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canmore

Mingle with Locals at the Canmore Mountain Market

On Thursday, June 11, the sun was shining during the first Canmore Mountain Market of the season. Vendors from Canmore and the surrounding area came to peddle their wares, drawing crowds of locals and tourists alike.

The Raven and The Fox provided entertainment, filling the market with singer Julie Chang’s melodious voice and acoustic guitarist Sean Isaac’s accompaniment. The duo played a few of their original songs and covered bands including Guns N’ Roses and Damien Rice.

Spring brings an abundance of new seasonal fruits and vegetables, which were out in force. Fresh and colourful produce filled every corner of the market. Favourites like crunchy sweet peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and black kale sat beside baskets of beautiful strawberries, raspberries, cherries and grapes. Interesting additions include garlic scapes and heirloom eggplants.

Red, orange, yellow and green peppers provided a rainbow of healthy snacks. Photo by Ashley Materi

Red, orange, yellow and green peppers provided a rainbow of healthy snacks. Photo by Ashley Materi

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Family Fun in Bow Valley Provincial Park

By Karen Ung

Bow Valley Provincial Park is the perfect family-friendly mountain destination. With panoramic views and scenic trails, there is fun for all ages. Whether you hike the interpretive trails and do some geocaching, go fishing, have a picnic, bike the Bow Valley bike path or paddle the Kananaskis River, you will have a great day.

Parents of young children will appreciate the short trails with minimal elevation gain, benches along the trails for snack breaks and washrooms at every parking lot.

Over two separate visits we explored five trails in the area and liked them all. Join us on a mini tour of Bow Valley Provincial Park!

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6 Ways to Stay Warm in Style

By Where Staff

Wherever you’re shopping in the Canadian Rockies this winter, we’ve got you covered for cold weather style.

Photo: Courtesy of Hudson's Bay Banff

Photo: Courtesy of Hudson’s Bay Banff

Banff Shops

Stay cozy with a luxurious fitted down-filled jacket. This new design from Snowflake has a belted rouched waist and zipper details—the perfect mix of elegance and edginess. Soft fur frames the face, but can be removed for a different look.

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Canmore Uncorked Food & Drink Festival

By Afton Aikens

Hang up your apron because there’ll be no need for home cooking during the second annual Canmore Uncorked festival, April 7 to 19.

The inaugural festival won an Alberta tourism award and was nominated for the Canadian Tourism Awards’ event of the year. Organizers are raising the bar this year, adding new events that will showcase the quality and creativity that drives Canmore’s dining scene, paired with tried and true favourites.

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3 Places to get Great Food & Beer in Canmore

Photo: Courtesy of The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

Photo: Courtesy of The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

By Where Staff

Canmore has a great dining scene. Check out three of our favourites below and keep an eye on our dining blog through April for extensive coverage of the Canmore Uncorked food festival!

Brewery Tour with Benefits

Grizzly Paw Brewing Company beers have a solid local following. See why during Friday to Sunday tours of their 20,000-square foot Canmore microbrewery. Learn how hops, malt, mash, wort and tun become your favourite beer, and sample their tasty regular and seasonal brews.

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Artist Profile: Glenn Payan

By Afton Aikens

Our 2015/16 Canmore Map hits streets in February, and we’re excited to share the cover art, a painting titled Three Sisters, Silvertip View, Canmore by Mayne Island, British Columbia-based artist Glenn Payan, whose work can be found in one of Banff’s favourite art galleries, Canada House Gallery.

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Canadian Rockies’ Best New Restaurant 2014: Tavern 1883

Photo courtesy Tavern 1883

Photo courtesy Tavern 1883

By Afton Aikens

It was a year of casual restaurant openings in the Canadian Rockies, and Tavern 1883’s award winning house-ground burgers (beef, elk, lamb, tuna and quinoa) got us hooked. Built from an early 1900s home, the Tavern has a charming mountain cabin atmosphere and a fun, welcoming vibe with live music twice a week and a DJ on weekends.

