Canmore is best known for the Canmore Nordic Centre, the host of the cross country and biathlon events in the 1988 Winter Olympic games. Canmore lies on the Trans Canada Highway #1 Main Route and is 110 km west of Calgary and 160 km east of Golden, BC. It is also known for the cheapest gas west of Calgary (no BC sales taxes, no National Parks rents) and lots of hotel rooms and restaurants close to the Trans Canada Highway and close to Banff’s natural beauty (and no National Park Pass needed to stop and shop). 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 Candian 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.