The Canmore Cemetery - Canmore - Hiking Alberta

 

Some of Canmore, Alberta's rich history is unveiled in the Canmore Cemetery.

 

 

Canmore is located outside the east entrance to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada

The history of Canmore is like an Ugly Duckling, Cinderella affair, where survival triumphs over circumstance, first, as Canmore accidentally morphs from a railroad town in the late 1800s to a major coal mining town, then is saved again after the mines close in 1979 to prosper as a co-host with Calgary for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games

The story is told well in  'A Legacy of Miners and Railway Men'.  The origin of the names 'Canmore' and 'Banff' are derived from a single source.

The Canmore Cemetery lies beneath the morning shadows of the Canmore Hoodoos, tucked in behind the Holiday Inn on Palliser Road a short distance west of Benchlands Trail.  Gravel lot parking outside the entrance provides access to a startling, unique marker past the chain link gate.  Ancient wood and stone protective enclosures at the historical section, in the far left-facing corner, draw like a magnet.

 

 

Many markers are gone but continuing reverence to the long-departed is provided by metal survey pins which correspond to the site map.  Much information remains to be discovered.  Navigation through the area is directed by little yellow flags stuck in the ground. 

Some areas which are less safe, or requiring additional protection, are cordoned off with yellow tape.  Discoveries are much different than expected.  Each cemetery has a unique personality, reflective of the people who have contributed to the development of the area.  To expect this location might be similar to the nearby Old Banff Cemetery would be deceiving.  The stories are quite different.

 

Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada The historical section of the Canmore Cemetery resides beneath the Canmore Hoodoos in Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Learning about the diversity of the immigrant population who left everything to begin a new life in Canada under free but harsh conditions reveals sobering information about sacrifice and hardship.  Early life was very challenging and seldom lasted long.  Within historic cemeteries, a concentration of similar dates often identifies an epidemic of serious illness or disease.  The greatest concentration of the departed is always the most vulnerable, the very young or the elderly.

 

Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Cemetery - Historical Section - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

As always, the most touching markers are the gravestones of the children.  Here, they are modest but a few are also the most elaborate.  Grieving families did the best they could for their children, at their own expense and the sorrow of their loss can only be imagined.

 

 Canmore Cemetery - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Leaving the cemetery, the marker which immediately captures attention on arrival is beautiful, fitting and perfectly placed monument to a young life taken too soon.  It is natural to wonder if the family surname is in any way associated with a very fine dining experience on Canada's East Coast in Shediac, New Brunswick.

 

Canmore Cemetery - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Over several decades, many cemeteries have been visited over widespread locations throughout North America.   A few people find the experience uncomfortable but there is a fascinating collection of information which verifies the dedication, growth and history of a civilization.  Often, there are feelings enveloped by a great sense of peace, calm and relaxation.

The old Wayne Cemetery, in East Coulee near Drumheller remains in shallow existence through the efforts of a tiny hamlet and local historians who choose to keep their rich coal mining history alive.  From that significant and proud effort we can all experience something very important.

 

 

 

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Comments

I understand your love of cemeteries, as a child I was so afraid of them that I would not get out of the vehicle at internments. But something in me changes when I was visiting the east coast when I was 14, the history that can be found and the enveloping peacefulness is truly an amazing experience if you can open yourself up to it! thank you for sharing!

Thank you for your comment, Natasha. Yes, there are a few of us and a large number of sceptics. I can relate completely. For me, it is a profound sense of peace and calm. The locations and the markers tell stories of triumph and tragedy for the region. I do not hear music. No-one speaks to me. My senses are amplified and I am absorbed in the environment. It is very special but difficult to describe. It is a unique feeling, which to date, I have not experienced in any other environment. There is a unique difference. The experience is enhanced by solitude. It works best for me, when I am alone with as few distractions as possible. It is one of the reasons I seek out remote ghost toems and long abandoned cemeteries from time to time. The Canmore Cemetery is interesting from the perspective of early town development into several unique boom and bust cycles. <strong>Canmore</strong> has become a world class destination surrounded by magnificent mountains and hosting a multitude of phenomenal recreational adventures as well as being the gateway to <strong>Banff National Park</strong> and <strong>Kananaskis Country</strong>, Alberta, Canada.

I have always been so fascinated and drawn to gravesites. This summer when I arrived at Dawson City, Yukon, the first two days I spent at the gravesites. I, too, find this a very peaceful and gratifying past time...and I know that many people think I am a little off my rocker to do this kind of thing. I, however, feel a deep connection for some strange reason

Many profound moments have occurred in my life while visiting cemeteries. They give me a sense of peace and belonging to the present. Those who have previously departed did not have the opportunity to enjoy many comforts we take for granted. They could not know, in their quest for a better life for themselves and their children, they were laying the framework for future generations. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past and to search within ourselves for the efforts we are making to potentially improve the lives of future generations. Perhaps the best contribution anyone can make is to be respectful and decent. Not everyone seems to get it and no one perfects it but I still believe the pursuit is worth the effort. Thank you for your effort and your comment, Cathy. Kudos for your efforts to keep the spirit alive. Your volunteers, Denis, Dave, Bruce and Scott deserve special recognition for their contribution to the community.

Thank you for your comment, Dave. I suspect there are many who visit but do not have the opportunity to express their appreciation. I hope visitors will gradually rebuild an important historical resource of information. I made a reference in my post which leads to the register of occupants. I encourage those who have visited past relatives and left evidence of their presence to share stories which might help identify the unknown occupants of other sites. Thank you for your efforts. You have made and continue to make an important contribution to the preservation and restoration of Canmore's past. Through your efforts we can learn about and better appreciate the present. It is a beautiful location in the shadow of the Canmore Hoodoos and the effort has made a big difference. It speaks highly of Canmore's pride.

Wonderful thoughts Barry. As past President of the Museum we wish we had the resources to do the hard work of our 4 Volunteers...... Lead by Denis with Dave, Bruce and Scott. A quiet walk through our cemetery allows one to appreciate comforts, free from disease, peace, and hardships long gone.

I was one of a small group who cleared the underbrush from the historic cemetery this summer. It was overgrown and a real disgrace prior to our efforts. Glad to see that someone appreciates the work we did!

I spent a whole afternoon a few summers ago taking pictures in your cemetery. I have a true love of cemeteries and often visit in the places I travel to. There is something remarkable, wonderful and different about Canmore's cemetery; such a contrast between the historic graves and the natural rock markers currently being used. The site itself is wonderful, peaceful and calm. Loved the trees and benches in sun and shade. Truly one of my happy afternoons!

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