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Where Staff Party: Indoor Climbing

By Jack Newton

Our editorial staff at Where Canadian Rockies have been writing about the 11,000-square foot climbing gym at Canmore’s Elevation Place since the facility opened two years ago. Everyone at the magazine was eager to try the wall (up to 45 feet high), and the occasion of our 2014 staff Christmas party gave us the opportunity.

Climbing at Elevation Place in Canmore

Climbing at Elevation Place in Canmore

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Wine & Game Pairings

By Afton Aikens

Beef-to-bison converts love the latter’s leanness, while elk is popular with visitors who want to taste ranch-raised cousins of the game animals that adorn our mountain landscapes.

These hoofed fauna are among many types of game you can sample in the Canadian Rockies—but be sure to add a glass of wine. We talked to three restaurants in the region about their favourite wine and game pairings. We hope you brought your appetite!

Elk, Eden

Elk, Eden

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Alberta’s Gemstone

May 23, 2014

By Where Staff

ammonite---korite

Crystalline blue skies, forests of deep green, fiery red Indian paintbrush wildflowers and a vibrant yellow sun; nature paints the Canadian Rockies in radiant hues. Ammolite, a rare gemstone found only in southern Alberta, is imbued with these same brilliant colours.

Ammolite originates in the Bearpaw Formation east of the Rockies. This gemstone is made from ammonites, shelled creatures that inhabited inland seas 75 million years ago. The seas dried, millennia passed and the buried shells fossilized.

Blackfoot Indians gathered ammonites centuries ago; they believed the stones brought great fortune. In 1981 ammolite received official gem status from the World Jewellery Confederation (CIJBO).

A soft gem, ammolite often needs to be strengthened with stabilizers and reinforced with backing and capping. But sometimes ammolite fractured under the weight of the earth is sealed naturally with carbonate. ‘Natural’ ammolite is thick and not reinforced; it must be handled with care. More common are ‘doublets’ that have protective backs, and ‘triplets’ that also have a hard spinel or quartz cap on top.

More colourful ammolites command a higher price. Orange and green are more common than blue and purple. Multicolor stones are rare and more expensive than ammolite with only one or two colours. Valuable stones have sharp, bright colours that show brilliantly when angled in all directions. Natural patterns and textures give each ammolite stone a distinctive look, from smooth lustrous to unique fissure motifs.

While most people associate ammolite with jewellery, whole fossils and large chunks of polished ammolite can be displayed like sculptures.

Editor’s note: Local jewellers can share their knowledge of ammolite history, mining and manufacturing. They can provide advice to help you choose a stone that is right for you.

Hot Dining: Notable Newcomers

Sizzling steaks at Sidecut in Whistler

The regional editors of Where recently unveiled their list of 2010’s best new restaurants across Canada.

1. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie – Vancouver, BC; 604-688-087; www.bao-bei.ca

2. Sidecut (pictured) – Whistler, BC; 604-966-5280; www.fourseasons.com

3. Prime Steakhouse and Lounge – Victoria, BC; 250-386-2010; www.primesteak.ca

4. Charcut Roast House – Calgary, AB; 403-984-2180; www.charcut.com

5. Zinc – Edmonton, AB; 780-392-2501; www.zincrestaurant.ca

6. Habitat Restaurant – Canmore, AB; 403-678-8880; www.granderockies.com/habitat

7. Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant – Winnipeg, MB; 204-477-6500; www.segoviatapasbar.com

8. Enoteca Sociale – Toronto, ON; 416-534-1200; www.sociale.ca

9. Taste, the Restaurant at Touchstone – Muskoka, ON; 705-764-5353; www.touchstoneonlakemuskoka.com/taste.html

10. Town – Ottawa, ON; 613-695-8696; www.townlovesyou.ca

11. Fujiyama – Halifax, NS; 902-492-1133; www.sushifujiyama.ca

Road Tripping

Discover the Canadian Rockies, a world-renowned tourist destination on Calgary’s doorstep

By Sally MacKinnon

Lake Louise

From November to March, enjoy free public skating on Lake Louise.

The peaks of the Rocky Mountains tower over Calgary’s western horizon. Luckily, their proximity isn’t a mirage; Banff National Park is an hour’s drive from Calgary, and the town itself is only another 20 km.

