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Canmore Again

Last week, camera in hand, I strolled around Canmore in a thoughtful way, walking mostly on the pathways that riddle that mountain town. I’ve been to Canmore more in the past ten years than I think I have in all my life to date, always with my eye open for images. Given that, whatever did I think I was going to accomplish this time, photographically that is?

Recently I’ve been reading and watching various experienced, and might I say ‘mature’, photographers communicating their thoughts on returning to the same location in order to gather photographic assets hidden from a cursory look. In Canmore it is hard not to be overwhelmed by mountain views. I find it natural to include those mountains in my photographs, with a special leaning toward the Three Sisters peaks. Nevertheless, on this walkabout I was determined to keep my eyes down and think differently about what I saw. I must have made fifty or sixty images that day, but two stood out for me once I looked carefully at all of them during post processing.

These two, completed images I visualised as I walked along the Spur Line Trail between the old Canmore Engine Bridge and Railway Avenue. My eye was no doubt aided by the fact that this part of the trail is so heavily treed that I couldn’t see the mountains most of the time.

Spur Line Corridor:

Tree Tunnel - Canmore

The Spur Line is the old roadbed of the rail line spur that used to connect the main CPR tracks in the centre of the valley to the Canmore Mines site. One of the steam engines that used to ply this spur line is now pulling passengers around Heritage Park in Calgary. The coal from the mine was high quality anthracite and, with its low ash property, was desired by the CPR for their steam engines.

The mine was closed in 1979 and the tracks removed. The spur line roadbed could have been ploughed flat and melded into the development of the area for housing, but it wasn’t, thankfully. It now offers this peaceful corridor for walkers and cyclists through the older part of the town.

I stopped to talk to a local who was taking care of the section of the pathway behind her house. She explained to me how the old rail line roadbed had been developed for walkers. To help define the path, residents looked for ways to obtain trees to line each side. She said that the Three Sisters Development Group agreed to donate saplings to line that path. The town council agreed to dig in the saplings and the final result is the wonderfully lined path you see in the image above.

Canmore Pond Environs:

Stillness - Canmore Pond

This pond lies central in the older part of Canmore. It is bordered by the Spur Line Trail, some rather impressive homes, 7th Avenue, and Mallard Alley—fairly inconsequential at first glance. It is graced with crystal clear water and evergreen trees. In the winter, it is set up as an ice skating rink. In one corner is this dilapidated pier, which I saw as aesthetic, in a rustic sense.

The red in the water beneath the pier is not something mysterious at the bottom of the pond, just a reflection of the houses behind the pier and just out of the image.

A visit to Le Fournil Bakery for much deserved baked treats and coffee rounded out a relaxing day in Canmore.

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Robert MacLeod
Robert MacLeod
Jul 13, 2021

These paths are well known to locals both for walking & biking. I have a few pics from the boardwalk portion that are in keeping with these in your essay. That bakery is special and one of our favourite places to stop. Bob MacLeod

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