Canmore is located on the beautiful Bow River just 100 kilometers (66 miles) west of Calgary, Alberta.
The town of Canmore sits at the east entrance to Banff National Park, a World Heritage Site, and just 15 minutes drive to the town of Banff. The incredible beauty of Kananaskis Country, Alberta’s most significant Provincial Mountain Park system, borders us on the south and east. See Recreational Activities for more on this pristine park.
Canmore occupies the montane zone on the lower slopes of the Bow Valley and has unusually mild winter weather due to frequent warm Chinook winds that drift into the valley from the Pacific coast. It is the ideal winter climate for downhill and cross country skiing and the moderate summer weather is perfect for golfing, hiking, fishing and mountain biking, to name just a few of the outdoor pursuits available to residents and visitors.
The setting is awe inspiring with towering mountains acting as guardians over this small town in the river valley. Access is easy with the Calgary International Airport just an hours drive away on the scenic Trans Canada Highway. The Town of Canmore was settled in 1883 during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, thanks to the abundance of high quality steam coal nearby and grew steadily to a population of 450 in 1888. The last coal mine closed in 1979 when the workings were sealed and the land reclaimed. However, the miners, trappers and early explorers were not the first to visit the Bow Valley. Early evidence of campsites and pictographs on nearby canyon walls attest to native occupation of the valley dating back thousands of years. Native tribes from the foothills and plains used the mountain passes to trade with other groups to the west. Interestingly enough, Canmore was part of Banff National Park from 1902 until 1930 and continued as a game reserve until 1956. In the last two decades, Canmore has become home to many people seeking a quieter more relaxed life style. It has also become a destination choice for many visitors to the Canadian Rockies. The present population of Canmore stands at approximately 11,500 full-time residents and 3,700 part-time or recreational homeowners.
Canmore came into worldwide prominence during the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics when we hosted the Nordic ski events at the newly developed Canmore Nordic Centre. This fantastic facility features over 70km of trails winding through forested bench land above the Bow River, trails that in the summer are taken over by hikers and mountain bikers.
The citizens of Canmore are made up of a diverse mix of cultures, age groups and occupations. The common thread is our love of the small town atmosphere, our pristine environment and most of all, the quality of life this brings to our residents and visitors. We are proud of our heritage and our mining history, a record of which can be leisurely viewed at the Canmore Museum and Geosciences Centre. The local arts community is a vibrant one with their work in evidence in the many local galleries and shops. There is fun for everyone here and the summers are packed with festivals and special mountain events.
Wildlife in the Bow Valley abounds, with Elk, Mountain Sheep, Deer, Black Bears, Cougars, Coyotes and many other species making the valley their home. As a significant number of residents and visitors also share this grand natural space, much research, thought and action have gone into making this coexistence a workable reality. Hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat and movement corridors have been set-aside as conservation areas in order to help maintain a healthy ecosystem. The same sense of stewardship is also being applied to preserving the integrity of the Bow River, which flows south from the Bow Glacier, through Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore, and Calgary. The Bow River is one of the premium trout fishing rivers in the country and we want to keep it that way.
Come and see for yourself.
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