The CSEG is pleased to be a financial supporter of the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre (Museum) as part of its outreach programme to promote geoscience to the public. The Museum is situated in the new Canmore Civic Centre (902 7th Avenue) and is operated by the Centennial Museum Society of Canmore, which is a non-profit society run by volunteers.

Canmore is an ideal place for a geoscience centre because of its impressive geological setting and history. The geology of the area is of great importance to the oil and gas industry as the Rocky Mountains provide a surface expression of what lies in the subsurface in the prospective areas to the East. Coal mining was very important in Canmore’s history while the quarry industries still have economic significance.

Among the exhibits currently on display in the Museum are posters about the local geology, a coal exhibit (Figure 1), three hikes to places of geological significance in the Bow Valley, fossils and historical geophysical instruments. A donated TV shows videos of the geology of the Bow Valley and surrounding area while two donated computers run Microsoft’s “Magic School Bus” software. The Museum has also received donations of a geophysical workstation, 2D and 3D seismic data and geophysical software.

Fig. 01
Figure 1. Part of the coal mining display.

The Museum offers a number of activities aimed at presenting geoscience to the public (Figure 2). Of particular interest is the “Stones and Bones” programme, which the CSEG has supported with $2500 each year since 2003. “Stones and Bones” was designed to introduce 10-12 year old children to geology and is run by geology students during the summer. Day trips to the Calgary Science Centre, the Cold War Caves near Lac Des Arcs, an abandoned coal mine and to geological outcrops at Jura Creek, Grassi Lakes and on Three Sisters Drive are among the activities offered in this programme.

Children were also shown geology videos and provided with hands-on material from the Science Alberta Foundation’s Science in a Crate (also sponsored by the CSEG).

Fig. 02
Figure 2. Activities offered by the Canmore Geoscience Centre.

Over the last 5 years, Geoscience outreach initiatives have brought classes of grade 3, 7 and 8 students from Canmore or Calgary to the Museum to introduce them to the geology of the Bow Valley and vicinity and to stimulate their interest in geology (Figure 3). An initiative under consideration is the forming of a Geoscience Club for local students, to be based at the museum.

Adult activities have included a trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, guided field trips to local sites of geological interest and a series of evening talks given by eminent geoscientists.

Fig. 03
Figure 3. Local schoolchildren enjoy learning about the geosciences.

As a new activity, Museum members organized and ran a field trip to the mountains for a group of about 20 teachers from Calgary. On the way, a stop was made near Mt. Yamnuska to ponder the connection between the nearby surface geology and the subsurface structures pursued by the oil and gas industry throughout Alberta. Later a pleasant hike was taken up to the Devonian reef at Grassi Lakes. After lunch at the Quarry Restaurant, the teachers took a tour of the Museum, during which a seismic line through the Bow Valley (compliments of ExplorData Inc.) was presented and discussed.

Next time you are passing through Canmore, why not stop for a little while and visit the Geoscience Centre, pick up a hiking guide and see what programmes are on offer for you and your children this summer? The annual Open House will be held on Saturday, June 25th, 2005, from noon until 4 pm.

The Centre can also be visited at



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