Home > News

Opinion: Vanmore is Back and Stop Leaving T.P. Everywhere

A late-summer boom in vanlifers have arrived in the Bow Valley

Summer is almost over, but that hasn’t stopped Vanmore from re-emerging from the remnants of last year’s Bow Valley drama. If you’re not familiar, Vanmore is the collection of vans and R.V.s in the parking areas around Safe Way, Save On, Canadian Tire and Elevation Place in Canmore.

The boom and bust of Vanmore last year were well documented in local and national media and forced the Town of Canmore to create a plan to deal with the overflowing weeks-long vehicle campers for summer 2020. But then covid-19 hit and it looked unlikely any vans would be rolling into town.

However, the vans are back and it’s obvious that many folks have never lived in a vehicle with municipal limits before. Below are some tips to blend in and not annoy local authorities and officials. Remember, your actions can ruin it for the rest of us.

One: don’t cook outside of your vehicle in a parking lot. Not only do you look ridiculous, you’re on private property where people are going to buy groceries during a pandemic. Two: Don’t sleep in parking lots with groups of other vans in town. For decades, climbers have lived in their vans in Canmore, but it was never a problem because the old-schoolers spread out and found quiet nooks to lay low.

Leave the comforts of the wi-fi connectable lots close to early-open washrooms and explore the wilderness outside of the town limits. Find somewhere that you can park and leave the creature comforts of that sweet, sweet parking lot behind. Be free, after all that’s what the #vanlife posts are all about.

And what’s with all of the toilet paper (T.P.) piled around the edges of parking lots, trail heads and roadsides. People, if you need to number one or two and you have to use T.P., please pack it out. There are residents who don’t want to wake up to piles of your excrement and/or the T.P. laying around. Nothing gives us who roam free a worse name than when the newbs don’t know how to potty appr.

There’s a great book called How to Shit in the Woods by Kathleen Meyer, maybe we should fund a campaign to buy enough copies that we can leave them under the windshields of the climbers and campers in the parking lots. I’ll never forget the first time I read it and learned how not to be a leave-T.P.-on-the-side-of-the-roader. Oh wait, nope – I didn’t have to learn that from a book. You know why? Because it’s common sense, or so I thought.