By Naomi Witherick
Imagine enjoying winter in the mountains whenever you want. Canmore vacation homes make the dream a reality.
Dramatic landscapes, alpine adventures and a historic downtown. No wonder Canmore is gaining a name for itself as an international tourist destination. But it’s not just tourism that’s booming.
With housing sales at a three-year peak, Canmore is becoming more than a place for a one-off holiday. Buyers from Canada, USA and the UK are snatching up new residential sites for second homes and swapping short-lived vacations for regular visits to the mountains.
Among them is Calgary-based John Walker who bought a condo in Canmore four years ago. The father-of-two travels to rural Scotland on a regular basis, which he admits gave him a taste for escaping the city.
Owning a ‘weekend place’ in the mountains seemed like the perfect solution. “It’s only an hour from Calgary but it feels much further,” he muses. “Out here, it’s like another world.”
Canmore offers many outdoor pursuits. In winter, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice fishing, dogsledding, fat tire biking and exploring beautiful frozen canyons are on the list. And when you have a vacation home as a base you can enjoy them time and time again. At the end of the day you return to your mountain haven, a crackling fire and the feeling of home.
“It’s nice to come off the mountain and relax in the house,” says Walker. He skis in nearby Banff National Park, where Sunshine Village (Canada’s longest ski season) and Lake Louise (‘Best Ski Resort in Canada’ for three consecutive years) are located.
On down days, there are galleries and boutiques to browse in Canmore’s attractive downtown, while cosy cafés serve locally roasted coffee and home baked treats.
At night, there’s a lively restaurant scene. Locally owned venues serve classic comfort food, delectable charcuterie, a wide range of international cuisines and some feature live music. The town’s two microbreweries promise premium craft beer, and Canmore’s first distillery is set to open this winter.
Banff and Jasper are prime tourist destinations, but “Canmore is a real town,” Walker suggests. “It has an air of functionality and normalcy.” In fact, ‘need to reside’ regulations prohibit vacation homes from being built in Canmore’s national park neighbours.
Like many vacation homeowners Walker quickly felt at home in Canmore’s inclusive community. “We have a great social life here; probably better than in Calgary,” he laughs.
Owning a house in the mountains might seem like a dream, but Walker proves it’s one that can come true. “We know lots of people with second homes here,” he explains. “Most are vacation properties, others are investments and some are shared by multiple families to make ownership more financially viable.”
With new developments at Spring Creek (Map 4, 12J) and Three Sister Mountain Village’s Stewart Creek (Map 4, 21P), there are ample choices between single and multi-family properties. The neighbourly communities are surrounded by majestic natural landscapes, and each home promises vacations that never have to end.
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