I had plans to spend my Saturday afternoon doing something fun with my mom. I needed an activity that got us outside but wasn’t as high intensity as say, skiing or ice climbing. I decided the best option for an easy afternoon of fun was to try a Mystery Towns Adventure!
These tours are available in Banff, Canmore, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. Essentially, they are a unique scavenger hunt, sightseeing tour, and timed race all rolled into one exciting adventure! Of the three Canmore tours to choose from, we did Smuggler’s Blues. We were tasked with helping the North West Mounted Police find the identity of the mysterious Canmore Smuggler.
After you purchase the tour, you can do it on any day at any time, however, daytime hours are strongly recommended. Also, be sure to dress for the weather in order to get the best experience possible, because nothing is less fun than dealing with the elements without proper clothing.
My mom was expecting something regimented with a strict start and end time when I first told her about my plans. Mystery Towns is nothing like that, it’s just a laid-back activity you can do at your own pace. We arrived at the Canmore Civic Centre and all I had to do was download the Mystery Town Tours app onto my phone, enter the booking information and voilà! We were ready to start. You can also link multiple phones to receive clues if you have a larger group.
The hunt is cleverly designed to lead you around town while you learn about the area by reading information plaques and exploring landmarks. Some clues even have you going into stores and interacting with staff to find specific information.
After a few easy questions, we wondered if we were going to be some of the top finishers since, as locals, we had insider knowledge. It didn’t take too long before our false sense of security was shattered as the clues became more challenging. We didn’t mind, since the harder the riddles got the greater the gratification was from solving them. The challenging questions also led to a lot of teamwork and bouncing ideas off one another, which we both enjoyed.
Aside from the gratification of solving a difficult puzzle, we were also very impressed by how it compelled us explore the townsite. As locals, we tend to take for granted these bits of history and information scattered around the town. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tromped past information plaques, not really noticing them. Before my adventure, I couldn’t point out Ha Ling Peak, one of Canmore’s most visited mountains. Now I know exactly where it is thanks to one of those plaques!
There were also some unexpected results during our adventure. Occasionally we would get off track, but our search led to extra information about a certain place or checking out a landmark we normally wouldn’t think about. That kind of spontaneity really gave the experience a little extra excitement for us.
I highly recommend trying a Mystery Towns Adventure, whether you’re a local living in the Rocky Mountains or if you’re just visiting. It’s a fantastic way to explore the town, see the sights and learn all about this amazing place some of us are lucky to call home.