Is Okotoks a Good Place to Live?

Okotoks is a charming town in Alberta, Canada, known for its unique blend of small-town charm and modern amenities. Okotoks is named after the glacial erratic that is located SW of the townsite. “Okatok” is a Blackfoot word which means rock. In 2015, Okotoks hit the National stage with what some thought was the “world’s saddest tourism slogan”: There are a number of things to do in Okotoks. The hashtag #thingstodoinokotoks went viral and by the end of the year, a lot more people knew about Okotoks!

Here’s a list of reasons why Okotoks is a great place to live:

Table of Contents

1. Locations & Accessibility

2. Quality of Life

3. Economic Opportunities

4. Safety & Crime Rate

5. Natural Beauty & Environment

6. Community & Social Dynamics

7. Amenities & Services

8. Education & Learning Opportunities

Location & Accessibility

Proximity to Major Cities

Okotoks is a short 15 minute drive from the south end of Calgary. And as long as you don’t hit traffic you can be at the Calgary International Airport in under 40 minutes. Yes Okotoks has an airport but it’s a “bring your own airplane” type of airport.

Transportation Infrastructure

For traveling around within Okotoks, there’s the on demand Transit that will take you from driveway to driveway. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can rent an e-scooter that you can use to take around town and you will definitely appreciate an e-scooter if you’re going UP 32nd Street!

Commuting Options

If you don’t feel like making that drive into Calgary you can always hop on the Okotoks commuter bus which is provided by on->it Regional Transit. The commuter bus stops at almost 12 places before heading directly to downtown Calgary. No coffee service onboard but I’m sure they have cup holders.

Quality of Life

Housing Market and Affordability

Okotoks has a variety of housing types. There are apartments, townhouses and single-family homes. Older communities offer larger yards with established landscaping. Newer communities offer more modern floor plans. As of September 2023 average price for an apartment was $270,000, a row townhouse approximately 320,000 and a single family detached home 610,000 compared to Calgary with an average price of $727,000, Okotoks is very affordable.

Education and Schools

There are publicly funded public and separate Catholic systems and within both you have the option of English or French immersion. There’s even a francophone school for French speaking families. Okotoks also has a large homeschooling community and if you choose private education there are two schools close to Okotoks. In most cases, the location of your primary residence will determine which school your children will attend. There are of course exceptions and this is best discussed with the principal of the school you’d like your children to attend. Options are good.

Healthcare Facilities

In addition to the typical medical clinics, dental, chiropractic, massage etc there’s also a Urgent Care Center that’s open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The nearest major hospital is the South Health Campus in Calgary and that’s a full-service hospital with 24-hour care located about 15 minutes away. There are two smaller hospitals south ( High River) and west (Black Diamond) of Okotoks The High River Hospital is the birthplace of many little Okotokians!

Parks & Recreational Activities

Okotoks is the proud home of the WCBL Dawgs team If sitting in the stands drinking beer and eating hot dogs is your type of activity, you can get a season pass for less than $500! If you’re feeling more adventurous there are numerous Parks, recreational facilities and clubs for both athletes and wanna be athletes alike. Oh and golf courses, we have so. many. golf courses.

Cultural & Community Events

Okotoks has a vibrant arts and culture scene including art galleries, theaters and cultural events that showcase local talent. The Okotoks art gallery offers classes to all age groups and all talent (or non-talent) levels, and Dewdney players group offer a variety of productions featuring award-winning performers. Even the high schools offer performances that are open to the general public.

Economic Opportunities

Employment Rate & Industries

In addition to healthcare, retail and tourism, Okotoks has a thriving entrepreneurial community!

Business Environment & Entrepreneurship

Many small business owners operate out of their homes and with the new Coworking centre , you can get out of the house and meet other likeminded business owners.

Safety & Crime Rate

Crime Statistics

Statistically people feel safe in Okotoks and they have reason to feel that way as we have a low crime rate. You’re probably more likely to have an issue with deer than a criminal


Community Policing & Safety Measures

Okotoks is policed by the RCMP and there’s also the Okotoks bylaw enforcement. If you’re zipping on the highway you may meet a provincial Sheriff. There’s also the local Facebook groups featuring doorbell cameras and observant neighbors.

Natural Beauty & Environment

Scenic Beauty & Green Spaces

The North End of Okotoks is the best place to watch a Chinook Arch come over the mountains! Even when we’re not experiencing those beautiful warm winds, the view of the Foothills with the mountains in the background is stunning. In addition to the kilometers of man made/community walking paths, there is the beautiful Sheep River Valley pathway system that cyclists, runners and walkers use year round. And according to Elliott Salmon, the paths are bikeable even after snow as the town does an amazing job keeping them clear.

Environmental Sustainability Efforts

There is just simply so much to say about the environmental initiatives that Okotoks has implemented. I’d encourage you to reach out and check out the This is so much bigger than recycling and composting.

Community & Social Dynamics

Diversity & Inclusivity

Yes, Okotoks is a small town but we are heavily influenced by Calgary so our values are progressive and inclusive. Everyone is welcome.

Social Services & Support Systems

For the most up to date information, check out the Okotoks website.

Community Engagement & Volunteering Opportunities

We have the happiest, friendliest citizens.

Amenities & Services

Shopping Centers & Retail Options

Heed my advice: Don’t go to Costco on Saturdays. People from Calgary have discovered our friendly little Costco and Saturdays appear to be field trip day to the Okotoks Costco for them. So yes we have a lot of the big box type stores but we also have a charming main street (Elizabeth) with local stores.

Restaurants & Culinary Scene

Similar to shopping we’ve got the big franchise restaurants but we also have the really cute independent ones, Mostly on Elizabeth Street of course , and if you’re looking for amazing Pizza we probably have three of the best independent pizza restaurants in Southern Alberta!

Entertainment & Nightlife

Despite what you may believe based on Social media, Okotoks does have a nightlife beyond Hubtown Brewery. Although Hubtown really does embrace everything small town with their many, many fun evening activities. Big Beaver Brewing is also a great place for live music and beer!

Education & Learning Opportunities

Higher Education Institutions

In September of 2022 Bow Valley College opened a newly expanded regional campus in the new Okotoks Arts and Learning Campus. Many Okotoks high school graduates choose Lethbridge University due to the small size and proximity (approximately 90 minutes south so it’s easy enough to come home on weekends!).

Lifelong Learning & Skill Development

Depending on what you’d like to learn, there are options. Bow Valley College, Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks Rec centre all offer a variety of in person learning. Online- well as long as you have decent internet (which Okotoks has – check out Shaw or Telus), you can learn on any campus in the world!

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