Canmore’s Spring Creek uses geothermal to lessen its environmental footprint

As the Alberta government doubles down on solar power alternatives through policy and rebates, some wonder if geothermal will also receive the same kind of attention.

Frank Kernick, developer of Canmore’s multi-million-dollar Spring Creek hopes the provincial government will help offset geothermal installation costs through a rebate program, similar to the Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

Just a short walk from downtown Canmore, Spring Creek is a blend of condominium homes, villas, estate homes, an active-living seniors’ residence and a luxury mountain lodge with vacation suites. It’s being developed at the junction of Spring Creek and Policeman’s Creek on land that has been in the Kernick family for three generations.

Spring Creek has implemented geothermal heating and cooling technology in its two newest additions to the successful community — the Creekstone Mountain Lodge condominium and the $37-million Malcolm Hotel and Conference Centre.

“The introduction of geothermal systems into these two projects will add to the estimated 450 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that are already being eliminated, and will bring the new total to 600 tonnes annually,” said Kernick.

The decision to bring geothermal technology to the Spring Creek development was made before Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP government introduced its carbon tax., he adds.

Last May, Alberta’s Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips introduced Bill 20: the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, which implemented a carbon levy on Albertans and Alberta businesses.

Phillips said that under the act, revenues generated through the carbon levy could only be used for: initiatives related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; supporting Alberta’s ability to adapt to climate change; and providing rebates or adjustments related to the carbon levy to consumers, businesses and communities.

“Spring Creek homeowners will save approximately $4,000 in carbon taxation in 2017 for these two buildings, while eliminating 150 tonnes of greenhouse gases,” said Kernick.

Geothermal heating and cooling works by using heat pumps to move heat into and out of the earth, by circulating fluid through a ground loop. The reservoir of stored and available heat energy is created from the thermal energy from the sun acting on the earth, adds John Managh of Hellbent Geothermal, which installed the system.

Both Creekstone Mountain Lodge – which will have 56 condominium residences over four storeys – and the Malcolm Hotel and Conference Centre – with 124 rooms and 6,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space – are expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2018.

“Because of the strong aquifer in Canmore, ground-source cooling for air conditioning will be much cheaper to run as the temperatures of ground water can be used to cool the building. No other energy needs to be used – making it a good, green energy,” said Terry Burch, construction vice-president for Spring Creek.

Working to protect the environment by reducing the financial and health impacts of emissions, Spring Creek has focused on green building technology. In fact, one of the development’s initial condo buildings was the first apartment in Canmore to be certified as Built Green.

At buildout, it is estimated by there will be as many as 2,500 residences at Spring Creek. The project kicked off in 2006 and is now into its fifth phase of development.

Source Article by Marty Hope

142-year-old McDougall Church near Morley destroyed by blaze

If you have ever driven along the 2A Highway from Canmore to Cochrane you would have driven by this small but very pretty and historic Church nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Our hearts go out to the Historical Society that managed the Church and to the Wedding couples that had planned their summer weddings here.  ~ Team Canmore


An historic church west of Calgary, nearly as old as Canada, was destroyed in a Monday morning fire.

The McDougall Memorial Church, built in 1875 by Rev. George McDougall and situated off Highway 1A about two kilometres east of Morley, was left a smoking ruin as firefighters and RCMP contained the site.

McDougall Stoney Mission Society curator Ann McDougall, fearing the blaze was the work of arsonists, said it’s a devastating loss.

“I can’t believe who (someone) would do such a thing, but I really am too upset to make any statement at this time,” said the direct descendant of the George McDougall.

Sarah Harvey, a volunteer and secretary of the board of directors with the church, echoed McDougall’s fear the cause was arson. She’s aware of at least one attempted arson a few years ago.

“Someone stuffed newspapers between the doors and tried to light it on fire,” she said. “But someone across the highway saw the smoke and alerted the fire department.”

Harvey said they also have break-ins every year.

“We’ve always worried about this church and where it is. It’s so vulnerable out here, away in the middle of nowhere. There’s no security,” she said.

Al Hogarth, Exshaw fire captain, said the cause of the blaze is currently under investigation and could not comment on whether they suspect it was arson.

