Connect Downtown: Planning a Vibrant Town Centre

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Connect Downtown: Planning a Vibrant Town Centre is a planning project that will create an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) for Canmore’s downtown to reimagine how people can access, gather, and interact with a network of public spaces to support a thriving mixed-use area over the long term.

The project is divided into several key milestones where we will seek input from the public. From November 2023 to March 2024 in the initial Vision phase, we invited the public to share their current experiences downtown and their priorities for the future. We had over 1,600 direct interactions with a diverse representation of youth, individuals, community organizations, and businesses—including 467 responses to our online survey and 22 stakeholders representing 14 community organizations representing a diverse range of sectors at our stakeholder workshop.

We saw a cohesive vision for the future of downtown emerge based on the feedback we received. We heard that the public would like to see a future downtown that:

  • Aligns with our draft core values and potential ‘Big Ideas’
  • Is a place of vibrancy year-round,
  • Is walkable and people-focused,
  • Has a strong sense of place and maintains its mountain-town character,
  • Offers places to gather,
  • Provides enhanced opportunities to connect with nature in trails and parks,
  • Demonstrates leadership in sustainability,
  • Offers a diversity of retail and services, and
  • Moves people and vehicles efficiently.

Following the Vision phase, we finalized a document that will guide the next steps of the project. You can review the resulting Vision Document and What We Heard Report that reflect the input we received from the community and will guide the subsequent phases of the project.


A Plan for The Future of Our Downtown

An ARP lays out a comprehensive vision supported by a land use concept, a public realm plan, and a set of supporting development policies that will work in unison over the next 25 years to the year 2050.

The project's name, Connect Downtown: Planning a Vibrant Town Centre, reflects the intent of the plan: to reimagine how people can access, gather, and interact with a network of public spaces to support a thriving mixed-use area over the long term.

Connect Downtown will span 18 months from public launch to completion with a final product — an ARP— that will explore a variety of interconnected questions, including:

    • What is the future function and role of Main Street?
    • What is the look and feel of the public realm and open space network?
    • Where is future development and what should it look?
    • Are there opportunities to achieve more attainable housing?
    • What is the future demand for services and infrastructure?
    • What will the transportation network and transit system look like?
    • How can the long-term demand and supply of parking be managed?


Study Area

The study area is the general area that will be examined through the planning process. Connect Downtown considers a study area beyond the current downtown commercial core to acknowledge the impacts that changes to the Main Street and the commercial area of Downtown may have on the surrounding community.

While we anticipate that only certain locations within the study area will be identified for land use changes (which will be informed by research, analysis, and engagement), this approach allows us to consider the experience of Downtown as a whole.



Learn More


Connect Downtown: Planning a Vibrant Town Centre is a planning project that will create an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) for Canmore’s downtown to reimagine how people can access, gather, and interact with a network of public spaces to support a thriving mixed-use area over the long term.

The project is divided into several key milestones where we will seek input from the public. From November 2023 to March 2024 in the initial Vision phase, we invited the public to share their current experiences downtown and their priorities for the future. We had over 1,600 direct interactions with a diverse representation of youth, individuals, community organizations, and businesses—including 467 responses to our online survey and 22 stakeholders representing 14 community organizations representing a diverse range of sectors at our stakeholder workshop.

We saw a cohesive vision for the future of downtown emerge based on the feedback we received. We heard that the public would like to see a future downtown that:

  • Aligns with our draft core values and potential ‘Big Ideas’
  • Is a place of vibrancy year-round,
  • Is walkable and people-focused,
  • Has a strong sense of place and maintains its mountain-town character,
  • Offers places to gather,
  • Provides enhanced opportunities to connect with nature in trails and parks,
  • Demonstrates leadership in sustainability,
  • Offers a diversity of retail and services, and
  • Moves people and vehicles efficiently.

Following the Vision phase, we finalized a document that will guide the next steps of the project. You can review the resulting Vision Document and What We Heard Report that reflect the input we received from the community and will guide the subsequent phases of the project.


A Plan for The Future of Our Downtown

An ARP lays out a comprehensive vision supported by a land use concept, a public realm plan, and a set of supporting development policies that will work in unison over the next 25 years to the year 2050.

The project's name, Connect Downtown: Planning a Vibrant Town Centre, reflects the intent of the plan: to reimagine how people can access, gather, and interact with a network of public spaces to support a thriving mixed-use area over the long term.

Connect Downtown will span 18 months from public launch to completion with a final product — an ARP— that will explore a variety of interconnected questions, including:

    • What is the future function and role of Main Street?
    • What is the look and feel of the public realm and open space network?
    • Where is future development and what should it look?
    • Are there opportunities to achieve more attainable housing?
    • What is the future demand for services and infrastructure?
    • What will the transportation network and transit system look like?
    • How can the long-term demand and supply of parking be managed?


Study Area

The study area is the general area that will be examined through the planning process. Connect Downtown considers a study area beyond the current downtown commercial core to acknowledge the impacts that changes to the Main Street and the commercial area of Downtown may have on the surrounding community.

