Town of Canmore, Alberta

Canmore, a mountain town in the Bow Valley in southern Alberta between Calgary and Banff has a permanent population of 11,500 and an additional seasonal population of 4,800.

Canmore was the second Canadian community to implement The Natural Step’s community-wide engagement program (after Whistler, BC).

In total, eight organizations – including the municipal government, small businesses, a large hotel, a major developer, the public library, and the local seniors association - participated in a training program based on The Natural Step Framework. As a result, The Bow Valley Sustainability Hub was established in 2006 to support a culture of sustainability in Canmore and the greater Bow Valley. It’s a thriving source of information; a natural focal point for sustainability initiatives in the area and gives seminars to small businesses, real estate agents, developers and home-owners.

The Town of Canmore has also developed an internal sustainability training program for all municipal staff plus decision-making tools to be able to evaluate projects through the lens of The Natural Step Framework.

Another result of The Natural Step partnership is Canmore’s Sustainability Screening Report (SSR). This new process asks developers to come forward before a project is approved with a document that explains the net environmental, social, and economic benefit of their project as it relates to community sustainability. Since implementing the SSR process, the development industry has contributed over $1 million to the Town’s Perpetually Affordable Housing fund, a formal “adoption” of the Canmore Community Daycare for 2 years, $350,000 funding support for the Canmore Community Coop Workshop and Gallery and a potential 8.5 million dollars in local wages.

Read case studies on each of the early adopters by clicking on the following links: the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission; the Canmore Public Library; Polar Pin; the Radisson Hotel; the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company; the Canmore Seniors' Association; and the Three Sisters' Mountain Village.