Mountain Mercato

Mountain Mercato Stock Shelves, Canmore, Alberta, VHS April, 2015

Once in a while I have this experience where I go somewhere with a preconceived notion of what to expect and am completely surprised.....preconceptions dashed.  

Canmore was one of these experiences recently.  I am used to driving through (or past really) this town on the highway to Banff. If I stop at all it is to get gas and some car munchies from the grocery store.  These side excursions off the highway in the past have left a revived impression that this town is a good place to 'blow through'........not much but the usual side of the highway fare.

This last trip to Banff prompted a deeper look, based on my partners impressions from a conference they were at earlier in the year.  Hearing there was a hopping town centre left me unbelieving but curiosity peaked, so we made a deliberate excursion to the original town centre.

I have to say, it was a wonderful surprise.  The sidewalks were jammed with tourists and locals strolling which frankly surprised me, I had always thought Banff was the epicentre of these parts.  There was only a little of the typical tourist shops that Banff seems to be swamped with.  Mostly, the main drag was lined with interesting boutiques, galleries, plenty of cafes that were places you wanted to hang out in, and a potpourri of off beat interesting stuff like retro stores, new and used book stores, and board shops. 

Most were high high quality.......like Mountain Mercato (http://www.mountainmercato.com). Definitely an awesome establishment with amazing import foods and goods, off the dial deli, and a wonderful cafe. Don't 'blow through' Canmore without visiting this establishment, which has been around apparently for nine years now.......not a bad track record for an 'off the road' place. 'The' town centre of Canmore is a great Canadian mix of local service and tourist trade......well worth the time to look around.  And, somewhat smaller in physical scale, so the Canadian Rockies are really present and really spectacular amidst everything normal.