There are those places in the world that are so remarkable, you know you’ll visit again and again, if only in your imagination. They bring a sense of awe, joy, and contentment that is so tangible you could almost hold it in your hands. We host the Real Life Conference in one of those places.
Canmore, Alberta is a small community of 15,000 people nestled in a valley floor in the Canadian Rockies. It’s surrounded by mountains that have been residents for over 300 million years, and their presence is inspiring. The town is filled with a unique cast of characters, the most olympic athletes in the world (per capita), artist hippies that settled in the 70’s, mountain climbers, environmentalists, and a guy named Crazy Larry who is an avid cyclist and volunteer balloon artist that randomly appears at events around town.
The town is a favourite day trip for nearby urbanites from Calgary, which has allowed award winning restaurants, independent stores, cozy coffee shops, and healthy eateries to thrive throughout the town. It’s a basecamp for some of the worlds most recognizable sites - like Lake Louise & Moraine Lake, and has activities galore like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding, & hiking (and that's just in the winter).
If this description alone hasn’t convinced you to join us at the Real Life Conference, we’re going to offer five of our favourite Canmore experiences to add to your conference itinerary.
Postcard Perfect Day trip
If you’re not from around these parts, there’s a good chance you’ve seen an image of spectacular Lake Louise. Impossibly blue in the summer, and home to a giant outdoor skating rink in the winter, this is a must see destination. In early November, Lake Louise is a bit like a box of chocolates - you never know what your going to get ;) It could be in full snow globe winter glory, or still at the end of of a long fall season. It’s about an hour from Canmore by car, and deserves at least a half day to explore.
Journalling in a Coffee Shop
Head down to main street to explore a favourite spot called Cafe Books. This fully independent bookstore has both new and used sections and is filled with delightful and insightful titles. Choose a book on philosophy, some easy reading fiction or a beautiful lined journal. Walk the streets of Canmore and you'll pass several cozy coffee shops. Mountain Mercato, Communitea, and Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. are all fantastic. Get something warm to drink and give yourself a full morning of indulgence.
Take a walk in the woods
Early November is unpredictable, but there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to do a hike. Be sure to read up on hiking safety, groups of 4 are best if you are new to the area. Pack some water and a snack and be sure to bring along a map or hiking guide. Some of our favourite nearby hikes/walks include Grassi Lakes, the River Loop, and Cougar Creek. If we have an early big snowfall, an even better option is renting snowshoes, and asking the rental company the best path for the current conditions.
Reconnect with your creativity through art
Reconnecting with your creativity can sometimes mean taking a break and letting your brain get creative in another discipline. ArtsPlace has a huge roster of classes including pottery, painting, sketching, stained glass fusing, jewelry making, writing, origami, embroidery (I could go on and on).
Go Deep. Literally.
Personal discovery is often spurred when we push our own limits, and Canmore has just the thing for the adventurous spirit. Canmore Caving tours offers guided trips in a cave that overlooks the valley. They cater to all adventure levels, so you can take it easy and remain in larger caverns, or crawl and wiggle through tight spots & cave shoots while you make your way 10 stories underground.
Ready to experience this for yourself?
Blog images by Jenn Nauss of Cooked Photography