Type of Development Permits

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a collective term used for various types of suites that have their own entrance, kitchen, sleeping, and bathroom facilities.

For more information, read our Accessory Dwelling Unit Information Guide or contact the Town of Canmore’s Planning and Development Department for more information.

Bed & Breakfast Requirements

Bed and Breakfast establishments are an ancillary commercial use operated by the resident of a single detached dwelling. Bed and Breakfast establishments can provide accommodation for periods of 14 days or less. The maximum amount of accommodation permitted per dwelling is three guestrooms or six pillows (guests), whichever is less. For more details, please see the Land Use Bylaw.

All Bed & Breakfast establishments require a development permit, you can find the development permit application form, requirement list and statutory declaration on the Development Permit Information webpage

As part of the application process, a site inspection will be conducted. Once an inspection has been completed a report will be provided outlining the requirements of the business under the Alberta Building Code and Fire Code.  The Bed & Breakfast establishment is also required to obtain approval from Alberta Health Services.

Once your Bed & Breakfast Development Permit has been approved, you will be required to apply for your Town of Canmore Home Occupation Business License. Find out what is required to obtain your business license.

A letter was issued on June 1st to all current Bed and Breakfast operators informing them that inspections by the Town's Safety Codes Officer (SCO) is now required as part of the Development Permit (DP) process.

The Building Code requirements for a Bed and Breakfast establishment can be found here.

Should you fail the SCO inspection and need to submit a building permit, you can find the building permit application form and requirement list on the Building Permit Webpage.

Home occupations are small-scale businesses that operate out of a home in a residential neighbourhood. Two types of home occupations are allowed in Canmore.

Class 1 Home Occupation (No Development Permit required) – is a small-scale business that is accessory to a Dwelling Unit, has no impact on the surrounding neighbourhood and would be undetectable from the street.

Class 2 Home Occupation (Development Permit required) – is a small-scale business that is accessory to a Dwelling Unit, which may have some impact on the surrounding neighbourhood by way of noise, dust, customer visitation, deliveries, etc. Conditions can be put on Class 2 Home Occupations in order to minimize such impacts.

To determine you home business classification please answer the following questions:

1. Do you have clients or customers coming to your home?
2. Do you have deliveries to your home?
3. Do you have employees coming to your home?
4. Do you manufacture or produce goods in your home? For example, manufacturing furniture or producing food items.
5. Do you store materials and equipment or park trailers/commercial vehicles on-site?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, please review, complete, and submit the following documents to planning@canmore.ca:

If you answered NO to all of the questions, your business falls within the definition of a Home Occupation Class 1 and will only need to obtain a Town of Canmore Business License. For information on how to obtain a business license, please click here.


Class 2 Home Occupations are required to renew their Development Permit one (1) year after the initial approval, and every three (3) years after that.  Operators must apply to renew their Development Permit prior to the expiry date stated in their Schedule A - Conditions of Approval.  

If the following applies to your business:

  • No changes to the original Home Occupation DP approval; and 
  • The renewal application is submitted prior to the expiry date noted in the Schedule A – Conditions of Approval

Please review, complete, and submit the following documents to planning@canmore.ca:

Applications received after the expiry date will be required to apply as a new Home Occupation and be limited to a 1-year approval.  

The Town of Canmore Green Building Regulations were established to encourage development in a manner more environmentally sustainable than traditional building practices. Green buildings result in a higher quality product, cost less to operate, are more adaptable to new uses, are healthier for their occupants, and have longer economic lives.

Building and development permits for new construction are subject to these regulations. Renovations, additions, reconstruction, or construction of accessory dwelling units are not required to meet the Green Building Regulations.

Two public guides are available to help applicants understand the green building requirements in Canmore’s Land Use Bylaw:

You can see the target your project is required to meet in the Land Use Bylaw.

If you require further clarification, please contact the Planning and Development Department using the following form.

The design, size and location of signs can create a powerful image of Canmore for both residents and visitors. The intent of the signage standards and regulations is to balance the visibility of signage with an attractive appearance of the community, in keeping with its spectacular mountain setting. The Town regulates signage in order to establish a level playing field for all businesses by being consistent with approvals.

Certain sign types are not permitted in Canmore, including:

  • A-frame and other mobile signs
  • Permanent signs with a white background
  • Banner or corporate flags used as permanent signs
  • Electronic signs
  • Internally lit signs

A more complete list of prohibited signs can be found in section 9.13 of  the Land Use Bylaw.

Signage Guide

Review the signage guide.

Sign Permit Requirements

All new, replacement, and temporary signs require a Development Permit unless explicitly exempt under the Land Use Bylaw

New signs include revised signs for existing businesses that change the letter dimensions, sign location, materials, relief design or overall sign issued. 

An identical replacement of a previously approved sign can proceed without applying for an additional Development Permit, as the replacement sign is exempted in the Land Use Bylaw.

To obtain a Development Permit for signage, please fill out the Development Permit Application Form and submit the required information as noted in the Development Permit Signage Requirements Checklist.

To obtain a Certificate of Signage Conformance, please fill out the Planning Application Form.

Sign Permit Fees

To access the fee schedule click here.

Multiple signs for the same business or property may be applied for under the same application, although there is an additional fee for every additional sign. 

Submit an Application

E-mail your complete application with all required documents as noted in the applicable applications requirements list, to planning@canmore.ca


If you have further questions, please submit them to the Planning & Development Department using the following form.

Vacation Rentals and Tourist Homes


If you own a tourist home, you can rent it out. But, if your property is not designated by the Town of Canmore as a tourist home – you can’t rent it out as a short-term stay. Read more below to understand the difference.

What is a tourist home?

A tourist home is any dwelling that can be used as a permanent residence or for short-term stays. The formal definition of a tourist home is: “a dwelling unit operated as a temporary place to stay, with or without compensation, and includes all vacation rentals of a dwelling unit.”

The characteristics that distinguish a tourist home from a dwelling unit used as a residence may include any of the following:

  • the intent of the occupant to stay for short-term vacation purposes rather than use the property as a residence; and/or
  • the commercial nature of a tourist home; and/or
  • the management or advertising of the dwelling unit as a tourist home or “vacation rental,” on websites such as Airbnb or VRBO; and/or
  • the use of a system of reservations, deposits, confirmations, credit cards, or other forms of electronic payment.

Where are tourist homes allowed?

Few residential districts allow tourist homes today with only the two Silvertip residential districts and one sub-area of Teepee Town allowing this use. However, they are a permitted or discretionary use in almost all the commercial and mixed-use districts, such as along Bow Valley Trail and Railway Avenue. The Town’s Land Use Bylaw identifies zones where tourist homes may or may not be allowed to operate. However, within the zones there may be only certain buildings or locations that allow tourist homes. To see general locations where tourist homes may be allowed, you can view this map: Tourist Home Districts. For more information on how specific properties are zoned, please see the property information viewer map below.

In Canmore, an owner of a tourist home may use it for short- or long-term rentals (if they have a development permit to operate it as a tourist home), or as a permanent residence. If it is used as for rentals, the owner pays a higher property tax.

Contact the planning and development department by filling out this form to find out if the zoning for a property allows for tourist homes.

Where are tourist homes NOT allowed?

Tourist homes are currently prohibited in the vast majority of residential districts in Canmore. Tourist homes also have an impact on the availability and affordability of housing for residents, as well as the character of the neighbourhood.

Vacation Rentals and Tourist Home Frequently Asked Questions

Use the Town of Canmore’s property information viewer map to check land use zones. Using the map, click on a location and the property information will appear. Under the annual assessment, look at the Roll Number – Code. The two numbers and possibly a letter after the “-” will indicate the how the property is assessed. To learn more about what the numbers and letters mean, click on the “code” to see if the property is assessed as residential, a tourist home, or commercial.
Some people have considered this a loophole in the regulations, because it is legal to rent your home for a month. However, if you write a contract suggesting the lease is for a month as cover for a short-term rental - that is a deliberate deception, and it’s just wrong. Remember, the act of advertising the property as a vacation rental on websites such as Airbnb or VRBO can result in enforcement action by the Town.
Regardless of whether there is compensation or not, if you are using your home for short-term stays, it is considered a tourist home.  
Regardless of whether you're renting your whole house, or just a room in it, there are rules that apply for short-term tourist rentals. For example, bed & breakfasts (which usually just rent a room) go through an approval process with the Town. Tourist homes also need approval from the Town. Renting a room on a vacation website requires a Bed and Breakfast license and it needs to meet the requirements set out in the Bylaws. 
Tourist homes require a development permit and need a valid business license. There may be other requirements, depending on your specific property.  These other requirements are outside of the jurisdiction of the Town of Canmore, but are something you should take into consideration: Collecting and remitting the Alberta Hotel Tax, Collecting and remitting GST, Inspection and cleaning of hot tubs (where applicable) – contact the Calgary Health Region – Public Health Inspector at 403.678.5656.
The Town of Canmore investigates complaints of illegal tourist homes.  If a property is found to be operating as an illegal tourist home, a Cease Use Order may be issued. The Town can also issue fines of $2,500 for the first offence and $5,000 for subsequent offences. The act of advertising the property as a vacation rental on websites such as Airbnb or VRBO can result in enforcement action by the Town. 

If you have a complaint about an illegal tourist home, please contact Municipal Enforcement.
A tourist home is a very flexible type of use where the property can be rented out short-term as a quasi-commercial use, or lived in permanently as a residence. The lower residential tax rate is reserved for owner-occupied properties where the owners have declared the property as their primary residence and that it will not be rented.
You will still require a tourist home permit.  There are no restrictions on personal use once a tourist home permit is in place.
While your neighbours may not mind the occasional guest, there are other people to consider:

Owners of legally operated tourist homes, hotels, bed & breakfast and inn operations. An illegal tourist home has lower taxes and expenses, which creates an unfair advantage to other business owners in our community.

Canmore Taxpayers. Tourist homes that do not pay their share of the property taxes leave it to residential owners to make up the difference.

Your guests, and our visitors. Visitors to Canmore will not be aware of the laws in our area.  When they pay for their vacation, they are expecting that the operator is acting in their best interest. If you accept a future reservation, and are then issued a Cease Use Order, you leave the guest without a place to stay.

Contact Us

If you have further questions, please submit them to the Planning & Development Department using the following form.

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