Calgary and Okotoks Real Estate - Information on Okotoks
The town celebrated its centennial in 2004.
The town's name is derived from "ohkotok"
, the Blackfoot First Nation
word for "rock
", but is also often simply known as "Rock City". The rock being referred to is the world's largest known glacial erratic
which is situated about 8 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. Soon trading posts
sprang up, including one established in 1874 at the Sheep River crossing on the current Okotoks townsite. This crossing was on a trade route called the Macleod Trail
, which led from Fort Benton, Montana
In 1879, the area saw the killing of the last buffalo. Government leasing of land for one cent per acre ($2.47/km²) began in 1880. This created a major change in the region.
A community grew up around a sawmill
that was established in 1891, and it would grow in size. The last stagecoach stopped in Okotoks in 1891 when rail service between Calgary and Fort Macleod
replaced horse-drawn travel. By 1897 the community name had changed three times: from Sheep Creek to Dewdney to Okotoks, assigned by the Canadian Pacific Railway
. The rail line is still a main line south to the U.S. border, but the last of the passenger service (Dayliner
unit) ended in 1971.
Okotoks, like much of southern Alberta, suffered major flooding in June 2005. Virtually all lands adjacent to the Sheep River, including the central business district, were at least briefly flooded, with the most serious damage being inflicted to riverside pathways, parks and campgrounds. Prior to this event, that last major flood in Okotoks and the surrounding area occurred in 1995.
- Average hours of sunshine per day: 6.34
- Chinook average: 25 days
- Frost free days: 112
- Mean rainfall per year: 11.8 in (300 mm)
- Mean snowfall per year: 60 in (153 cm)
- Mean total precipitation: 16.7 in (424 mm)
- Number of days with precipitation: 113
- Distance to Calgary City Centre: 32 km
Although the Sheep River
runs through Okotoks year round, artesian
wells near the river supply the town with its water. 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
. In concern for the supply of water, the town announced a unique and controversial suggestion of capping its population at 25,000 residents. In an interview on The Current
, Mayor Bill McAlpine stated that this objective may be politically difficult due to the surrounding region.
Residents of the town are proud of their heritage. Numerous old buildings have been restored, and one house was even resituated. blocks away to avoid destruction by the widening of the highway through the townsite.
The population of the Town of Okotoks according to its 2010 municipal census
is 23,201, a 7.0% increase over its 2009 municipal census population of 21,690.
In 2006, Okotoks had a population of 17,145 living in 5,927 dwellings, a 46.7% increase from 2001. The town has a land area of 18.55 km2
(7.2 sq mi
) and a population density
of 924.4 /km2
- Air Ranch
- Crystal Ridge
- Drake Landing
- Sheep River
- Tower Hill
- Hunter's Glen
Olde Towne Plaza is located downtown
The sawmill that was established by John Lineham along the Sheep River in 1891 operated for 25 years and was a major part of the local economy. At one time it employed 135 people, producing an average of 30,000 feet (9,000 m) of lumber per day. The growth of the Canadian Pacific Railway created a demand for railway ties and the mill helped meet that demand. Logs were brought down from the west via the Sheep River. The mill has long since disappeared but one building (one of the oldest remaining in the township) still stands. It housed an award-winning (butter) dairy
from the 1920s to the 1940s. It currently houses a law office and restaurant.
In 1900, just west of Okotoks, four brick-making plants were opened. Many of the first brick buildings in Okotoks (of which a number still exist) were constructed using locally-made brick. The industry reached its peak in 1912, when twelve million bricks were manufactured. The outbreak of World War I
caused the shutdown of “Sandstone” as it was known.
By 1906 the population had hit 1900, a figure that would not be reached again until 1977.
Oil was discovered west of Okotoks in 1913. Okotoks became the supply centre. In its heyday, from 1913 to the 1960s, Okotoks was busy with horses, wagons, and transports hauling all types of equipment to the oil fields, and crude oil
back through town to refineries
The Texas Gulf sulphur
plant (known as CanOxy) opened in 1959, employing 45 people. It was not unusual to see the bright yellow, three-story high, block-long, block-wide sulphur storage waiting to be melted or ground up and poured into railway cars.
Since 1974, Okotoks has been hosting a collector car auction in late May. It is the longest running collector car auction in Canada.
Okotoks was one of the few communities its size to have its own airport. A number of small air shows were held there over the years. It was the home of an aircraft charter company, flight school, and a helicopter
flying school. The site has now evolved into an airpark community called the Okotoks Air Ranch, where the property owners, if they wish, can build homes with attached hangars
for their private planes.
The town of Okotoks became a case study for the Microsoft
Corporation and earned a page on Microsoft’s website.
- Foothills School Division
- Big Rock Elementary School
- Cameron Crossing Outreach School
- Dr. Morris Gibson Elementary School
- Percy Pegler Elementary School
- Okotoks Junior High School
- Foothills Composite High School
- Alberta High School of Fine Arts
- Ecole Francophone d'Okotoks
- Westmount Elementary-Junior High School (Opening Fall 2012)
- Christ the Redeemer Catholic School Division
- Good Shepherd School
- John Paul II Collegiate
- Holy Trinity Academy
- St. Mary's School
- St. Luke's Outreach Centre
- St. Paul's Academy
- Edison Private School
- Strathcona Tweedsmuir School
Sport and recreation
In July 2004 Okotoks,
High River, and the Municipal District of Foothills hosted the Alberta Summer Games. More than 3,200 athletes competed in 17 sports. In the three-day competition, the largest in its 30 year history, 512 medals were handed out.
- Foothills Eagles Bantam Football Club
- Foothills Eagles Peewee Football Club
- Foothills Eagles Atom Football Club
- Foothills Falcons Bantam Football Club - 2008 Provincial Champions - 2006, 2007, 2008 League Champions.
- Foothills Falcons Peewee Football Club
- Foothills Falcons Atom Football Club
- Foothills Composite High School Falcons Football
- Aquatic Sports - Swimming, etc.
- Foothills Stingrays Swim Club
- Okotoks Stingrays Swim Club
- Okotoks Synchro Sea Queens
- Dolphins Water Polo
- Okotoks Masters Swim Club
- Okotoks Ice - Tier II
- Okotoks Icemen - Tier III
The D'Arcy Ranch Golf Course
The River's Edge Golf Course is an 18-hole, grass-green course on the banks of the Sheep River 5 km east of Okotoks.
The Crystal Ridge Golf Club opened on August 8, 2004. The 9-hole, 3125-yard, par 35 track features water and rock work on every hole, with many mature trees, berms, sand traps, and large undulating greens. Each hole features a minimum of five tee boxes.
BMX bike track
The town has its own BMX
bike track maintained by local volunteers.
Indoor recreation facilities
Okotoks Recreation Centre
- Swindell's Swimming Pool
- Murray Arena
- Piper Arena
- Shane Homes Gymnasium
- Okotoks Curling Rink
- Centennial Arena
- Outdoor recreation facilities
- Skateboard Park
- Kinsmen Outdoor Skating Arena
- Various outdoor ball diamonds, soccer fields and tennis courts
- Okotoks Spray Park (opened June 4, 2010)
- Okotoks Lions Sheep River Campground
- Country Lane RV Park
- Okotoks Wilderness Campgrounds
- Riverbend Campground
The Sheep River offers some excellent opportunities for fly fishing
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