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Canmore was named for the canals in the area, which were used to transport coal from mines. The town is located near the Kananaskis River and has an elevation of 1,890 metres (6,200 ft). It lies at a point where two major mountain ranges meet: the Front Ranges of Alberta's Canadian Rockies and Sheep Ridge. Canmore is situated on Highway 1A (the Trans-Canada Highway), approximately halfway between Calgary and Banff; it also has access to both Kananaskis Lakes Provincial Park via Highway 40 as well as being surrounded by Banff National Park on three sides. The Bow Valley Parkway connects Canmore with Cochrane to its south along Highways 1 & 93 through Kicking Horse Pass while providing views of Mount Yamnuska northward towards Castle Mountain before descending into Exshaw near Pincher Creek; this scenic route provides a more direct connection between Calgary/Banff than travelling through either Crowsnest Pass or Kootenay National Park via Highways 3 & 93 respectively.