Timeline: Ownership and development at Three Sisters


A brief history of the Three Sisters lands and the players who have shaped it's development since the closing of the Canmore mines.

1979 - Canmore Mine closes.

1982 - The idea to develop Three Sisters lands is raised by Peter Pocklington (yes, the formerly Edmonton-based millionaire infamous for trading Wayne Gretzky).

1988 - Canmore hosts the Nordic events of the Calgary Olympic Games, putting the town on the world stage for the first time and attracting international and regional real estate investors.

1989 - Plans resurrected by Three Sisters Golf Resorts Inc a Calgary-based firm with 66 backers, including president Richard Melchin, former cabinet minister Bill Dickie and Calgary Olympic Committee president Frank King.

  • Three Sisters explores the concept of a 2,800-acre development in the Wind Valley, located between Canmore and Pigeon Mountain. They acquired the lands in August 1989 after it was placed in receivership (had been owned by Peter Pocklington). [source: Calgary Herald, Sept. 16, 1989]

1992 - The large resort project proposed by Three Sisters required an environmental impact assessment to be completed by the provincial Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) before the town could consider any municipal approvals. The NRCB, following extensive public hearings, ruled that Three Sisters could develop most of its property but not the 500 acres of the Wind Valley: it was deemed too important for area wildlife.

1998 - The Town of Canmore and Three Sisters owners work together to define the terms of a Settlement Agreement that all parties will use to guide development on Three Sisters land. Council also approves the Master Zoning Bylaw, most of which still represents current zoning on TSMV lands, particularly in the Smith Creek area.

1999 - With loss of funding, Calgary's Don Taylor and Denver's Blair Richardson of TGS Properties Ltd. become primary owners, investing $22M into the faltering project.

2000 - In an interview after acquiring the property, owner Blair Richardson (who remains one of the site's owners) said "It's the most important land development play in Western Canada. It's got 1,800 acres, 756 developable acres. It is one of the fastest appreciating tracts of real estate in Western Canada, it has appreciated at approximately 12 per cent a year for numerous years and it is a monopolistic land play, (as) it is surrounded by provincial and federal lands.'' [source: August 2000, Calgary Herald]

2001 - Construction begins under the ownership of TGS Properties, backed by Don Taylor and Blair Richardson.

2002 - October: first $1M lot sells in the new Three Sisters subdivision, Cairns on the Bow.

2004 - Council accepts controversial Three Sisters Resort Centre ASP which includes a golf course, spa, shopping centres, and up to 2,000 visitor accommodation units.

2005 - Chris Ollenberger becomes president of TSMV on October 1, 2005.

2007 - Chris Ollenberger resigns in order to become president of the newly formed Calgary Municipal Land Corp.

2007 - November: Based out of the Colorado, high profile resort developers East West Partners and Morgan Stanley acquire Three Sisters Mountain Village with financing by HSBC and continue to work with the existing management team at TSMV.

2008 - East West Partners scale back plans by more than 50 per cent as part of a series of voluntary sweeping changes. The company announced it was reducing commercial development within the resort by 90 per cent and cutting 2,500 approved dwelling units, citing "far too much density for true long-term sustainable value." The company also decided to put 320 acres, or half of its remaining undeveloped land, aside for wildlife habitat. [Calgary Herald, March, 2009]

2009 - Three Sisters Mountain Village goes bankrupt, HSBC Bank of Canada assumes debt. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) is appointed Receiver on behalf of HSBC.

2010 - Surrounded by homes built on Three Sisters property on Dyrgas Gate, a mitigated mine shaft collapses, closing a public trail. 

2013 - The Town of Canmore receives an application for the Three Sisters Mountain Village lands from the former court appointed receiver Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC). The application was withdrawn and first reading of the ASP bylaw was canceled at the request of PwC.

  • June: PwC walks away from the project.

2013 - June: Massive flooding hits Bow Valley and Southern Alberta.

2013 - September: Don Taylor and Blair Richardson (owners of TSMV from 2000-2007, leading up to bankruptcy) re-purchase TSMV property at a cost of $12.5 million

  • Based in Calgary, Chris Ollenberger's (former president of TSMV) newly formed property development company, Quantum Place Developments Ltd., is hired to oversee the future development of the property.

2013 - Development issues and their implications on the Town's economy and environment become a hot topic during the October municipal election.

2015 - In regards to what is known as the Smith Creek area of the Three Sisters property, an approach called a 'collaborative ASP' is approved by Canmore Town Council. The Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) approach intended to engage developers, council, town planning, recreational users, conservationists and businesses around the table in the hopes that solutions could be reached. 

2016 - November: Three Sisters submits Resort Centre ASP amendment request to expand resort onto unfinished golf course land, currently a recognized buffer zone between the Three Sisters development and the wildlife corridor. A wildlife fence is proposed to mitigate human/wildlife conflict as a result of population growth in proximity to the corridor.

  • March: Karsten Heuer resigns his position with the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) stating his voice for the environment was not being heard. He was the only representative on the board for the conservation community.

  • November: Undermining regulations and liability issues on the TSMV lands are raised by town council.

2017 - January: Canmore's town council requests that TSMV submit both of the Resort Centre and Smith Creek area structure plans (ASP) together, postponing first reading of the Resort Centre ASP amendment indefinitely.

  • March: TSMV submits Resort Centre ASP amendment and Smith Creek ASP to town administration. For your information, here are those statements for Smith Creek and Resort Centre.

  • May: Canmore town council unanimously votes against taking current Resort Centre proposal to second reading citing too many problems with current plan.

  • Summer 2017:

2018 - June: Following over a year of assessment, Province of Alberta Environment and Parks rejects Smith Creek wildlife corridor alignment proposed in 2017 plan, halting development on this parcel until such time as an acceptable corridor is proposed.

Canmore Commons