The world at large was likely first introduced to Canmore during the 1988WinterOlympic Games-when Europeans laid claim to most of the medals in the various Nordic ski events. But the first European to actually set foot in the Canmore area was explorer David Thompson at the start of the 19th century. In the 1840S, James Sinclair led a Metis group across the Bow River and up the gap between Ha Ling Peak (previously Chinaman's Peak) and Mount Rundle to White Man's Pass on his way to Oregon. Rev. Robert Rundle then followed the Bow far enough upstream a few years later to see the mountain named for him. The Canadian Pacific Railway chugged its way to into the area in the early 1880s, establishing a divisional point 109 kilometres west of Calgary – naming it Canmore after Malcolm of Canmore, the 11th century Scottish king who vanquished Macbeth of Shakespeare fame. A charter was granted to allow coal mining and the McNeill Coal Co. was in operation. A few years later, the population, mostly railroaders and their families, had reached 450 around the depot on the north side of the Bow.

By the late 1880s, 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 federal Rocky Mountains Park. Banff National Park came into being with its current boundaries in1930, 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 I east of) the Canmore town site and west of Deadman's Flats was purchased by Patrician Land Corp. The purchase included some 1,200 hectares 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 1987and 1988.A year after the Olympic athletes 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 heavy equipment. The new agreement was approved by the provincial government in 1993 to allow development 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. 1999, the 18-hole Stewart Creek golf course was completed and opened for play, construction was underway on the Three Sisters Parkway, and a reservoir was built. Development of Peaks of Grassi neighborhood continued, approval was received for the construction of an interchange to hook the Trans-Canada Highway with the parkway (which opened in2001), and the wildlife underpass was being worked on. Construction of Three Sisters Mountain Village, under the watchful eye of Three Sisters Mountain Village Ltd. and then by East West for the past year, has been moving along at a steady pace since, with its selection of alpine-style homes attracting buyers from all over Alberta, other areas of Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Planning is currently being finalized for the retail area of the village, called The Sanctuary, and development of a second golf course is well underway.

Written by: Marty Hope and published in the Calgary Herald.