Partner City


Life Astride the Sheep River

The Town of Okotoks is located near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in beautiful southern Alberta. Okotoks gets its name from the Blackfoot word for the giant glacial erratic, the Big Rock, located just west of town. Built near ancient fords over the Sheep River, the village first took root to serve travelers on what became known as the Macleod Trail – the wagon and stagecoach trail that linked Fort Macleod to Fort Calgary. Two early settlers, Kenneth Cameron and John Macmillan, each established stopping houses in the area and this entrepreneurial spirit helped lay the foundation of what would become Okotoks. Today. Okotoks’ historic downtown is home to many heritage buildings and unique businesses that exemplify the community’s proud historic past.

These photos and tours are possible through the generous support of our partners.

Historic Walking Tours

Then and Now Photos

Homeowning Homeowning

Okotoks Archives F64f1p3 & On This Spot Enterprises

Homeowning - 1905

The house in this photo was owned by Robert Hamilton and Matilda Fiske, and continues to survive to this day. The way homes were designed and meant to be lived in were quite different than they are today. On the inside the home represented a space for the family, and the domestic space for women, while exterior decoration represented the style of the time, giving us a window into small town Alberta culture over 100 years ago.

Paterson Store Paterson Store

Okotoks Archives F64f1p9 & On This Spot Enterprises

Paterson Store - 1905

Paterson Store on North Railway Street in Okotoks, before the lettering was painted on the front. On the back of this photo James J Morrison wrote "Paterson Store in Okotoks. I was working there when it was taken before I was married when the new store was first opened up" L-R J J Morrison, unknown, John Paterson, unknown, unknown. Note. When this photo was taken the name had not yet been painted on the front of the store.Okotoks, Alberta. 1905 or 1906.

James J. Morrison James J. Morrison

Okotoks Archives F64f1p4 & On This Spot Enterprises

James J. Morrison - 1906

James J. Morrison stands out in front of his home just before he marries.

Mary Daggett Mary Daggett

Okotoks Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Mary Daggett - 1911

Mary Daggett sits on a piling overlooking the Lineham mill pond. The Daggett family was one of the few families who had a camera in early Okotoks and Mary was one of their daughters.

Mrs. Scott's House Mrs. Scott's House

Okotoks Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Mrs. Scott's House - 1915

A flood in Okotoks causes the water to rise to the doorstep of Mrs. Scott's house.

Lineham House Lineham House

Okotoks Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Lineham House - 1928

The Lineham house on Elma Street was near the Willingdon Hotel. John Lineham owned the lumber mill in Okotoks and was a wealthy man prominent in the community.

Cars on the Bridge Cars on the Bridge

Okotoks Archives F1f8p15 & On This Spot Enterprises

Cars on the Bridge - 1928

Cars drive across the bridge over the Sheep River in the late 1920s. As cars were popularized in the early twentieth century the landscape of small towns on the prairies began to change. Bridges and roads had to change to accomodate cars rather than wagons and gas stations began to pop up replacing livery stables. Additionally, towns were faced with created traffic laws as the amount of vehicles increased.

Okotoks South East Okotoks South East

Okotoks Archives F63f3p1 & On This Spot Enterprises

Okotoks South East - 1940s

Looking southeast we can see the Ben Hood house in the right hand corner and the Okotoks arena in the background.

Winter Winter

& On This Spot Enterprises

Winter - 1950s

Looking south over Okotoks in winter we can see the Hessel residence and the Elks Dance Hall.

Derailment Derailment

Okotoks Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Derailment - 1972

A train derailed in Okotoks in the early 1970s.