After Canmore’s makeover in the late 80s, everything changed. Prior to its transformation, Canmore was seen as Banff’s ugly sister; a dirty mining town, which was a convenient stopover before reaching beautiful Banff. Boy have things changed!
After the Winter Olympics, Canmore shifted into a tourist destination. However, it still served as meager overflow accommodations for Banff. However, as time passed, Canmore has now emerged into a prominent destination of its own. With four world-class ski resorts, spanning golf courses, and incredible adventure activities, who wouldn’t be interested? The town clearly is doing something right! It now surpasses Banff’s population with over 12,000 residents.
Canmore is located five minutes east of Banff National Park, and 15 minutes from the town of Banff. Canmore has a major advantage over Banff, because it is outside the national park. This means actual residents live in the town, so it’s not as touristy as Banff. Canmore is also close to Alberta’s Kananaskis Country, which is a large recreation area full of limitless outdoor activities.
Also, Canmore’s accommodations are more reasonably priced than Banff. There are lots of condo-style hotel options, which are popular because they house a kitchen, and are more like your “home away from home”. It’s also the place to choose if you want to rent privately, as there are tonnes of vacation rentals in Canmore by owner. This also saves money, and you are supporting the local community. Out of all the towns situated in the Canadian Rockies, Canmore is also closest to the international airport. It’s just a short 1.5 hours from the Calgary International Airport.
The disadvantage of Canmore over Banff is that it’s 15 minutes southeast of the town of Banff. This means its 45 minutes away from the southeast side of Lake Louise; which is known for its scenery and hiking territory. Also, in the winter months, there are fewer shuttle buses from the town of Banff to Canmore. This is inconvenient if you don’t have your own vehicle.