Hogarth said the fire crews were called in around 3:57 a.m. to respond to the fire.

“By the time we got there it was fully involved, the roof was gone,” he said.

“It took us about five hours to get it out.”

The church had architectural significance as the first carpenter’s gothic-style building still standing in Alberta on its original site.

It has been a long-standing symbol of Morleyville, the first pioneer settlement in Alberta. It also includes the archeological remains of mission structures at the site.

In 1979 it was designated as a historic site by the United Church of Canada and the Alberta government.

The church has been used in a number of movies, including The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford starring Brad Pitt.

Members of the McDougall Stoney Mission Society were at the church this past weekend cleaning and preparing for summer events. It was set to open next weekend with a wedding scheduled for Friday.

Harvey said the Cochrane-Morley residents will be greatly affected by the fire.

“I just had a lady here that got married in 1977 and she’s pretty beside herself,” said Harvey. “I’ve already had a bunch of residents from Morley stop by and they’re the ones who live here, they’re the ones who the church was built for 142 years ago.”

As far as rebuilding goes, it’s too early to tell.

“When I came here on the drive I was thinking maybe we could salvage the pianos, maybe we can salvage the display case. But now I’m thinking … oh my God it melted our stove,” said Harvey.

ANNA JUNKER - Global News

Balancing Tourism with Conservation in Banff National Park

Join John this episode for a hard-hitting look at the impact mass tourism and development has had on the wolves of Banff National Park.

Get exposed to the world of one of Canada's premier professional wildlife and nature photographers. EXPOSED with John E. Marriott is the culmination of his life’s work — a documentary-style, no-holds-barred web series in which John profiles his favourite locations and subjects, shares tips and how-tos for aspiring photographers, and tackles the important and controversial issues in wildlife conservation.

Visit John's website for more EXPOSED videos.

A guide to the ultimate outdoor fête

Summer will come in spite of the snow we had this morning.  CBC has posted this great article on the best backyard spring and summer fun.  This gives us something to look forward to when spring is sprung in the mountains.

Summer is a great excuse to dine al fresco! And it's easier to fit more people in the backyard than in the dining room, right? When you're planning a party, think about answering these questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why. Here are some simple steps to creating an easy and enjoyable summer soirée.

Create zones

Set up zones in a triangle formation. The bar should be the first 'station' your guests see when they arrive. Food should be as far from the bar as possible because it keeps people moving throughout the space. The top or bottom of your triangle can be a dessert table, games table or even a seating area.

Feature a bar

A planter can function as a chic and practical ice bucket, instead of using coolers. Rather than planning a separate cocktail, have sparkling water on hand – this adds a celebratory feel.

As for beverages, keep the selection simple with wine and beer. You can create height on your bar using 'metro' shelving, available at most big box stores. You may even already have one in your home! Since you'll be outside, we recommend using hearty glassware & melamine dishes, such as the tableware we got at Pier 1 Imports.

Opt for simple food

When it comes to outdoor dining, it's best to serve family style or standing buffet rather than plated. You can do a DIY table, such as a taco bar, burger bar, or ice cream bar, which makes the dining experience fun and interactive. Be sure to stack extra plates, napkins, etc on top of the shelf. For simple cleanup, designate a bin for dirty dishes. And, for an added touch that's also super efficient, pre-wrap cutlery in linen napkins for guests.

Signs add a great touch to list the event menu, or the ingredients in a signature cocktail. They're helpful for guests who have allergies and intolerances. You can also use mini chalkboards or picture frames. Write directly on the glass of the picture frame with a dry erase marker, and you can easily re-use it next time.

Seating is key

Create various designated seating areas for your guests to mingle. You can use an outdoor rug on the grass to delineate another seating area. Don't be afraid to bring indoor furniture outside, like floor cushions and poufs, such as these ones we got from Home Sense. It's also thoughtful to fill a decorative basket with blankets that guests can wrap around their shoulders as the night cools off, or that they can use to spread out on the grass to create more seating.

Layered lighting

Adding different sources of lighting helps create an intimate feel and a festive mood in your space. Add some accent lighting throughout with some lanterns, such as these ones from the S&C Collection. We also love these string lights from Home Depot.

