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Four days in Canmore--life can't get much better than this

Nestled in the Bow Valley with Rocky Mountains on three sides, Canmore, Alberta is a great town with ever changing and gorgeous views of the surrounding peaks, but growing rapidly beyond its capacity from tourists like ourselves and new condo construction. Canmore is located outside Banff National Park, about an hour from the town of Banff itself. We arrived Friday evening to a huge traffic jam on Highway 1, and constant traffic on Canmore's Main Street. Parking was nearly impossible Friday evening, even in the city's outlying lots. Transforming itself from its coal mining past into a tourist mecca has been achieved, with beautiful mountain architecture and numerous walking trails in town and into the surrounding mountains. However, high-end condo development is rapidly making Canmore a playground only for the wealthy. Already, it is difficult to hire seasonal workers, because affordable housing is in extreme short supply. Surprisingly, prices in the town are still reasonable for such resort destinations. Our delightful and utterly hospitable hosts were Phil and Steph Jones. Phil is retired--well, sort of--and Steph owns the Wild Goose ( a clothing store on Main Street (8th) with the largest selection of Woolrich products in Canada. Do stop in and browse. We stayed with them for four days, giving us time to explore Canmore and enjoy the eateries, shops, and trails throughout the area. I recommend The Wood restaurant and bar at the far end of Main Street. From Canmore we are headed into Banff and Jasper National Parks on Tuesday along the Icefields Parkway, hoping to find a campsite during the mid-week tourist lull. From there, it is on to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the Alaska Highway.