On Saturday afternoon, there are two lineups on the packed sidewalk into Canmore’s downtown Bicycle Cafe. A server directs people into the correct line while balancing a latte in one hand. One line up is to place orders, while the other is to pick them up, she tells customers as she delivers the hot drink.
Inside, manager Chris Fast works his cappuccino machine, while choreographed staff slide in and out of position looking after guests, who are there to buy coffee and bikes (in short supply across the country), as well as greenery, including air plants, succulents, tropicals and aroids.
“We are having summer traffic right now,” said Mr. Fast in late March. “People want to get out and about. We saw a lot of domestic travellers last year and expect more this year.”
Canmore has become one of Alberta’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to its outdoor scene – including hiking and cross-country skiing – boutique hotels and restaurants.
Walking down the main drag right now can feel like navigating Toronto’s Queen West in the summertime. The sidewalk is slow, and the line up of cars trying to drive down the main street is slower.
“We are looking forward to the summertime, when they close off main street to cars, it makes it much easier for people to get around,” said artist Curtis Golomb.
Golomb shows his work at downtown Canmore’s Fallen Leaf Art Gallery, which his wife, Andrea Ritchie, owns. “We are hoping it will be busier than last summer,” said Golomb. If the Canada-U.S. border opens in time for the warmer months, that bodes well for business. “For us it’s going to depend on the Americans. They drop the money here.”
Still, Golomb and Ritchie remain optimistic about what’s in store for their gallery this coming year.
“We are blessed in Canmore, it’s a great town. And we are trying to make this a more personable space, people want that interaction,” he said. “Right now we are focused on making this a happy place, not only a safe space. Right now people need that.”
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