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The top 5 things to do to get romantic in the rockies
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, the mountain city just down the road — Canmore — provides countless indoor and outdoor activities for couples looking to ignite or re-ignite their love.
Located only 105 km from Calgary city limits, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the city of Canmore boasts romantic locales that can create a Valentine's date that lasts all day long.
Here are five things to do in Canmore that are sure to give love birds a chance to discover the beauty of the mountains and each other.
1. A Brewery with atmosphere
The first stop on our Valentine's Day voyage is the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company.
Established in 1996, Canmore's oldest microbrewery is a cozy, yet fast-paced joint that offers everything from delicious bison burgers to bacon-wrapped sirloin tips.
Right in the heart of the city, the Paw, as locals call it, has over 16 types of beer at any time. The number fluctuates depending on the season and customer praise.
Although not the most romantic of settings, the Paw is loaded with charm and charisma that not only evokes conversation but satisfies and inspires.
In fact, the restaurant is going to be relying on that everyday charm and charisma for Valentine's Day.
Restaurant manager, Steve Doucette is expecting a busy crowd and gearing up for the holiday by offering the Paw's usual specials.
"We have our usual lunch specials for Thursday and will be having our roast night on Friday starting at 4 p.m.," Doucette said. "I'm expecting to see a lot of people coming to celebrate on the weekend and we're looking forward to the volume."
Click on the establishment to view the website
2. Hiking, post Paw
After an indulgent lunch, Canmore offers countless hiking and biking paths catering to all abilities — weather permitting.
For example, the Highline Trail — which includes an off-leash dog park has been full of life since its unveiling in 2009.
Described as easy, by HikeAlberta.com and with a total completion time of around two and a half hours, the Highline is a perfect compromise for those who love the outdoors but can't commit to a 20 kilometre adventure.
Brent and Shannon Ellenton celebrate their anniversary on Valentine's Day and say the romance doesn't get much better than a nice weekend walk.
"The scenery, I mean look at how amazing the mountains are, is really what keeps us coming back here," Shannon said, pointing to the mountains behind her.
"Canmore is such a walking community that getting the chance to come out to a place like this whenever we want is really wonderful."
3. Death by Chocolatier
What better way to take a break from hiking than to rest your feet and entice your taste buds at Le Chocolatier, Canmore's premier homemade chocolatier.
Le Chocolatier runs daily tastings that include a tour of the factory where they make everything in house and features several samples along the way.
But make sure to call ahead to book this tasty stop on your trip because spots are limited and they fill up quickly, especially at this time of year, store manager John Spear says.
"We do get a rush of bookings in around late January so try to book as soon as possible," Spear said.
Valentine's Day also means Le Chocolatier makes specialty treats for languid lovers.
"We have a variety of strawberry and champagne chocolates that are a perfect addition to any date, day or night," Spear said.
4. Sweetheart's sweet tooth
Ready to burst from a day of adventure and affection, don't forget to stop by the Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe on your way home.
Packed to the door with specialty candy and international delights, the shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday with special 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. holiday hours.
For a store that is busy all year round, store manager Rob Munger says that they expect to see an immense increase in volume from the week before to the week after the holiday.
"We are usually steady up until the day before, then we always have those last-minute people and even some coming in afterwards trying to make up for forgetting," Munger joked.
From heart-shaped gummy candies to Rogers chocolate and everything in between, you cannot leave the city limits without grabbing some goodies from this classic favourite for the drive home.
5. Bold bistro
As the sun falls beneath the mountain peaks make your way to the quaint and cozy Sage Bistro and Wine Lounge for a light dinner with a spectacular view.
Right off of Bow Valley trail, the family owned and operated locale is a modest dining experience that appeals to fine cuisine lovers of all kinds.
From homemade chorizo and fennel soup to a fresh duck leg confit, the bistro is a must see all year round for lunch or dinner.
Offering special three-course meals on Valentine's Day and through to the weekend, owner and restaurant manager Todd Kunst is expecting a mixed crowd this year.
"We will get quite a few people from Calgary and area but I am expecting a lot of locals," Kunst said.
"I am looking forward to it but we will be busy so reservations are definitely a good idea."
A beautiful log cabin feel with a laid back groove, the Sage Bistro also offers a vast wine lounge on the upper level with astonishing views of the mountains and features a tapas inspired menu.
"The lounge is very popular at this time of year," Kunst added. "The view really gives it that romantic feel that people are looking for."