Other than a few small family excursions, Matthew G. Bailey (Matt) never considered himself an avid traveller or explorer… that is until he took a leap of faith and hopped on a plane to Australia – a move which lit a fire in him and opened his eyes to the possibilities of new experiences, new friends, and new adventures in unique places like Crowsnest Pass. Having explored countless destinations around the world, Matt wanted to experience something different – an ‘off the beaten path’ alternative surrounded by the stunning mountains that energize him, which is exactly what he found when he came to The Pass.
Now a writer, entrepreneur, and world traveller, Matt uses his sense of adventure and flair for the written word to capture the spirit of each region he visits, including Crowsnest Pass – a place which he describes as one of the most inspiring locations in the Canadian Rockies.
Using his two online platforms, Live Limitless and MustDoCanada, Matt encourages his viewers to live without limits and explore new possibilities by sharing his favourite ‘must-see’ locales across Canada and the world. We sat down with Matt as he discussed what makes Crowsnest Pass stand out amongst all the exotic places he’s visited.
Q: Can you tell us about your experience in Crowsnest Pass?
I was actually in Crowsnest Pass once as a child. I mainly remember Frank Slide. I was young, but it was so huge. I always wanted to get back there. I had the opportunity to go back to Crowsnest Pass on a media trip and tour the five towns that make up The Pass – Bellevue, Blairmore, Coleman, Frank and Hillcrest – and I jumped at the chance. The trip felt way too short as there is so much to do there, but Frank Slide was still one of my favourites. I also really enjoyed the Bellevue Mine and all the amazing people I met while there. I really felt like a local.
Q: What do you love most about Crowsnest Pass?
Well, to be honest, it’s hard to find anything I don’t love. If I had to choose something, I would say I really love the combination of the history and the overall scenery around The Pass. I found that whenever I meet someone, and they talk about the history of Crowsnest Pass like the Rum Runners or Frank Slide, I could just keep listening for hours. There is so much to learn, and to have physical things that allowed me to see the remnants of the stories they were telling – like the plane crash site, old equipment and Frank Slide – it makes me want to spend more time there and see how deep I can go.
Q: What would you consider to be your favourite season in The Pass?
I was last there in June, in the summer. It was really beautiful, but I’ve seen so many incredible pictures from every season, especially on the Explore the Pass Instagram account. It would definitely be a different experience in other seasons. I’m hoping to go back in the winter to ski, snowmobile and snowshoe. I imagine it as a very different yet equally captivating place in the winter.
Q: Are there any places in Crowsnest Pass that you’re dying to get back to?
I’d really like to get out into nature more. I was so intrigued by the history of the towns and the whole of Crowsnest. I learned a lot and loved every minute of it, but I would really like to explore the stunning surroundings of the towns more in-depth. For example, there is a huge trail network that links all the towns together that I want to explore – The Crowsnest Pass Community Trail. I also want to do some hikes up some of the mountains, especially Turtle Mountain, as well as experience a few hikes where you can still see old remnants of some of the history. I was told there is an old Volkswagen beetle on a trail which was driven by the Rum Runners of The Pass when they were trying to escape the Police. I’ve got to see it.
Quick Fire Questions
Describe The Pass in three words:
History. Scenery. Welcoming.
Last song you listened to?
Body (ft. Brando) – Loud Luxury
Green, but it’s a close call with Blue
Favourite Crowsnest Pass memory?
Staring down at Frank Slide from the interpretive centre and realizing how far and wide it is. I seriously need to hike that peak for the full view.
One item you couldn’t live without?
Hot or cold?
Best place to unwind in Crowsnest Pass?
Bellevue – Just walking the streets is amazing.
Follow Matt as he highlights some of the best of Canada – from coast to coast to coast – on the MustDoCanada website, as well as on YouTube, Facebook (@MustDoCanada) and Instagram (@mustdocanada). Of course, Crowsnest Pass made the ‘Must Do’ list.