Keep it tidy

Make places for garbage, food waste and recycling attractive and close by. You can use cool planters or laundry hampers, and it will help your cleanup at the end of the night!

You can also keep guests comfortable by placing attractive mosquito zappers in various areas around the yard.

Go green

Cedars are a great way to hide ugly spots and create faux walls. Faux hedges are also super practical because they last for years and although they're pricey, they're totally worth it!

Set the mood

For ambiance, turn music on before the first guests arrive. This makes the early birds feel like the party is in full swing. Opt for speakers that look like rocks, as they hide nicely in the yard. Flowers are also a great way to add a festive touch. You can do arrangements a day in advance to save time and to allow for blossoms to open.

Source CBC Life

Gardening, Mountain Style

Home Grown in Canmore
I overheard someone at the local nursery say... no, you can't grow veggies this high up in the mountains. I've tried, failed, and also had some good success. If I can do it, you can, too.

Here are a few things I've learned along the way:

Mountain growing seasons are very short so we gardeners need to get creative.

The veggies we need to grow are rarely, if ever, featured in nurseries. So, it's easy to get the impression that vegetable gardening is not possible in the mountains.

When I first started gardening, I began by searching online for Russian hybrid tomatoes. Why Russia? Well, if they can grow tomatoes in Siberia I imagine we can grow tomatoes anywhere ~ wouldn't you think? :)

I've discovered that most every vegetable variety has a quick-growing cousin that reaches harvest in short order and tastes terrific. The key is to start with veggies that can handle our short growing seasons.

Tips & Tricks:

Time your garden differently.
* The heartache of a May Long weekend frost or even snow is pretty much guaranteed at altitudes of 1,800 metres or higher.

Nurseries advise April/May planting for vegetables and that's why we feel left out.

Plant later.
* Plant veggies in the soil on June 15th, or raised beds on June 1st - cover on an exceptionally cold night. The very best time to plant your veggies is the day after I do. (I'm pretty convinced that Mother Nature is lurking behind me, no matter what day I decide to plant, scheduling a late season freeze in my honor.)

Raised Beds & Containers can improve your odds.
Soil in raised beds warms faster and stays warmer during our cool nights. This is particularly important for tomatoes as they need to stay above 50 degrees in order to produce great fruit. With raised beds you can also easily amend the soil. Veggies need plenty of soil nutrients in order to produce a good harvest. Mountain soils are generally low on nutrients and - quite often - the dirt in our Park City yards is poor quality top soil trucked in after construction.

Quick-Growing Heirloom Veggies that do well in mountain gardens:

  • Bountiful Bush Bean - this easy-growing small vine bean reaches maturity in about 50 days. (Heirloom)
  • Bull Nose Sweet Bell Pepper - a crisp, crunchy bell pepper bursting with delicious, earthy flavor. Matures in about 60 days. (Heirloom)
  • Red Cored Chantenay Carrots - a sweet, tender variety, ready to harvest in 70 short days. (Heirloom)
  • Four Seasons Head Lettuce - as beautiful as it is delicious, with colorful, reddish brown leaves. Matures in 45-55 days. (Heirloom)
  • Brandywine Tomato - this yummy Amish heirloom has a neat habit of producing tomatoes that mature at different times, on the same vine, throughout the season. Matures in 80 days. (Heirloom)
  • Cocozelle Bush Zucchini - has a fresh, nutty flavor that is particularly delicious when roasted on the grill. Matures in 55 days. (Heirloom)

Boring but Helpful:

  • When shopping for seeds, look for vegetables that mature in 70 - 80 days or less. (You might be surprised how many options you see!) Check the 'days to maturity' on the seed packet or planting guide.
  • Harvest days are measured from transplant time. Allow an extra 10-15 days, if planting outdoors, by seed.
  • Heirlooms are available in most vegetable varieties, not just tomatoes. These goodies are easier to grow and infinitely more flavorful than grocery store 'fresh' produce.

Good growing everyone.

Dog helps save hikers after grizzly chases them for 20 minutes in Banff National Park


Calgary Herald - ALANNA SMITH

Three friends on a leisurely Sunday hike in Banff National Park found themselves on a heart-pounding adventure after coming across a giant grizzly bear near Mount Norquay.

And they say if not for the actions of their brave dog, Momo, at least one of them would likely be dead.

“I can still remember the fat moving on her body as she was running towards us,” said hiker Dominic Cyr.

Well-known Bear 148 chased Cyr, Kenzie Campbell and Jessica Savard for what seemed like 20 minutes.

“It’s a long time when you just keep thinking about how it’s going to kill you,” he said on Monday. “We were sure somebody would die mauled by the bear.”

The bear was standing a short six metres away from the hikers near the trailhead of the Cascade amphitheatre trail. They turned around immediately but the bear started following them. The group tried to remain calm, but the grizzly charged towards Campbell and forced them to release their dog.

Momo was followed by the grizzly, while Cyr and his friends ran the opposite direction towards the parking lot. But the dog looped around and came back towards the group with the bear following closely behind.

“So now the dog was beside us and the bear was chasing the four of us,” said Cyr.

They thought about climbing one of the chairs or breaking into the Norquay lodge, but instead sprinted to the parkade before calling Parks Canada. Three trucks of wardens arrived and reassured Cyr and his friends that it was safe to walk back to the village.

Seconds before their descent, the giant grizzly made one last appearance in the parking lot.

Cyr and his friends were told to hide in a Parks Canada truck until the bear finally left.

“The three of us literally said this is the worst experience we’ve ever had in our life,” said Cyr. “We were pretty much shocked all day yesterday. We could barely eat and we just kept talking about the fact we almost got mauled and killed by a grizzly bear.”

“At least we’re alive,” he said.

Less than 24 hours after Cyr’s near-death encounter, he’s hiking another trail — this time equipped with bear spray. “It can’t stop us from hiking. We just have to be careful and prepared.” He hopes his story urges other hikers to do the same.

Kim Tichener, founder of Bear Safety & More, recommends people stay in groups, allow space for bears, make frequent noise and come prepared with bear spray.

“They’re lucky to be OK,” she said. “This bear has followed and approached people in the past, which is concerning because you have a younger bear that has learned people are not that scary.”

“I wish they had a can of bear spray that day because I think spraying that bear would have taught that bear that approaching people is not a good idea.”

If hikers come in contact with a bear, Tichener said, they should slowly and calmly back away. But if the bear is showing signs of stress like salivation or charging and runs at members of a group, bear spray should be used.

Source Article 

Canmore Real Estate Sales up 43% - What our Statistics mean or could mean to Buyers and Sellers

While knowledgeable Buyers of discretionary property may feel they can take their time gathering market information and perhaps  either wait for prices to drop or find that perfect property; we are finding that many Buyers are missing out on opportunities to select from the ever dwindling supply of housing here in Canmore.  This is evidenced in three ways.  First the number of Days on Market is quite low proving that there are a many interested parties for each listing presented.  Second, many properties are not even making it to market, instead selling to a Buyer of the Listing Agent, as we now have wait lists for certain types of properties.  Third, many properties are selling for asking price or above asking price under multiple offer situations.

What can you do to ensure you have the best opportunity to bid on your desired type of property.

 Here are some tips:

1) Get pre-approved from your Lender for the type and price of property you intend on buying.  You may not be aware that all Visitor Accommodation (Hotel Condo) and all Employee Housing District zoned condos are challenging to finance and in fact the majority cannot be mortgaged, thereby requiring cash to purchase.  This applies to many Tourist Home units as well.

2) Move savings funds around to allow for cash purchases and/or deposits on purchases.

3) Sign up for our complimentary Private Client Services (PCS) email notification of listings.  This data feed will keep you abreast in real time of new listings, price changes and sale prices.  If you currently subscribe to PCS, consult with us regarding changes to your search profile due to recent price increases.

4) Book viewings of properties with us in order to become more familiar with the wide range of locations in town that you may not have considered.  With low product inventory you may need to consider areas of town that previously you discounted.

5) Be ready to instruct us to prepare offers, even if you have not viewed as we can include a Condition of Purchase “subject to viewing and approval”, in order to secure the property.

Currently there are 144 properties on markets total; including 38 single family homes, 9 duplexes, 30 townhouses, 33 apartment condos, 1 manufactured home, 17 lots, 17 hotel condos.  This includes new construction that have not been built yet.

