Canmore is located one hour west of Calgary and just minutes from the East Gates of Banff National Park. It is said that the town was named in honour of King Malcolm III of Scotland from “Caennmor”, a Gaelic word that refers to one “being of tall stature” or “Big Head”.
125 years ago Canmore became a key divisional point for the railroad due to the ready access to coal. Modern Canmore is evidence of what can happen to a dusty old coal mining town after the mines close. Canmore is now a four-season funky alpine tourist town boasting all manner of outdoor adventures, superior golf courses, and great food. Two of our favourite restaurants are Patrinos for dinner and Chez François for brunch.
Canmore was selected as the host community for two of the venues for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, and those games helped to breathe new life into Canmore. Since then, the population has risen from 3,200 to 17,000 and the demand for vacation properties has exploded. The history here is worth exploration. There are a few remnants of Canmore’s mining origins but the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre is dedicated to telling the stories of the mountains. Permanent displays detail Canmore’s mining heritage, as well as the geology of the Rocky Mountains. Temporary displays change regularly. The Gift Shop specializes in educational toys, local art, fossils, and minerals.Discover Ammolite
Ammolite was designated the official gemstone of the Province of Alberta in 2004. Ammolite is formed from an ancient marine fossil called ammonite. Ammonite fossils are found in many locations, but Southern Alberta appears to be the only place on the planet where 70 million years of tectonic pressure, mineralization, and heat have combined to create beautiful ammolite gems.
Each ammolite gem is unique in brilliance, colour and pattern. Pricing is based on size, shape, number of colours present, brightness of those colours, and overall appearance. The rarest and most desirable ammolite gems show three or more bright colours such as blue, green, red, and yellow. Commercial mining of Ammolite began in 1981 and reports suggest that the world supply is depleting quickly. At current production levels supplies of high grade ammolite are expected to be completely exhausted in approximately 20 years.
Ammolite jewellery is a rare and glittering addition to any collection. Ammolite’s luminous qualities rival the famous black opal for colours and fire. Within the mountain parks, retailers display a lovely variety of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings.