Travellers looking for a unique kind of trip can now take a cannabis tour in the comfort of a tour van while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Kananaskis Country and the Rocky Mountains.
The first of its kind in Alberta, Cannanaskis was created by Alberta journalist Dave Dormer to provide cannabis-based experiences, information, and education while being in a safe and welcoming environment.
“This has been in the works all my life,” Dormer said in an interview, adding that he’s long been an advocate for cannabis. “I’ve always loved cannabis wanted to learn more about it. It’s more to me than Cheech and Chong. It’s a beautiful and spiritual plant and I’ve never seen it as a bad or illegal thing and don’t agree with the negativity people have towards it.”
The response to Cannanaskis has been better than Dormer could have ever hoped and what he thought it would be. Dormer had all the cliché names one could think of, but a name has to work two ways or be a double entendre, he said.
“One day I just said ‘Cannanaskis’ and it was the biggest lightbulb moment for me, that first piece of the puzzle.”
Educating people on cannabis and its history while also providing the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature was important to Dormer, whose hope is to share his passion and knowledge about this plant with a tailored story and experience for each person.
Dormer spent two years developing the day’s itinerary to explain the 12,000 year history of cannabis, from Neolithic people to people on his tours.
The tour, available only on weekends, with the goal of having it eventually be every day, begins at FivePoint Cannabis in the neighbourhood of Bridgeland in Calgary at 10:15 a.m. before departing to K-Country where people are taken to a secret smoke spot.
And while Cannanaskis isn’t licensed to sell cannabis, FivePoint offers a discount to Cannanaskis guests at the start of the tour so people can stock up for the day. People are also allowed to bring their own stash, provided it remains under the 30 gram personal limit.
From there, it’s time to enjoy the high and indulge in lunch time before climbing to new heights with a local hike to enjoy the views.
“Anybody that partakes knows that set and setting are paramount to your cannabis experience. You won’t find a better set or setting than K-Country. I take people to the most beautiful place I know,” he said, saying it’s a unique way to marry the two experiences together.
The question for Dormer is how does he transition once the weather turns cold in the area? “You have to pivot. I already have some ideas on expanding,” he said, adding he’s had a hotel company reach out to him for winter activities.
With COVID-19 decimating tourism, it’s also made tourism a local thing for people and an opportunity to explore their surroundings. Dormer has chosen to look at the pandemic as a positive.
“The pandemic says I can’t put strangers in a van, but I can put friends together. Masks are mandatory. The maximum amount of people in the van is six. I stay distanced from people during the tour. With my groups, I talk to them and ask what will make them feel comfortable. I like to call it a socially distanced mountain adventure and an opportunity for people looking to get away from a crowd.”
Dormer’s goal from kickoff was five tours. He’s exceeded that in spite of a pandemic with the hopes of attaining more before the weather turns cold.
IF YOU GO:
Tickets for the tour are $180 for two people, $320 for four people, and $420 for six people. For more information, head to cannanaskis.com
Running on weekends until the end of October (and then weather dependent).
Because the tour involves travelling in a van for up to 45 minutes or more, groups must be a single cohort of between two and six guests to allow for spacing.
Masks must be worn while inside the van and hand sanitizer must be used before entering the vehicle.
- 10:15 a.m. Stop at FivePoint Cannabis in Bridgeland
- 10:30 a.m. Depart for K-Country
- 11:15 a.m. Secret Smoke Spot
- 12:00 p.m. Viewpoint Lunch
- 12:45 p.m. Depart for Hike
- 1:15 p.m. Hike
- 2:30 p.m. Depart for Calgary
- 3:45 p.m. Arrive back in Calgary
Guests must be 18+.
Sheldon Smith is a Calgary-based journalist with extensive experience writing about cannabis.