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Downtown Banff or Canmore?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Taking a group to canada in march and finding a few good houses for rent in both downtown banff and canmore. If anybody has visited this area, can you give me some advice on which area is better to stay? We would like to be near some bars/pubs/restaurants/shopping, although we are well aware that neither town is "booming" Thanks!
post #2 of 14
I think Banff has more pubs, shopping and nightlife than Canmore. Canmore has more condos and houses for rent at better prices. With the poor exchange rate for US bucks you may want to consider Canmore.

Lift tickets are really expensive.
post #3 of 14
Don't forget the Banff park access - around $125 CA for the week
post #4 of 14

Canmore vs. Banff

I thought Canmore was a bit far from Banff. If you stay in Banff you will be close to all the restaurants and bars...it is very touristy, but I thought in a kind of nice way. Also, if you want to ski Lake Louise from Canmore you will have quite a ride. I thought it was cool to see elk walking around on the quieter streets of Banff. There are some hotels and condos that are away from all the hub-bub of the tourist area. Wherever you stay you will have a great time. The area has been designated as a World Gem or something like that by the UN. I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to.
post #5 of 14

Banff vs. Canmore

I figure if there was ever a thread that I should chime in on, this is the one. I live in Canmore and have worked in Banff for the last three years as an alpine race coach.

Firstly, Canmore and Banff are very close, about 20kms or a 15 minute drive. The drive is not really an issue, however all the local skiing is located west of Banff, so Banff is closer. Banff also has much more in the way of nightlife, shopping and "ski town" feel, but as mentioned already, it will be slightly more expensive. Many of the resorts do pickups for their shuttle service in both Canmore & Banff, but Banff has more frequent pickups and easier access as all the hotels are primarily located on one main street (Banff Ave.)

For locals, Canmore became popular because of the restrictions on developing, owning and living in Banff. If you're looking for quieter and slightly cheaper, but don't mind an extra 15 mins drive, it's the place to be.

Overall, I would encourage anyone visiting the Bow Valley to stay in Banff. It's got more character, more to see, and it's closer to the skiing. 5 mins to the lifts at Norquay, 10-15 mins to the lifts at Sunshine, 45ish to the lifts at Lake Louise. The skiing is within Banff National Park, so regardless of whether you stay in Canmore or Banff, you're going to have to buy a park pass.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

thanks...now what about houses for rent?

thanks for the input...much needed and much appreciated. our group will be anywhere from 8-12 adults and in years past we always rented a large house. we did park city last year, and from my research, renting a house in banff is going to be cheaper than anything we found in PC. i have google banff lodging/housese until i went crosseyed...found some good spots but nothing we are 100% sold on. any inside info on some houses for rent?
post #7 of 14
check the vrbo.com website for house rentals
they do all over the world. SOme in Banff from my last perusal of the web site.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by teejaytee View Post
We would like to be near some bars/pubs/restaurants/shopping, although we are well aware that neither town is "booming" Thanks!
Huh??? Banff is one of the most popular and busiest tourist towns in the world.

Canmore probably has a lot more houses available for rent, by virtue of the fact the population is almost double that of Banff, but be aware that town bylaws restrict rentals of private homes to no less than 28 days (although many owners fly under the radar). The positive side is that winter is considered low season, so prices are at their best during ski season. How's that for a reversal?
post #9 of 14

Other options

You might also want to check out the 2 bedroom + loft condos at Hidden Ridge Resort in Banff. Base price for a unit that will sleep up to 10 is $439 per night. That looks pretty comparable with what I saw on the Vacation rental sites for a house. No info on what the ski packages might be, but you can check out Skibig3.com and generate a quote including ski passes.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

banff B&B...

any of you banff guru's know anything about this place? good deal, west side of town, and it will easily accommodate 10-12... let me know if you are familiar.

http://www.vrbo.com/82851
post #11 of 14
I have stayed in both towns. As serveral have pointed out, Canmore is a real town and Banff is a tourist town in every sense of the word. If you want to be able to walk to a large selection of bars and restaruants and don't mind paying higher prices then Banff is a typical vacation destination, and an exceptionally beautiful spot. If you want cheaper prices, a more laid back atmosphere, nice people and more of a real town experience then Canmore is close enough that the little extra drive to the ski areas doesn't matter. I don't know about the Park Pass expense if you are driving in and out eveyday for a week, which might be a consideration.
post #12 of 14
It's been almost ten years now, but I stayed in Canmore for a week on my honeymoon. I thought Banff was great to visit, but I much preferred Canmore to stay in (this was in June, so the outdoor entertainment options were obviously different). There are certainly more bars and restaurants in Banff, but there was no shortage in Canmore. When I go back, I'll stay in Canmore again.
post #13 of 14
If this is going to be the first visit to the Banff area by most of your group, I would suggest staying in Banff. It has the ski town ambiance that will definitely be appreciated by your group. As well, the logistics and choices for the group going out for dinner, and then cruising the bars after (or before), walking the main street, checking out the ski shops and people watching, will be simpler in Banff. Canmore can give a first-time group the feeling that they are a little isolated from the main action.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by empressdiver View Post
If this is going to be the first visit to the Banff area by most of your group, I would suggest staying in Banff. It has the ski town ambiance that will definitely be appreciated by your group. As well, the logistics and choices for the group going out for dinner, and then cruising the bars after (or before), walking the main street, checking out the ski shops and people watching, will be simpler in Banff. Canmore can give a first-time group the feeling that they are a little isolated from the main action.
Good points. I think you nailed it.
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