The world was first introduced to Canmore during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games when Europeans laid claim to most of the medals in the various Nordic ski events.

But 181 years earlier, David Thompson laid claim to being the first European to set foot on land now propose to become the multimillion-dollar resort destination Three Sisters Village, with TGS Properties as the lead partner. Thirty-four years later, James Sinclair led a party across the Bow River and up the gap between Ha Ling Peak (previously Chinaman's Peak) to Mount Rundle to White Man's Pass on his way to Oregon, Robert Rundle then followed the Bow far enough upstream in 1844 to see the mountain named for him.

The Canadian Pacific Railway chugged its way to into the area in 1883 and established a divisional point 109 kilometres west of Calgary and named it Canmore after Malcolm of Canmore, the 11th century Scottish king who vanquished Macbeth. That same year, a charter was granted to allow coal mining, and a year later the McNeill Coal Company was in operation.

Five years later, the population, mostly railroaders and their families, had reached 450 who set down roots around the depot on the north side of the Bow. In 1889, Canmore was no longer a railroad divisional point, but had already established itself as a mining town - and it remained so until the last mine closed down in 1979.

From 1902 until 1930 the Bow Valley, as far east as Exshaw, was made part of the Rocky Mountains Park under federal government jurisdiction. Banff National Park came into being with its current boundaries in 1930, excluding lands to the east to allow for the continuation of mining.

Life and history afterwards moved at a quiet pace for nearly half a century. In 1979, the land on the south side of Highway 1 east of the Canmore town site and west of Deadman's Flats was purchased by Patrician Land Corp.

The purchase included some 3,000 acres of mine property and, in 1981, the company proposed the development of a residential/resort community named Echo. The following year, Patrician had the area structure plan for Echo approved by town council and began work on the Rundleview Estates subdivision, constructing the Rundle water treatment plant.

Then, in 1984, Patrician went into receivership, leaving the receiver to market Rundleview Estates in 1987 and 1988.

A year after the Olympic athletes had left town, Destination Resorts purchased the land and mineral rights, and two years later it had been annexed into the town.

In 1992, the Natural Resources Conservation Board held a public hearing to review the Three Sisters Resort comprehensive environmental impact assessment. During this review, the board decided the property in Wind Valley, at the eastern end, was too ecologically sensitive to allow development.

A land swap occurred which gave the company alternate provincial lands as part of an agreement to keep Wind Valley untouched by heave equipment.

The new agreement was approved by the provincial government in 1993 to allow development on some 2,000 acres for residential and golf course use. It also put in place conditions that included the establishment of wildlife corridors around and through the project area.

From then until 1998, activity on the property was constant. New housing projects like the Homesteads, Lamphouse Rise, The Village Townhouses and Peaks of Grassi came on stream.

During that same year, there was another change of ownership when TGS Properties bought Destination Resorts, which immediately put together a new team for continuation of the project.

Another piece of crucial paperwork was concluded that year between the town and landowners.

The master zoning bylaw was put into effect establishing procedures for all future development. It set limits on the amount of the various forms of housing, including such things as staff housing levels, number of hotel rooms, and the amount of commercial and retail space.

It also recognized wildlife corridors across and along the southwestern edge of the land, obtaining approval by Alberta Environment Protection.

In 1999, the 18-hole Stewart Creek golf course was completed and opened for play, construction was underway on the Three Sisters Parkway, a reservoir was being built, development of the Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood continued, approval was received for the construction of an interchange to hook highway 1 with the parkway (which opened in 2001), and the wildlife underpass was being worked on.

Written by: Three Sisters Mountain Village and published in the Calgary Herald.