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Canmore confusion

Edinburgh, United...
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Canmore confusion

Me and my partner are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies next July (2012) and it seems like Canmore is an ideal place to base ourselves.

At first glance, there seems to be a lot of quality accomodation, however we're really concerned about 2 things that we keep coming up against on various internet forums:

1) Illegal vacation rentals: so far, everyone I've tried to book with gets very shirty when I ask them to confirm that their units are 'legal' for 7-day stays. If they're willing to take my money, then they should be willing to answer a straightforward question.

2) Rail and road noise: Looks to me like most of the vacation rentals in Canmore are right next to both a highway and a railway line. How noisy are they? It doesn't seem like you'd be 'getting away from it all' by staying in Canmore.

So my questions are this:

1) how do you make sure you're not getting ripped off when booking a condo for a week

2) how noisy is Canmore? is it as bad as Google maps makes it out to be?

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Canmore confusion

I agree, if they don't like you asking the question, it's because they know you won't like the answer.

Have you seen this thread discussing the vacation rental situation? There are a few good tips:


Also on that thread is a link to this information from the Town of Canmore about "tourist homes"; at the bottom of the page are links to a list of permitted properties and to a way to find out if the property in question is the subject of enforcement activity by the Town:


Edited: 06 September 2011, 15:01
Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: Canmore confusion


Yes I read that, and checked the council list for the properties concerned, but the 'renters' don't seem to want to give out the individual unit numbers before you book... strange... and not a great way to get tourists in.

What about the noise? I once stayed a night in a motel near a railway line in Flagstaff, Arizona, and you could hear the train coming from about 15 miles away and they rang bells even in the middle of the night!

Is that the same as Canmore?

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: Canmore confusion

Canmore is on the CP (Canadian Pacific) main line and heavy freight trains run 24/7/365. They run them up to 12,000 feet long nowadays, and this line is one of two rail lines running across Canada. Other than the low rumble of the diesel engines, you won't hear any whistles unless there is a level crossing nearby (and in some cases, the railway gets permission in a town not to blast the whistle at a crossing - four times - as is normally required). I am not sure of the situation in Canmore regarding level crossings or whistling; hopefully a local resident can help you with this (and some research on google maps or similar may help).

The Trans-Canada highway is also a major transportation corridor and there is a lot of truck traffic. Canmore sits in a narrow valley and you will hear highway and railway noise. However, if you live in a city, you are probably already accustomed to the background hum of traffic anyway.

The history of the development of the towns and the national parks in the Canadian Rockies is tied to railway history - it was the advancement of the railways to the west through the mountains that led to the creation of both Banff and Jasper National Parks. The towns of Banff and Field (on the CP line) and Jasper (on the CN line) were all established originally as railway towns (Jasper still is).

I can't help with your question about the legality of various vacation rentals, but I think you already have your answer.

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4. Re: Canmore confusion

Banff Boundary Lodge is my favorite place to stay in Canmore; I have attached the link to their website. Not knowing how much you want to spend on lodging, don't know if it is suitable for you. However, I have never been bothered by noise from either highway or railway (actually it's across the highway from the railway tracks). They have full kitchens so you can easily prepare all your meals.


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5. Re: Canmore confusion

I lived in Canmore for almost ten years on Bow valley Trail across from the railway tracks, and can honestly tell you that unless you are staying in one of the hotels which backs on to the tracks, you'll hear very little from the trains.

Most of the new condos which would be available as vacation rentals would be located mostly in the newer areas of Canmore, away from the tracks. As far as I know, by special agreement with the Town, trains do not blast their horns when they go through, unless they see people or animals on the track when they go through. During my time in Canmore, I very very rarely heard trains sounding their horns.

If you stay close to the tracks, you will hear some rumbling from the trains and the bells at the two main crossings in Town. Otherwise you'll be OK. Ask any local and they'll tell you that complaints about train noises in Canmore are greatly overstated.

I'm not 100% sure, but I do believe that you will hear the train horns way more often in Banff than in Canmore.way

Canmore, Alberta
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6. Re: Canmore confusion


Yes, there is a bylaw in Canmore. The trains are not allowed to blow there whistle unless they have reason.

There are some vacation condos near the railway tracks in Canmore. I lived in one of them called Canmore Crossing. If you sleep with closed windows I wouldn't say you would have any worries. With open windows, yes the trains can be a bit loud but they never really bothered my husband and I.

I have lived in Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise, I can tell you that a property near the tracks in Banff is the worst. They blow the whistles there all day and night. That is the loudest noise the train makes. It can be quite startling in the night if you are not used to it.

Not sure what you are looking for in the way of accommodation, Canmore is not in the national parks, it is a town that happens to be in the last part of the mountains before you head out to Calgary. Off hand I can't think of any vacation rentals I would consider getting away from it all.

I agree that if someone will not answer your question about verifying that the vacation rental is legit then move on. However, Canmore has really cracked down on the illegal rentals in the last few years. You can confirm any building with the town of Canmore to see if it is approved.

As far as I understand it is really the building you need to be concerned with. Either the building is allowed to have vacation rentals or not. It's not that one individual unit would be allowed and the next one in the same building would not.

For instance in Canmore Crossing that I lived in it was approved for vacation rentals. So any unit could be rented out if the owner chose to do so. Different buildings may have different codes. Ours could be long term rentals such as a year lease and it was approved for shorter term vacation rentals. It had to be a minimum of either 2 or 3 nights, I can't remember. They could rent out for longer vacation times as well such as a week or a month, etc.

Here is the town website that will have email contact information and such: http://www.canmore.ca/


Edited: 07 September 2011, 22:48
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7. Re: Canmore confusion

also, there are some brand new visitor accommodation units in the former restwell trailer park, now called spring creek mountain village.

then theres some much bigger houses up in silvertip that would be quite spendy.

and i think along the eastern reaches of bow valley trail, you have the trains (ive never considered the train tracks to be a problem unless i were in a unit backing directly onto the tracks) the highway (can be bad at night with all the truck traffic) and the heliport right there (can be bad for up to 5 seconds at a time)!

most of the newer properties that are close to the highway and/or train tracks have to meet certain building standards to address the noise...so closed windows should be a-ok.

Windsor, Canada
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8. Re: Canmore confusion

Just got back from staying a weekend at the Creekside Inn. Very quiet - I didn't even know there were trains in the area! Spectacular views from every window. The continental breakfast was great - best scones ever.


Edited: 05 November 2011, 04:17
Fredericton, Canada
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9. Re: Canmore confusion

I too lived in canmore for 8 years (3 of them in the condos between Sobey's and Safeway) Main windows facing tracks and hardly ever heard them.

In all my years there I don't even remeber hearing a whistle. The trains also have to slow down as they pass through Banff/Canmore.

Creekside Inn is up the hill and not anywhere near the rail tracks

10. Re: Canmore confusion

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