Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre 


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Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre

Canmore Museum & Geoscience CentreGeorge and Thomas, coal-miners in Canmore’s No. 1 coal mine, are just coming off their shift. They hang up the miner’s checks that indicate they are no longer underground. “That was a close call today,” says George. “I thought I was a goner. That rock came tumbling down just a foot away and made quite a hole. All that black powder just seemed to explode in my face. I could barely breathe. The fire boss told me it was a chunk of solid iron-ore, part of a petrified tree. Somewhere between 135 million and 160 million years old.” “Well, George,” says Tom, “there are some days that I feel that old.” Miners were advised to watch out for these heavy rocks that were embedded in the coal seam sides as they could fall out and cause injury or death, even if the men were wearing helmets.

Canmore Museum & Geoscience CentreMost museums have some very old items in their collections, often a hundred years old or maybe a bit older. The Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre easily beats that record. Amongst their collections is a 1500-pound petrified tree stump that once grew in the giant inland sea (that once covered modern-day Canmore?) where Canmore now exists. Further evidence of the ancient marine environment exists in the vast number of marine fossils that were brought to the surface when the earth was thrusted and folded and formed the Rockies. The content of those swampy seas was eventually transformed into coal, a fossil fuel. It was the discovery of coal that led to the development of Canmore. 

The Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre focuses on the coming together of mountains and people, past and present. Its exhibits help visitors understand the geological formations of the area with collections of fossils and minerals. It also showcases the history of coal mining and influence of the railway on developing this area. An original log cabin that was the NWMP barracks is also part of the heritage collections.

Canmore Museum & Geoscience CentreCanmore Museum & Geoscience Centre

Permanent Collections

  • Canmore Museum & Geoscience CentreGeoscience Centre (fossils, minerals, survey maps)
    • Displays and videos describing the formation of the Rockies, Rat’s Nest Cave, the Devonian reef, and Canmore’s coal
  • Permanent display: Early Canmore: Boxcars and Coaldiggers
  • Coal mining (mining safety equipment, miner’s book of names, dynamite boxes, Davy lamps, tools, mining equipment, photographs)
  • Canadian Pacific Railway
  • 1893 NWMP barracks
    • Built as a response to early Canmore law and order problems
    • Visit the restored mud chinked log barracks with historic furnishings, heritage garden, and tea room
  • 1988 Calgary Olympics (Hidy and Howdy mascots, torches, uniforms)
  • Grant Mossop Research Library – covers both geology and heritage of the region


  • Canmore Museum & Geoscience CentreSchool tours – curriculum links to geology, community, history
  • Geological tours or Geology- and Heritage-based walking tours
  • Geoscience Open House
  • Children’s Summer Geology Camp (day- and week-long)
    • Stones ‘n’ Bones (ages 10-12)
    • Diggin’ Rocks (ages 6-9)
  • Rock and fossil clinics
  • Barracks heritage program – Pioneer Days
  • Tea room
  • Roman Piwowar Heritage Garden
  • Grant Mossop Research Library – covers both geology and heritage of the region