The main draw of this region (apart from scenic views) is adventure sports. In winter, that means downhill skiing or snowboarding, which you can do at Nakiska, Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Marmot Basin and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. But, there are also a range of activities for fans of other winter sports, from cross-country skiing to dog sledding, snowshoeing to snowmobiling, ice skating to ice fishing. And for hard core adventurers, there’s heli-skiing and ice climbing.

But, that doesn’t mean the Rockies’ only attractions are outdoors. The shops of Banff Avenue and Canmore’s Main Street offer unique wares, and the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise—majestic, 19th-century CP hotels—offer boutique shopping, dining and stately corridors to wander. History buffs can head to the Cave & Basin National Historic Site, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, or the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre. And no visit is complete without a soak in their naturally heated mineral waters, which you can access at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Must-See Attractions

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The outdoor whirlpool at the Fairmont Banff Springs, open to guests and spa patrons.

1. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
This five-star hotel was built in 1888 in the Scottish Baronial style, making it a modern-day castle in the mountains. It is a magnet for both tourists and day-trippers, who can dine in its restaurants, wander through its corridors and banquet rooms, shop in its luxury boutiques, or take part in a guided walking tour.

2. Lake Louise
One of the most photographed locations in the Rockies, Lake Louise is a glacier-fed lake with a million dollar view. During the winter you can skate on a section of the lake, use the surrounding trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, or downhill ski at the Lake Louise Mountain Resort.

3. Columbia Icefield
Both Banff and Jasper National Parks share the Columbia Icefield, a 325-sq.-km mass of ice straddling the continental divide. This is the largest icefield in the Rockies, and nearly three quarters of Jasper’s highest peaks are within view. The icefield’s top attraction is the Athabasca Glacier, which you can access on a snow coach or guided walking tour.

Off the beaten path

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The winter splendour of Maligne Canyon.

1. Maligne Canyon Icewalk
Jasper’s Maligne Canyon is a top summer attraction, but in winter the canyon is still a must-see. When the torrents of the Maligne River freeze, awe-inspiring columns of ice are created, some reaching 30 m high. Maligne Tours offers guided walks of this frozen wonderland, which you explore in ice cleats.

2. Kananaskis Country
K-Country has mountain peaks and tranquil valleys, but less human traffic than Banff or Jasper. It’s also located closer to Calgary, especially if you live in either the southwest or northwest. Highlights include Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes (featured in the movie Brokeback Mountain) and Kananaskis Village, which hosted the G8 Summit in 2002.

3. Caves, dogs and snowshoes
During the winter, downhill skiing reigns supreme in the Rockies. But there are also activities for non-skiers: you can explore the 4-km Rat’s Nest Cave system with Canmore Caverns, go dog sledding with a local outfitter, or rent snowshoes or cross-country skis and take on the trails at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Before You Go…

• Dress in layers—you can peel off clothing as the temperature climbs, and you’ll trap warm pockets of air.
• Check the weather and road conditions. The highway between Lake Louise and Jasper, for example, is often closed due to winter storms.
• Have the right gear, including a first aid kit, maps and plenty of water. For backcountry excursions, consider taking a GPS personal tracking device.
•  Tell someone where you’re going, and for how long—search parties are sent out when a person is reported missing.

Rocky Mountain Meats

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Elk, a local specialty in Banff, Canmore and Jasper. Photograph courtesy CRMR.

If you want to eat like a local, you’ll have to find a restaurant that serves Alberta beef, bison or elk. Luckily, most eateries serve each of these meats and more. Here are five of our favourites:
• Cilantro, Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff (reopens Dec 17)
• Elk & Oarsman, 2nd flr, 119 Banff Avenue, Banff
• Iron Goat Pub & Grille, 703 Benchlands Trail, Canmore
• Maple Leaf Grill & Lounge, 137 Banff Ave, Banff
• Sage Bistro, 1712 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore

Did you know?

Compared to other mountain ranges, the Rockies are toddlers. They started their rise 75 million years ago, when a collision happened between two plates in the earth’s crust. The Himalayas, in contrast, began their ascent 180 million years ago.