Town of Canmore

Reshaping Bow Valley Trail

Why are the new hotels located on Bow Valley Trail being constructed so close to the road?


There is a long range vision for re-shaping the nature of Bow Valley Trail from a provincial highway, with deep ditches and limited pedestrian appeal, to a more vibrant commercial district with shaped laneways and pathways for vehicles as well as cyclists and pedestrians.

In 2011 and 2012 the community provided extensive feedback to an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) that Town Council approved in 2013. The community clearly expressed a desire for Bow Valley Trail to become more like a street and less like a highway. One way to accomplish this is to bring buildings closer to the road. These new hotels are the first commercial developments undertaken since the ARP was approved, and fit within the approved guidelines and regulations.

Additionally, new recommendations have been released by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities that encourage keeping new development as far from the railway as possible. Since the main gas line that ran along the south side of Bow Valley Trail was removed, buildings can now be situated closer to the roadway, allowing for parking to be placed behind the building.

As well as the changes to setbacks to hotels and new buildings, there will be changes coming to the pathways. The road surface is about 1.0 to 1.5m above adjacent grade in many areas, and as a result, many of the pathways along Bow Valley Trail are currently located below the road and in the ditch. There are plans to elevate the pathways to bring them closer to the level of the street. There is also an allowance for a future sidewalk to be added, creating separate spaces for cycling and walking.

Bow Valley Trail is the town’s primary location for visitor accommodation and it is envisioned as a welcoming and inviting gateway for visitors that provides connection to the rest of the community.

If you would like to read more on the Land Use Bylaw which allows for setback closer to the road in this area visit:

Bow Valley Trail ARP


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