Okotoks, Alberta Canada

Discover Okotoks, Alberta: A Blend of History and Modern Living

Okotoks, Alberta, a town nestled in the Calgary Region of Canada, is a thriving community with a rich history and a promising future. Located on the Sheep River, approximately 38 km south of Downtown Calgary, Okotoks has emerged as a bedroom community of Calgary. As of the 2021 Federal Census, the town boasts a population of 30,214, making it the largest town in Alberta.

The Historical Journey of Okotoks, Alberta

The name "Okotoks" is derived from "ohkotok", the Blackfoot First Nation word for "rock". This name is believed to refer to Big Rock, the largest glacial erratic in the Foothills Erratics Train, situated about 7 km west of the town. Before European settlement, journeying First Nations used the rock as a marker to find the river crossing situated at Okotoks. The tribes were nomadic and often followed large buffalo herds for their sustenance.

David Thompson explored the area as early as 1800, and soon trading posts were established, including one built in 1874 at the Sheep River crossing in the current town. This crossing was on a trade route called the Macleod Trail, which led from Fort Benton, Montana to Calgary. The last buffalo was killed in the area in 1879, marking a significant change in the region's history. The first settlers arrived in 1882, and a community grew around a sawmill that was established in 1891.

Okotoks, Alberta: A Town Shaped by Flooding

Okotoks has experienced three major flooding events, in 1995, 2005, and 2013. The 2005 event, which affected much of southern Alberta, flooded virtually all lands adjacent to the Sheep River, including the central business district. The most serious damage was inflicted to riverside pathways, parks, and campgrounds. Okotoks was also affected by the 2013 Alberta floods.

Heritage Conservation in Okotoks, Alberta

Okotoks takes pride in its heritage, with numerous old buildings restored to preserve the town's history. One house was even relocated blocks away to avoid destruction by the widening of the highway through the townsite.

Land Annexation in Okotoks, Alberta

On July 1, 2017, the Government of Alberta approved the annexation of approximately 1,950 hectares (4,900 acres) of land. This move, agreed upon by Okotoks and the Municipal District of Foothills, will enable the Town to develop housing and other services over the next several decades.

Water Conservation in Okotoks, Alberta

Despite the Sheep River running through Okotoks year-round, the town's water supply comes from artesian wells near the river. In September 1998, Okotoks became one of the first communities in Canada to recognize its environmental limits to growth were restricted by the carrying capacity of the local watershed.

The People of Okotoks, Alberta

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Okotoks had a population of 30,405 living in 10,476 of its 10,750 total private dwellings. Almost 3% of Okotoks residents identified themselves as aboriginal at the time of the 2006 census. According to the 2006 census, about 93% of residents identified English as their first language while 1.4% identified French and 1.0% identified German as their first language learned.

Transit in Okotoks, Alberta

Okotoks Transit operates an on-demand bus service within the town boundaries. The system began in 2019 with accessible vans instead of traditional buses, making it a convenient and inclusive mode of transportation for all residents.