Canmore has changed a great deal since it was founded in 1883, evolving from a gritty railway depot to a coal mining town and then finally to an international resort destination. As a center first for the railroad and the industry, Canmore was a place where you played hard and worked hard. Like many mining towns in southern Alberta and southeastern BC, the community was faced with many economic ups and downs. Over the past century, its history as a coal mining community has included boom-town architecture, interesting characters, exciting events, and mine disasters. With the closure of the mine in 1979 and Canmore serving as a host community for the 1988 Winter Olympics, the community has continued to evolve. Today, it could be argued that as a resort community, we play harder than we work as we enjoy the incredible mountain vistas and recreational amenities that Canmore offers today.
We invite you to experience our rich and colourful past by exploring Canmore’s built heritage and tracing the continued evolution of our community. Our Historical Downtown Walking Tour will take you to 10 places located within in 2 km radius of the Canmore Museum, each with its own story to tell as part of the cultural and heritage mosaic of Canmore. The tour will start and end at the Canmore Museum.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDE
Rob Alexander is a journalist, author, photographer, and historian. He grew up in Canmore, steeped in the history of the Canadian West and the sights and sounds of a coal mining town. With an affinity for ruins and abandoned sites, he gravitated towards story and sense of place, leading him to explore and share the history and heritage of the Bow Valley, Alberta, and Western Canada. He is a former reporter for the Rocky Mountain Outlook newspaper (still a freelancer though), author of The History of Canmore, published in 2010 by Summerthought Publishing of Banff. Rob lives in Calgary where he works as the digitization specialist for Libraries and Cultural resources at the University of Calgary.