If you were to ask me to name as many cities in Canada as I could…I would say TORONTO, VANCOUVER…AAAANNDDDDDD that’s about it. I think it’s safe to say that I contribute to the statistic that most American’s know little to nothing about our northern neighbor, Canada. We most likely associate Canada to…Maple Syrup, Ice Hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and our pop culture Canadian icons aka Justin Bieber, Drake, Steve Nash, Celine Dion and how could I forget - Ryan Gosling!

Ok getting off track…

Needless to say, when my Dad posed the question, “Hey, wanna go to Banff?" my brain had registered the word Banff as a familiar name but I could not place it on a map for $1000. I had heard Banff had some pretty epic scenery so I told Dad I was down and before we knew it, we were on a plane to…Alberta??

Yes, as one of 10 provinces (plus 3 territories) in Canada, Alberta sits next to British Colombia and most directly above…Montana, to give us Americans some reference. The main city in Alberta is Calgary, and just a short 1.5 hour drive from Calgary you arrive in the most beautiful most stunning little down of Canmore on your way to yet another incredibly picturesque city of Banff.

Welcome to the Canadian Rockies everyone…


Dad and I flew Air Canada (makes me think of Vince Carter…anyone see “The Carter Effect”??? His nickname was “Air Canada”) and he ordered us a snack while on the short 3 hour flight to Calgary. One of the perks of traveling with my Dad is I always feel like a little kid again getting snacks everywhere I go HAHA!


Made it to Calgary, Alberta! Rented a car and drove the 1.5 hour to our friend Jomo’s timeshare that she let us stay at. It was located in a city called Canmore just a few stops over from Banff.

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Our view from where we were staying…not bad, not bad at all.


First meal of the trip was at a place in Canmore called BLAKE. The views were incredible and they even rolled down the screen to play the Toronto Raptors game!!


They had some really unique things on their menu…take for example, fried beets!! What the. And this really good salad with some kind of maple syrup dressing and goat cheese. YUM.


After dinner we went for a little cruise around Canmore and stopped by ELEVATION PLACE which I thought was a giant climbing gym…but it turned out to be a small climbing gym PLUS a giant swimming pool PLUS a workout gym PLUS a library PLUS a coffee shop?? haha. so more like a community center. It was cool, and if I were a local I would totally spend a lot of my time there.


The rock wall at ELEVATION PLACE…and the dreamiest mountain cabin next to the river in Canmore.


How amazing are all these cabin houses? I could see why people buy property here and return year after year to this beautiful little city.


We walked around a local park in Canmore…mind you, I took this photo at around 7PM!!! Can you believe that??? During this time of year, the sun doesnt set until 10PM!!! SO CRAZY for a Californian like me…and I could see why people live outdoors all summer. So beautiful.


Dad pointing out some mountain peaks in the distance.


A nice evening stroll around BOW RIVER.


The city of CANMORE is known for the “THREE SISTERS” which are three very distinct mountain peaks that stick out among the rest.


After dinner and our stroll…we had to stop by the local super market so I could grab some Canadian snacks HAHA. I did my research and learned of a few things I could only by in Canada…


Ketchup Chips!! A very weird and popular item in Canada…that are strangely good. And how cute are these Canada M&Ms?


The starbucks there had some really cute mugs and cups! And two of the most popular candies in Canada…SMARTIES (taste like sweeter M&Ms) and COFFEE CRISP (tastes like a wafer cookie).


A cute little church in Canmore.


Canadian money is so much prettier than US money. Also, it was funny because everything is labeled “Dollars $” but the Canadian dollar is a bit different. So $1 USD is about $1.30 Canadian…meaning if the menu said a salad was $20 is was really $15 which made things feel more expensive so we kept having to tell ourselves, “oh yeah, it’s actually not too bad” haha


Last stop of the night was OLD SCHOOL BUS ICE CREAM (the 50/50 was amazing) and a nice view of the Three Sisters from a park.


Canmore is the cutest, quaintest town and the perfect place to stay in Alberta. Banff is the more well known town (35 min away from Canmore) but it’s a bit more crowded and busy…so if you’re looking for a good place to stay that is a little more chill and yet still close to all the beauty - CANMORE is your place :)

Day 1 was already epic…I couldn’t imagine all that was in store for day 2!!