While we anticipate that only certain locations within the study area will be identified for land use changes (which will be informed by research, analysis, and engagement), this approach allows us to consider the experience of Downtown as a whole.



Learn More


  • Vision Document and What We Heard Report Released

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    On May 21, 2024, we presented the final Vision Document with the supporting What We Heard Report to Council.

    Connect Downtown publicly launched in October 2023 and is anticipated to be completed by Spring 2025.The first public-facing phase of work was the “Visioning” phase, which involved broad community engagement and research to understand what people value downtown and what opportunities there are for improvement. In total, more than 1,600 direct interactions with the community and stakeholders helped improve our understanding of what is working downtown today, what people want to see changed, and what is possible in the future.

    The results from this phase of work supported the creation of a community vision for the future of downtown, which includes a vision statement, six core values, and ten big ideas. Together, these elements will be used to inform the development of draft policy in the “Options” phase of work that will happen next.

    This report articulates this community vision along with a detailed summary of what we heard through engagement.

  • Close of Visioning Phase

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    Thank you to everyone who participated in the Visioning phase of the project. Over 3000 people participated in this phase of the project, including online tools, classroom workshops, and a downtown-wide music festival. Your contributions are essential in shaping the future of our community.

    We are currently reviewing feedback received during the process and will release a comprehensive What We Heard Report alongside a Visioning Document later this spring.

    Follow this page as we prepare for the next engagement phase of the project this summer where we will seek your input on potential policy options for downtown.

  • A Wrap on the Warm Up!

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    THAT’S A WRAP!

    We are blown away, Canmore! Thank you to everyone who came out to support local music for the first-ever Warm Up! This weekend was a testament to the wonderful community we get to call home.

    We also saw over 800 people share their vision for the future of downtown as part of Connect Downtown to help shape a future that can host more great events like this one.

    A BIG thank you to our venues:


    And we couldn't have done it without our partner Canmore Folk Music Festival, volunteers, emcees, and YOU!

  • What's Your Big Idea for Downtown Canmore?

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    We are developing an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) to create a long-term plan for the Downtown’s future called, Connect Downtown: Planning for a Vibrant Town Centre.

    As we develop the plan, there is an opportunity for the public to shape the future experience downtown – how people travel, gather, and interact with the space. Throughout 2024, there will be several key milestones for the public to provide input.

    There are many ways that you can participate:

    We invite you to tell us about your current experience, share what is important to you, and imagine what you want to see in the Downtown of 2050. Until March 1, there are many ways you can share your voice:

    • Take our survey for a chance to win a $100 gift card to a downtown business of your choice.

    • Drop a pin or a photo on our interactive map, add a big idea for downtown on our digital sounding board, or ask our Planning Team a question about the process.

    • Attend The Warm Up, presented with the Canmore Folk Music Festival on Feb. 9. Catch fresh tracks from your favourite local artists and share your thoughts about the future of downtown in person at our pop-up engagement for another chance to win a $100 gift card to a downtown business of your choice.

    • Be part of the conversation at our online workshop on Feb. 21 from 6-8 p.m. Space is limited. Reserve your spot now at https://forms.office.com/r/Rz9Gw80KgW

  • Save the Date for: The Warm Up - Catch Fresh Tracks Downtown Canmore

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    We're teaming up with the Canmore Folk Music Festival to present The Warm Up: a micro music festival on the evening of Friday, Feb. 9 to kick off our public engagement for Connect Downtown.

    Shake the frost and cozy into an evening of local music in intimate venues at The Warm Up, presented by the Canmore Folk Music Festival and the Town of Canmore as part of the Connect Downtown project to imagine the future of our town centre.

    One night. 11 artists. Four venues—all within a snowball’s throw in downtown Canmore.

    Event Schedule:

    • 6- 9:30 p.m. The Warm Up Hub at the Civic Centre Plaza
    • 7-10 p.m. Concerts at four downtown venues: Stonewaters, Communitea, Carter-Ryan Gallery, and the ArtsPlace
    • 9:30-10:30 p.m. Stonewaters Après Party


    Line Up:

    • Amelie Patterson, Cave Arcade, Mike Tod, and more!

    Between musical sets at iconic local venues to catch all your favourite local artists, grab cocoa at the Warm Up Hub in the Civic Centre Plaza. While you’re there, share your vision for the future of downtown at our Connect Downtown engagement for a chance to win a $100 giftcard to a downtown business of your choice.

    The Warm Up is free, but space is as limited as fresh tracks on a powder day. Arrive early to lock down that first-chair feeling! If a concert is full, wander to the next venue like you would festival stages since performances are happening throughout the night at each location.

    Then don’t miss the Après Party at Stonewaters from 9:30-10:30 p.m. to close out the night.

    Learn more about Connect Downtown at mycanmore.ca/connectdowntown
    For schedule and full event details, visit: canmorefolkfestival.com/the-warm-up

Page last updated: 11 Jun 2024, 04:52 PM