Small-town community feel, a stone’s throw from Calgary city limits
While it’s a quick jaunt from Calgary’s southern limits, residents of Okotoks are happy with the small-town feel the town possesses.
“I like living in Okotoks because it is family-oriented, family-focused, has a small-town community feel and it is 10 to 15 minutes away from the city,” said community resident Charlie-Mae Marlatt.
“There’s so much to do here; fishing, rafting and camping, a person can go on and on.”
Okotoks, derived from the Blackfoot word for “rock”, first appeared on the map as a stop on the Macleod Trail — originally used to move goods from Montana into the Prairie provinces. The town’s first residents are recorded as Kenneth Cameron and Alexander McRae who first made their mark in 1882.
Fast forward 133 years and the town has grown to more than 27,000 residents. Okotoks has been steadily growing with a 46.7 per cent growth rate between 2001 and 2006; a 42.9 per cent growth rate between 2006 and 2011 and a five per cent growth rate between June 2012 and June 2013.
“While lifestyle choices and affordability continue to impact homebuyers’ decisions to live in surrounding areas, there continues to be notable differences in what they’re getting,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“Based on the MLS® Home Price Index attributes report, the typical home in Cochrane and Okotoks tends to be newer and offers larger lot and home sizes relative to benchmark properties in Calgary.”
In December, Okotoks saw 32 sales at an average sale price of $446,518 compared to Calgary’s December sale price average of $501,946.
Just west of the town is the infamous “rock” the community is named for. The Okotoks Erratic, a seven-million-kilogram boulder left behind by prehistoric glaciers, was recently named in the CyArk 500 Challege, an international project to digitally preserve and create awareness of some of the world’s most significant cultural heritage sties.
“We are very exictited for the digital preservation of Okotoks Erratic and its inclusion in the CyArk 500 Challenge,” said Elizabeth Lee, vice-president with CyArk. “The CyArk 500 strives to connect the international heritage community in an effort to preserve and experience incredible places in a way previously impossible.”
Further adding to Okotoks’ community feel is an Urban Hen Pilot Project the Town council requested administration research the feasibility of in November of last year. In 2008, the Town affirmed prohibitions for livestock in town limits, but after some other towns and city’s have been giving poultry licences, Okotoks is looking into following suit.
Currently, Black Diamond and Turner Valley are also in the midst of hen pilot projects while Red Deer passed a Chicken Bylaw in July 2014.