top of page

Where to live: Canmore or Banff?

Both Canmore and Banff are world-class mountain resort destinations that draw tourists in from all corners of the planet. While both towns see a large influx of visitors during the peak summer season, Banff certainly has more name recognition with tourists. Visitors can experience fun shopping on Banff Ave., beautiful mountain scenery, and the turquoise blue lakes that Banff National Park is world renowned for. While the town of Banff has a smaller full-time population than Canmore, it can be a more difficult place to secure a property. Compared to other mountain resort towns in North America, Canmore is a reasonably affordable place to live, and boasts a quality of life that is second to none.

To visitors not familiar with the Bow Valley, Banff may seem like the most desirable place to purchase property if you want to live the mountain dream. But Canmore is only 15 minutes from Banff and has a lot to offer itself, from less restrictive occupancy rules, to more amenities and a decidedly more residential feel.


Nestled in the heart of the Bow Valley, the Town of Canmore has an approximate full-time population of 14,500 people. Due to its proximity to Banff and the surrounding mountain ranges, Canmore has become a vibrant resort town shared by an eclectic mix of artisans, athletes, and outdoor enthusiasts. Canmore has a relaxed energy, small town charm, and a wealth of leisure and recreational activities.

Canmore truly is a great place to call home. It has a surprising amount of entertainment, dining and shopping amenities for a small town. It's location, and view of the Canadian Rockies doesn't exactly hurt, either! From most places in town, you can get an amazing view of (arguably) the most photographed mountain in the entire Canadian Rockies - the Three Sisters.

As for owning a property in Canmore, it's not uncommon for prospective homeowners to first look into buying in Banff before realizing that Canmore is not only more owner-friendly, but more residential as well. That's not to say that Banff isn't a great place to live, but even with Canmore's specialized zoning rules, it's still a much easier market to navigate for full-time residents, vacation home buyers, and real estate investors.

Canmore real estate does often suffer from low inventory due to land limitations and it being a popular place to both live and invest in. It's not uncommon for a great property to sell within a few days (or even hours!) of being listed, with multiple offers. The house hunt here can be difficult, and may take longer than your used to, but the reward of securing a beautiful property is well worth it!


Banff is a world-renowned mountain resort town, and for good reason. It has a beautiful setting, and draws in tourists from all side of the planet to enjoy the great food and beverage culture, as well as the million dollar mountain views and active lifestyle. It's also close to lots of the best hiking, biking, canoeing, paddle boarding, skiing, etc. that Banff National Park has to offer.

Purchasing a property in Banff does come with one major caveat, however. You must have a need to reside in Banff to actually occupy the property.

To clarify on that, to occupy a property in Banff, you need to work in Banff. The Parks Canada regulation is called eligible residency. It's in place to ensure housing is available to people in the community and not used simply as vacation properties. The Town of Banff is even smaller than Canmore (with an estimated population of 8,500) and has very little land left to develop, so your house hunt is likely to be that much more difficult.

The Bow Valley is a great place to live, and offers a lifestyle that is unmatched anywhere else in Canada! Both Banff and Canmore have a great food and beverage culture, and views that are second to none! There are countless outdoor activities to enjoy right out your back door. Check out 6 Scenic Hikes to do for All Skill Levels!

bottom of page