Last a tip for Sellers:  If you are considering listing you may consider getting a Property Inspection done ahead of listing so that you are aware of potential problems with your property you may not be aware of that could hold up a sale.

Canmore Market Report
Canmore Real Estate Sales up 43%

The Spring Canmore Real Estate market is very strong, 1st Quarter (Q1) sales volume was up almost 20% over Q1 of 2016 and 43% higher than the 10 year average of 92 Q1 sales.

Q1 2017 was the 3rd busiest our market has ever experienced. In March of 2016 the market had 40 properties sell and in March of 2017 saw a jump of 34% to 54 properties sold and the 10 year average is 39 and equal to March of 2007.

Average Days on market had dropped dramatically by 43% with the March 2017 average days on market down to 53days compared to the12 months ending March 31, 2017 was 76 days.

In 2007 we had very low inventory with 2.55 months of inventory at the beginning of April 2007, at the beginning of April 2017 we had 2.93 months of inventory.

At the beginning of April 2017 we had 158 active listings which is almost 60% lower than the year over year number of 251 for 2016, the 10 year average is 279 - April 2017 is comparable to 2007.

Summary - This very stronger sales data shows a steady enough flow of new inventory purchase options available for buyers and in some cases buyers need to be ready to move on quickly as evidenced by the 43% drop in days on market stat and I do not see that changing in the near term.

Banff Real Estate Market
The Banff Real Estate Market continues to look for more product, February and March saw 8 new listings hit the market and half of them are sold showing that the demand remains strong in Banff as well.

Canmore Banff Commercial
Interest in Canmore and Banff Commercial has been strong in 2017 with new Hotel, investment and Restaurant buyers looking for quality assets as well as renewed leasing interest.  I am presently working with several buyers, please stay tuned for more details in this area of focus and interest.

Increase the Value of Your Home with a Kitchen Renovation

By Jordy Shepherd

As a professional Realtor in Canmore, Alberta Canada (, and a real estate investor, I appreciate the upside of completing renovations and upgrades on my own home.  Over the years I have gained substantial home renovation experience (and renovation tools!) from being a homeowner and landlord, and from flipping homes.  This past November, my wife and I decided to do a full renovation of our circa 1992 kitchen.  The original kitchen was in good condition still, and we sold it to people that were going to install and use the cabinets, sink, appliances and countertop.  This was very important to us, as we did not want our old kitchen going to the landfill.

After living in our home for the past six years, we felt we knew what we wanted to do with the renovation.  We planned well in advance, purchased and stockpiled materials, and scheduled several contractors.  We hired an electrician to do the bulk of the electrical changes, but I finished off the final electrical work myself near the end of the project.  We hired a tile contractor to install the backsplash, as there were many 3’x6’ tiles, and we had a local countertop company do the quartz countertop.  I did the demolition, plumbing, flooring, cabinetry, appliance and range hood installation myself.

The renovation took about two months, with most of it being completed within five weeks.  By doing much of the work ourselves, including being the general contractor, we saved quite a bit of time and money.  We saved time, money and effort by purchasing pre-constructed cabinets.

The main change we made to the layout was to remove a closet that jutted into the kitchen from the master bedroom, and we purchased a free-standing wardrobe to use as a 2nd closet.  This allowed us to move the fridge to where the closet had been, and then install a wall of cabinets that were less deep where the fridge has previously stood.  This meant we gained quite a bit of floor space and a feeling of modern openness.

Some features that we installed were:
A large French door fridge with water/ice
Toe-kick dust vacuum
Cork flooring
Soft-close drawers
Quartz countertop, an under-mount sink, and a modern tile backsplash
A slide in gas range, with a modern stainless range hood
A space for a mid-century secretary desk
An overhang on the peninsula, that allowed for three modern stools
Pendant lights over the peninsula, and wave-activated LED undercabinet lighting
A tip-out in front of the sink, plus additional under-sink storage solutions
An electrical outlet on the side of the peninsula, with USB and 110V plugs

We are quite happy with the result.  It has opened up our kitchen area to the dining and living rooms, increased the functionality and lighting, and it has most definitely increased the value of our home!