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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
G8 leaders' mountain hideaway
Golf course in mountains
The quiet charms of the Rocky mountains
By the BBC's Nick Caistor

Shaken by the chaos and violence of the Genoa summit, the world's G8 leaders are rethinking their meetings.

Next year the venue is Canada.

Host Prime Minister Jean Chretien had all the elegates searching on their maps when he announced that the summit would take place not in the capital Ottawa but in the tiny Rocky mountain resort of Kananaskis, more than 150km from the nearest city, Calgary.


Kananaskis is a small resort, which will be filled even if Mr Chretien achieves his stated goal of reducing the G8 delegation to 30 or 35 people.

In the winter this is ski country, especially in the nearby resorts of Banff and Whistler.

Bears

In the summer, when the summit meeting is due to take place, tourists - most of them Canadian or Japanese - arrive for the mountain air, the nearby glaciers, golf, and the plentiful wildlife.

When I visited the resort, the biggest problems the local police faced were not protesters, but stray moose and bears who bother campers or stroll into town to get at the rubbish bins.

The nearest sizeable town to Kananaskis is Canmore, a small railway town of some 11,000 people with few facilities or hotspots that I could see.

Its mayor, Ron Casey, told the BBC: "We're more than happy to welcome most people to our community... but certainly the numbers of protestors and the amount of violence that seems to follow is our main concern.

"There's no questioning there is only limited access... from Canmore you drive about 20 miles (30 kilometres) down a two-lane road, and then the hotel complex is a mile off that road."

Winter Olympics

The most important international event to be held in this part of Canada was the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

That was when the two main hotels in Kananaskis were built, to house athletes and national delegations.

Man on covered wagon
Chuckwagon racing at Calgary stampede

Apart from those Olympic games, the normally calm atmosphere of Alberta is troubled only by the annual Calgary stampede, which offers the delights of "a rodeo, concerts and chuckwagon races".

The Canadian authorities are hoping there will be no such stampede for the G8 summit.

But some observers feel that by hiding away in such a remote place, the G8 leaders are putting an even greater distance between themselves and ordinary people.

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 ON THIS STORY
Mayor Casey of Canmore Canada
"We're happy to welcome most people in our community"
See also:

22 Jul 01 | Europe
G8 pledges to help poor
22 Jul 01 | Africa
Africa presents its big idea
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