletes can be seen training around town and in the local area all year around.

On February 22, 2006, Canmore local Chandra Crawford won the gold medal in the women's cross-country 1.1-kilometre sprint at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Beckie Scott, gold medalist in the women's cross country skiing pursuit race in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah also makes her home in Canmore.

The Canmore Nordic Centre is a destination for many large sporting events. During the summer season, mountain bike races (including the World 24 Hour championships in 2009 and the Canadian National Championships in 2010) are held there. During the winter season, the facility sees several cross country ski races, ranging from local events to FIS World Cup (2005, 2008, 2009, 2012).

Canmore United is the highly popular and successful local soccer team, participating in the summer Bow Valley Soccer League, as well as tournaments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The Canmore Youth Skate Park was built in the summer of 2009.

Canmore and nearby Banff is hosting the 2014 Alberta Winter Games.


The primary newspapers for the town are the Canmore Leader and the Rocky Mountain Outlook although the Banff Crag & Canyon also circulates widely. The only radio station operating out of Canmore is CHMN-FM, an adult contemporary station run by Rogers Media. Former Much Music VJ, Bradford How was employed by the Rogers owned, Mountain FM (broadcast at 106.5 FM) before he won the MuchMusic VJ Search competition in 2000.


Many of the new developments, fractional projects, and vacation suites were built with sustainable development in mind, and in 2006 the Three Sisters Mountain Village development was recipient of an international award for being the best sustainable development in North America. Unfortunately, new owners of the 'future land assets' of this project defaulted on their financial commitments following the world economic crisis, putting the future development lands into receivership in the spring of 2009, but this does not affect current developments that are ongoing within the project and long term development will eventually continue under new ownership. In early 2010, several projects are beginning to show signs of life, and real estate pricing has begun to recover.

As of June 2014 Canmore has the lowest vacancy rate in Canada for rental properties according to a CMHC Spring report.[45] This in turn is having an effect on the housing market and pushing prices up. Along with the uptick in the oil industry and second home buyers coming back into the market from Calgary, the housing market is showing signs of not only recovering but becoming very strong as inventory levels are at a 6 year low.

Within town, there are also some buildings using geothermal energy, and the town's new Municipal Services Building is the first building in Alberta to achieve LEED Silver certification status.

However, due to the local landscape being very complex, not everyone can install solar or wind energy devices on their property. Bylaws are also very strict and "aesthetic alterations" are not widely accepted.

Canmore is a very difficult place to find affordable housing, and pet owners or families may have difficulty arranging accommodation. To alleviate the housing crunch, Canmore has pursued several affordable housing projects. In 2000, the Town of Canmore established the Canmore Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) to provide housing solutions for a healthy and balanced community. CCHC administers a Perpetually Affordable Housing (PAH) Program consisting of 41 ownership and 60 rental housing units at below-market purchase prices and rental rates. Mountain Haven Co-operative Homes Ltd. administers its own PAH development that provides 44 equity and non-equity (lease to own) units.

The average house value in Canmore is $522,646.


Health care

Health care is provided at the Canmore General Hospital.[46]

See also


  1. ^ "Municipal Officials Search".  
  2. ^ a b c d "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  3. ^ Appleby, Edna Hill (1975). Canmore: the story of an era. Calgary: D.W. Friesen. p. 26. 
  4. ^ Burton, vol. 1, p. 350, states: "Malcolm the son of Duncan is known as Malcolm III., but still better perhaps by his characteristic name of Canmore, said to come from the Celtic 'Cenn Mór', meaning 'great head'".
  5. ^ a b "Canmore's History". Tourism Canmore Kananaskis. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Three Sisters Mountain Village
  7. ^ Environment Canada
  8. ^ "Table I: Area and Population of Canada by Provinces, Districts and Subdistricts in 1911 and Population in 1901". Census of Canada, 1911. Volume I. Ottawa:  
  9. ^ Ninth Census of Canada, 1951. SP-7, Population: Unincorporated villages and hamlets.  
  10. ^ "Table 6: Population by sex, for census subdivisions, 1956 and 1951". Census of Canada, 1956. Population, Counties and Subdivisions. Ottawa:  
  11. ^ "Table 6: Population by census subdivisions, 1901–1961". 1961 Census of Canada. Series 1.1: Historical, 1901–1961. Volume I: Population. Ottawa:  
  12. ^ "Population by specified age groups and sex, for census subdivisions, 1966". Census of Canada, 1966. Population, Specified Age Groups and Sex for Counties and Census Subdivisions, 1966. Ottawa:  
  13. ^ "Table 2: Population of Census Subdivisions, 1921–1971". 1971 Census of Canada. Volume I: Population, Census Subdivisions (Historical). Ottawa:  
  14. ^ "Table 3: Population for census divisions and subdivisions, 1971 and 1976". 1976 Census of Canada. Census Divisions and Subdivisions, Western Provinces and the Territories. Volume I: Population, Geographic Distributions. Ottawa:  
  15. ^ "Table 4: Population and Total Occupied Dwellings, for Census Divisions and Subdivisions, 1976 and 1981". 1981 Census of Canada. Volume II: Provincial series, Population, Geographic distributions (Alberta). Ottawa:  
  16. ^ "Table 2: Census Divisions and Subdivisions – Population and Occupied Private Dwellings, 1981 and 1986". Census Canada 1986. Population and Dwelling Counts – Provinces and Territories (Alberta). Ottawa:  
  17. ^ "Table 2: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions, 1986 and 1991 – 100% Data". 91 Census. Population and Dwelling Counts – Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions. Ottawa:  
  18. ^ "Table 10: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions, Census Subdivisions (Municipalities) and Designated Places, 1991 and 1996 Censuses – 100% Data". 96 Census. A National Overview – Population and Dwelling Counts. Ottawa:  
  19. ^ "Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Divisions, 2001 and 1996 Censuses - 100% Data (Alberta)".  
  20. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data (Alberta)".  
  21. ^ "Agenda: Committee of the Whole (Item D–3: 2014 Municipal Census Results Briefing)" (PDF). Town of Canmore. September 9, 2014. pp. 122–124. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Municipal Government Act". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  23. ^ "2011 Municipal Affairs Population List" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  24. ^ a b "2011 Canmore Census". Town of Canmore. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  25. ^ "Alberta 2010 Official Population List" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  26. ^ "Canada 2006 Census: Canmore - Community Profile". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  27. ^ "Canmore". Aboriginal Identity (8), Sex (3) and Age Groups (12) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  28. ^ "Canmore". Detailed Mother Tongue (186), Knowledge of Official Languages (5), Age Groups (17A) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2001 and 2006 Censuses - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  29. ^ Canmore Uncorked
  30. ^ 24 Hours of Adrenalin
  31. ^ Canmore Winter Carnival
  32. ^ Rocky Mountain Ski Challenge
  33. ^ APEGGA
  34. ^ Canmore Folk Music Festival
  35. ^ Canmore Highland Games
  36. ^ Mozart on the Mountain
  37. ^ Festival of Eagles
  38. ^ Vic Lewis International Band Festival
  39. ^ Canmore Children's Festival
  40. ^ [2] is held in June and celebrates Canmore's artistic spirit by featuring performing artists, artists and artisans, an art walk, a literary festival, film screenings, and street performers.
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Elevation Place Opens". Mountain FM. Retrieved 2015-08-22
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Canmore renters face lowest vacancy rate in Canada".  
  46. ^

External links

  • Official website

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