If you aren’t looking for it, Canmore’s history and its identity can be easy to miss. Personally, given my bent and my bias, I don’t think of Canmore solely as a destination or resort community. That’s much too narrow of a description for my liking as it leaves out a whole segment of Canmore’s identity and the very reason this town is here: Coal mining.
But how do we keep the idea that so much of Canmore is still tied to coal? Through the little things. And the new playground at Centennial Park is a great example of that. Off to the side, away from the play structure for the big kids, is a smaller structure featuring a steam locomotive with “The Goat” emblazoned on the side. The Goat served as a switcher locomotive hauling coal cars to and from the mines. It is now at Heritage Park in Calgary.
It’s a small thing, but it is quietly connecting kids and their parents to Canmore’s mining history. These ties go a long way in planting seeds. It may not mean much in the day-to-day, but in the long term all these little seeds add up to help create our sense of place through history. So now we have The Goat in Centennial Park, Frank Kernick’s recreated Canmore Opera House in Spring Creek Mountain Village and the Union Hall restoration project all working towards the same thing: A more powerful identity through our history.
If we’re looking to brand Canmore, what better brand than our history and tying Canmore of today with Canmore of yesterday?