Canmore is best known for the Canmore Nordic Centre, the host of the cross country and biathlon events in the 1988 Winter Olympic games. It is also known for the cheapest gas between Calgary and Vancouver (no BC sales taxes, no National Parks rents) and lots of hotel rooms and restaurants close to the /Transportation-Canada Highway and close to Banff's natural
beauty. Canmore has not just lots of hotel rooms, but many fine restaurants, and lots to see and do in and around the town site.
Canmore was named in 1884 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, likely at the suggestion of Lord Strathcona, in honour of Malcome III Canmore who was king of Scotland from 1057 to 1093. The community officially became a town in 1955.
There are major attractions, golf courses, and resorts in the area at Silver Tip, Three Sisters and Spray Lakes. Building restrictions in Banff limiting the development of residences, commercial offices and stores, and accommodations has caused Canmore to boom recently, though it recently imposed its own restrictions to maintain the town's un-commercial charm.
Many people working in Banff actually live in Canmore and commute into town, not only for the lower cost of living but also for its quiet, relaxed, un-touristy feel. The stores and services on Main Street (8th Street) are focused on servicing the town's residents not visitors. The town has a very liveable feel to it. There is now even a commuter shuttle bus between the two communities.
Canmore is nestled on the eastern edge of the Rockies, on the northern end of the Kananaskis range, and has its own micro-climate. It is in the rain shadow of the Rockies and on the start of the Chinook Belt. It receives 47 cm of rain (19 inches) per year, and receives very little snow accumulation.
Feature films that need wilderness are regularly being shot around Canmore. Recently, "The Edge", starring Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, and Elle Macpherson --as well as Bart the Bear. You'll see the star's autographed posters in the bars and restaurants around town that they frequented (except the bear's).
Businesses in Canmore
Canmore is served by the Canadian Rockies School District which runs two elementary schools (Elizabeth Rummel and Lawrence Grassi) and one secondary school
The town centre is nestled between Policeman's Creek and the Bow River, with
many scenic pathways running alongside the waterways. The
streets in this area are numbered, and 8th Street is also Main Street. Main
Street is the heart of the community, with many stores, services, and
restaurants to service the local community.
On the east bank of the Bow River, nestled between it and the /Transportation-Canada Highway is
Motel Alley. Most of the town's hospitality industry is centered on both sides
of Bow Valley Trail (Highway 1A). This area also has a number of restaurants,
and service stations.
For serious shopping, for the chain stores typically found in malls, the locals head to Calgary.
Spray Lake and Three Sisters, and the east slope toward Silver Tip.
Canmore now has three golf courses for those who wish to enjoy nature at a leisurely pace. Here are some other attractions in and around Canmore:
To the north end of town is beautiful Lion's Park, and the Canmore Golf & Curling Club and the town's Recreation Centre.
On the northeast side of Highway 1 are a number of
residential communities including Elk Run, Cougar Creek, Benchlands, and SilverTip.
To the extreme northwest of Canmore, just before the Park Gates is the community
of Harvie Heights, with a residential neighbourhood on the hill overlooking the
better-known strip of motels.
Homes in Canmore are expensive, primarily becuase all those who "want to live in Banff" have no choice but to live in Canmore, so even those wishing to live & work in Canmore pay top dollar as if they were buying "recreational property". Housing in Canmore can start at $375,000, with some of the larger houses in SilverTip running $1 million or more.