By Julie Baxter | August 2016 | 5 minute read
Said to be Canada’s best kept secret, Alberta's Canmore will appeal to true travellers seeking an authentic Canadian experience. Located 20 minutes from Banff, this authentic mountain town has long been a favourite holiday destination for Canadians.
Recommend Canmore to travellers who want to get under the skin of Alberta with the chance to meet and spend time with local characters in a relaxed laid-back mountain environment in a region packed with outdoor activities. It is just over an hour's drive from Calgary.
Canmore is a mountain town with a diverse population including Olympic athletes, Everest summiteers, authors and artists.
Downtown has a relaxed vibe and Main Street includes an eclectic collection of art galleries, shopping experiences and a hip cafes and restaurants. The community runs a buzzing programme of festivals and events visitors can look out for too.
Never far from view are the The Three Sisters, three iconic peaks which are among the most photographed in the Rockies. Known locally as Faith, Charity and Hope, they often feature in local art.
Prime among other draws to the town is the Canmore Nordic Centre which was the host site for the Nordic events of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. The centre now offers activities ranging from cross country skiing, biking and hiking to disk golf and orienteering.
A real gateway to the great outdoors, the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail offers 22km of scenic paved trail connecting Canmore and Banff. It is popular with cyclists and hikers, with several incredible viewpoints along the way. Following the Trans Canada Highway, it works as a round trip or in combination with the ROAM public transit system if visitors want to walk or cycle one way and take public transport back.
For those wedded to the wheel, the Kananaskis Wildlife Drive is one of the most spectacular drives in Alberta and takes visitors through the heart of Kananaskis country on a three-hour loop from Canmore. The 153km (96 mile) drive goes through picturesque provincial parks with stops for interpretive walks and picnics, hikers’ tea and moose spotting.
Among other visitor attractions is the Rat’s Nest Cave in Grotto Mountain – a natural wild cave where four-six hour tours are operated underground; and the region’s Bow Valley where intricate geology and stunning views ensure some world-class rock climbing choices.
Upper and Lower Kananaskis lakes and Barrier Lake are among a series of beautiful man-made and natural lakes created by a hydro-electric dam. There are parks surrounding them with biking and hiking trails, boating opportunities and in summer, canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent.
Suggest a tour of the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company's new 20,000square-foot brewery in Canmore, or coincide your client's visit lively range of popular annual events including the Canmore Folk Music Festival, Highland Games, Festival of Eagles and ArtSpeak Arts Festival.
Where to book it
For foodie types recommend The Canmore Progressive Dinner Tour which takes in four local restaurants with wine and cocktail pairings along the way; or the canmore food tours to meet chefs, producers and farmers and sample regional flavours and artisan products.