Following my short trip home for Easter last year, where I successfully surprised my family and enjoyed an abundance of sweets, visits, and Starbucks, I hopped on a 4-hour flight from Hamilton Airport to Calgary. Upon my arrival in Calgary, I had made arrangements a couple weeks prior to have a shuttle take me out to Canmore, where my friends were already waiting for me. The drive out to the Rocky Mountains took about an hour, which sadly, I ended up sleeping for most of it and missed out on the approaching sights. However, I awoke for the last 15 minutes of the journey and I was greeted by the beautiful vastness of this infamous mountain range. My pictures cannot even begin to do justice in just how great these mountains were in size.
We stayed in a condo at Canmore Crossing, which was a part of a series of buildings that had several condos on each floor, with shops being on the ground level. On top of the roof there was an outdoor hot tub, where you could sit and relax while looking upon the Three Sisters.
For the views we had from our balcony and windows, I thought the price of the condo was a steal! Mind you, we stayed here from Monday to Friday (rather than the weekend) and during off-season – two factors in why our stay was so cheap. Our expenses were also dropped, because we had a kitchen to cook our meals in, rather than going out to eat each day.
We stayed in the town of Canmore, which is just beside Banff. At first I was unsure about staying in such a small town; a town I had never heard of before until mentioned by my friends, but I had faith that my friends knew what they were doing. With them being experienced mountain vacationers, I put my trust in their hands. They most certainly did not disappoint.
I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Canmore for many reasons. It was a cute, quiet town, just nestled into the mountains, which made each and every turn look like a shot from a postcard. Also, there were not many chain stores in the downtown shopping core, rather more mum-and-pop like shops. I found these shops had many more things to offer that were both unique and cheaper in price. The biggest reason why I enjoyed Canmore so much was because of how un-touristic it was. There were no floods of tourists walking about, and even though we came during their non-peak season, apparently Canmore has always been like this, regardless of the season.
We had also travelled to Banff for a day of shopping and sight seeing. I had assumed Banff was a very large city, but in fact, it is just a small town! It had a lot more well-known shops lined the downtown strip, which was enjoyable, especially the deals and specials some had going on the day we were there. I found Banff to be a little more expensive than Canmore, which again, is another perk to staying in Canmore, but Banff too was very beautiful and picturesque.
Overall, I am so thankful that my friends invited me to come along and join them on their family vacation to the mountains. They knew I had never been this far west before and that I had never seen mountains either. I was so blessed to have finally been able to take in such sights and beauty of western Canada. We typically are always wanting to travel far and wide when we go on our vacations, whether it be to the Caribbean or to Europe. I have never really considered travelling within Canada before, mainly because I was, and still am, unaware of all our country has to offer. Thanks to my year in Saskatchewan, I was able to see places I had never been to before and fully appreciated what makes each place so very special. Western Canada has by far exceeded all of my expectations, and it has only excited me to make future travel plans to explore it and other parts of Canada slowly and thoroughly.