Felicia and Jeff’s wedding in the mountains a couple of weeks ago was the perfect excuse for Mack and I to spend a few additional days in Canmore. While we stopped in the town two years ago en route to Lake Louise, it was winter, so we were keen to explore some of what it had to offer in the peak of summer.
Travelling with a baby can be tricky, but as we’re learning, giving yourself a lot of time, and going with the flow are the lessons we’ve taken to heart so far. It has meant not doing as much as we were used to on vacations past – one or two activities per day are more than enough. So we’ve had to choose even more wisely!
It was still pretty smoky while we were in Canmore, so we limited ourselves to one hike. The Grassi Lakes hike seemed to be one of the more reasonable ones, recognizing that Mack would be carrying a 16 pound weight up the slope. It was a nicely shady path for the most part, which we appreciated for Emily (and for us!).
Hiking with baby
We’ve also found that it’s often more convenient to have meals at home, so we’re definitely eating out a lot less when travelling. However, we did plan to visit the Canmore Mountain Market, which was within walking distance of our AirBnB.
Canmore Mountain Market
While they didn’t have the breadth of vendors I was expecting, I always enjoy browsing the stalls and seeing what local products are on offer. It was also clear there are many regulars who frequent the market, not just tourists like us.
Crepe with curried beef and mustard greens
We bought lunch from a couple of the food trucks, and my savoury crepe with curried beef and mustard greens turned out to be the best thing I had to eat in Canmore. Mack couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample a coffee from The Rocky Bean Co., which brews its coffee in a converted VW van.
The Rocky Bean Co.
We did venture out to Blake for dinner one night (also within walking distance of our flat). Their kitchen was really quick, but overall, we found the portions to be small and quality inconsistent (the fried chicken, for instance, was disappointingly dry). The most interesting dish was their ramen cacio e pepe – the noodles were a touch overdone, but the flavours were there.
Ramen cacio e pepe from Blake
On our way out of town, we had lunch at Rocky Mountain Flatbread. The prices were reasonable at lunch (not something that can be said of all establishments in Canmore), and while we did appreciate that they sourced many of their ingredients locally, the pizzas weren’t particularly memorable.
Pizzas from Rocky Mountain Flatbread
The highlight of our stay surprisingly had nothing to do with food. I’d had my eye on doing a workshop tour at the Rocky Mountain Soap Company factory for some time, but the timing hadn’t worked out prior to this trip. Although the tour tickets are priced at $25, the value is more than covered – $20 is returned in the form of a voucher that can be used at any of their stores, while the product samples we received exceeded the remaining $5 cost.
We learned that edible, cornstarch-based packing peanuts exist
It was a neat experience to tour the factory and see where all of the products are made. Some aspects definitely reminded me of food – the racks of soap bars drying, for instance, recalled the cheese aging rooms I’ve visited in the past.
Soap drying room
I was astonished to see just how much of their products are made and packaged by hand (their bath bombs, for instance, are all individually hand-pressed). It is undoubtedly a part of their brand, but it’s something hard to fathom as most companies are moving towards automation, not away from it.
We also had the opportunity to make our own bath salts, customizing with our choice of essential oil scents and herbal add-ins.
Making lavender and orange-scented bath salts
I’d definitely recommend the tour! As a bonus, a couple of other noteworthy businesses are located in the same vicinity as the factory, so it makes it a worthwhile trek just outside of town. After the tour, we walked over to Valbella (known for their meat products), and Mountain Blends Coffee Roasters to pick up some food souvenirs for home.
It was a quick trip to be sure, but won’t be our last to the mountains with Emily!