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Okotoks: historic past, sustainable future

Nestled in the valley of the Sheep River is the vibrant community of Okotoks. With a population more than 27,000, Okotoks is the largest urban centre between Calgary and Lethbridge.

The name Okotoks is derived from the Blackfoot word “okatok” which means rock. This is in reference to the large glacial erratic, the Big Rock, located west of Okotoks on Highway 7.

Okotoks was incorporated as a town in 1904. Much of its history and old town charm has been preserved and the community offers exceptional services and amenities for all ages that are second to none for a community its size.

Okotoks’ unique downtown area, Olde Towne Okotoks features an eclectic mix of quaint boutiques and shops. A wide range of businesses and services are also available in other growing sectors of the town including Cornerstone, Southridge and the Okotoks Business Park, to name a few. The Southbank Business Park is developing into a shopper’s paradise with Costco, Winners and Home Depot among the businesses calling the area home.

Okotoks is home to the Okotoks Dawgs baseball team and the Okotoks Oilers and Okotoks Bisons Junior hockey teams.

As well, the recreation centre features twin arenas, a curling rink and swimming pool.

There are numerous ball diamonds and soccer pitches, a skateboard park, BMX track and an extensive river valley pathway system. The town also boasts an airport located on the east side in conjunction with a unique Air Park residential subdivision.

The town prides itself on offering a wide range of housing choices. Okotoks is the site of North American’s first solar-powered residential subdivision, the Drake Landing Solar community.

Okotoks has been recognized for its approach to recycling, water conservation and alternative energy initiatives.

The town adopted its “Sustainable Okotoks” concept in 1998 in which the community understands the importance of living within the carrying capacity of the Sheep River. The concept was developed in response to the residents’ desire for a continued small-town atmosphere, a pristine river valley, clean air and water, personal safety and respect for the environment, now and in the future. Simply put, the initiative means “leaving the world equal or better than we found it.”

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