History of Canmore

Geology

Once part of a giant inland sea, the sedimentary rock along the western edge of Alberta began to form part of the chain of Mountains which eventually became called Rockies between 140,000 million to 45 million years ago.

Pre-History

Some of Alberta's earliest archaeological sites occur around Canmore and Banff including the 10,000 year old Vermilion Lakes site in Banff and Sibbald Flats located east of Canmore in Kananaskis.

History

Canmore was named in 1884 by Donald A. Smith, an employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The name originates from a town on the northwest shores of Scotland named in honor of King Malcolm III of Canmore. The anglicized version of the Gaelic Ceann Mór , Canmore has been variously translated as "big head" or, more likely, "great head" or "chief".

In 1886 Queen Victoria granted a coal mining charter to the town and in 1887 the first mine was opened.

The North West Mounted Police built their first barracks in Canmore in 1890. It was vacated in 1929 and turned into a private residence. Later, in 1989 the barracks was purchased back by the town and restored.

Through the early 20th century many of the coal mines in the Bow Valley began to shut down. The nearby towns of Anthracite, Georgetown and Bankhead closed down and many of the buildings and residents were relocated to Banff and Canmore. In 1965, Canmore was incorporated as a town with 2,000 residents.

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Recent History

July 13th, 1979 marked the end of an era when Canmore Mines Ltd. closed their doors. One hundred and twenty miners were out of work. Many of the families of these miners remain in Canmore as evidenced by the annual Miners’ Parade. They have witnessed tremendous change in the town and its people. Of the mines themselves only the Lamp House and a few mine entrances remain. due to provincial safety and reclamation policies.

The announcement in the early 1980's that the 1988 Olympic Winter Games would be held in Calgary and Canmore heralded a new era for the town of Canmore. It would be the site of the Nordic events; welcome news for a small community struggling to stay alive. Since the Olympics, Canmore has more than tripled its population and become a vibrant recreational tourism based community.

Explore Canmore!!!

Most people know Banff National Park, but few have heard of its sweet little sister, Canmore. Located five minutes outside Canada’s most famous National Park, Canmore is a gem of a mountain town that’s well suited for families. With affordable accommodation options and kid-pleasing activities it’s a go-to for many Calgarians. Tourists go to Banff; locals head to Canmore. Here’s a look at why you should visit Canmore with kids.

Canmore Nordic Centre

You’re in the mountains, so you really ought to take advantage of it. Downhill skiing isn’t easy to pick up on your first winter holiday, but cross country skiing sure is. At the Canmore Nordic Centre, families can ski across on an Olympic cross country course (site of the 1988 Winter Olympics). You can also try fat-tire winter biking, ice skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing. The Day Lodge cafeteria has you covered for meals, while a wood burning fireplace thaws out cold toesies.

Canmore Nordic Centre

You’re in the mountains, so you really ought to take advantage of it. Downhill skiing isn’t easy to pick up on your first winter holiday, but cross country skiing sure is. At the Canmore Nordic Centre, families can ski across on an Olympic cross country course (site of the 1988 Winter Olympics). You can also try fat-tire winter biking, ice skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing. The Day Lodge cafeteria has you covered for meals, while a wood burning fireplace thaws out cold toesies.

During summer months, the site turns into an awesome mountain bike park with trails suitable for kids. Or your family can play a round of disc golf. No matter which season you visit, you can snag cross country ski and mountain bike rentals (plus lessons) at Trail Sports located on site.

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(Photo credit: Canmore Nordic Center)

Elevation Place

As much as you probably want to be outside when you’re visiting Canmore, sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. When that’s the case, Elevation Place is where you’ll find fun and games galore. This is no ordinary rec center. It sports a lazy river, waterslide, kiddie pool, and a 25-person hot tub. Dry off and tackle their rock climbing gym, where there’s tons of pitches perfectly suited for kids. Housed in the same facility is a (small) gym and public library. Yep, you can spend an entire rainy day here!

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(Photo credit: Travel Alberta)

Main Street

Unlike many mountain resort towns, Canmore retains an authentic small town vibe, thanks in part to its Main Street. For book lovers, check out Cafe Books, a wonderful shop with a great children’s section. Tucked away is their tea and reading room, where you can snap up second-hand titles and enjoy a cuppa. HiJinx Toy Shop can’t be missed, nor can the Olde Thyme Candy Shoppe. In summer months, an old yellow school bus is converted into an ice cream shop, but the Scoopin’ Moose is open all year round.

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(Photo credit: Cafe Books)