Are you thinking of moving to Alberta, and you don’t want to live in the big cities like Calgary and Edmonton? You might consider Okotoks. This small town has a lot of character to it. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Okotoks?
There are a lot of reasons to stay in Okotoks. They include the proximity to Calgary, vibrant downtown, safety, affordability, family friendliness, great neighbourhoods, and shopping options. But there are concerns such as the toll of commuting, harsh winters, and its effect on your social circle.
Regardless of the few disadvantages that come with living here, Okotoks is a great community. Here, we examine both sides of living in the town so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Pros of living in Okotoks
Here are the advantages of living in Okotoks
1. Multiple Shopping Options
One of the big positives for residents of Okotoks is that there are several shopping options in the town. This means there’s no need to go to Calgary anytime you need something. Okotoks has Costco, Save on Foods, Home Depot, Safeway, and other shopping centers. So, residents can meet all their shopping needs right in the community.
2. Proximity to Calgary
When choosing where to live, location is very important. It’s why most people live in big cities or close to big cities because of the opportunities they’ll have access to while there. Fortunately, Okotoks is a small town near a big city. Calgary is about 40 minutes by car, and there are several ways to get there from Okotoks. Available options include driving your car, taking a taxi, getting a bus, or the Line 201 tram. Your choice will largely depend on where you’re going in Calgary.
Being near Calgary means that residents of Okotoks can work in Calgary. Being the center of Canada’s oil industry, the city is home to top companies, schools, and several amenities. But with a population of over 1.3 million, the city has its fair share of problems. Living in Okotoks helps you avoid some of these problems while still getting most of the benefits.
3. Great Neighbourhoods
Another reason to love Okotoks is that it has amazing neighborhoods. No matter what you’re looking for in a community, you’ll find an ideal area that offers that. Some of the amazing neighborhoods here include Drake Landing and Air Ranch. Drake Landing is one of the few solar-powered communities in Canada.
On the other hand, Air Ranch is a luxury and exclusive neighborhood in northeast Okotoks. It boasts of great homes with amazing scenery. There are several other nice neighborhoods here, each with perks, including bike paths, walk lanes, lake access, massive acreage, etc.
4. Vibrant Downtown
Okotoks isn’t Toronto or Calgary, but it has a vibrant downtown nonetheless. Downtown is where you’ll see Okotoks proper, with all the things that make it a community. It showcases the culture and unique character of the town. There are many entertainment options such as cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and more.
Recreational facilities are also available, and summer comes with various festivals. While Okotoks is quite great on its own, you can always head out to Calgary if you want to have a more thrilling experience.
5. Safe Community
Safety isn’t negotiable when looking for a residential area, and for that reason, Okotoks is an amazing place to reside. The odds of being a crime victim in this community of over 32,000 is 1 in 41, and it’s safer than 59% of cities in Canada. Its crime rate is 51% lower than that of Alberta and 41% below the national average. Violent crimes are also 54% below the Canadian average.
6. Family Friendly
How do you know a place is family-friendly? First, you consider factors such as schools, safety, and access to recreational facilities. Fortunately, Okotoks pass on all fronts. It’s quite safe, and the schools are excellent. Average test scores here are 7% above the national average and even higher than the Alberta average. So, you can rest assured that your child is getting a quality education. There are also several colleges and universities in or near the town.
The city also has several recreational facilities, including an actual recreation center. In addition, there are bike trails, walk paths, lakes, ski trails, and more inside or near the town.
One of the things you’ll enjoy when living in Okotoks is the affordability of basic expenses. The cost of living here is 9% below the national average, and it’s even lower for housing. Thus, you can count on getting affordable houses here. However, it’s not necessary to buy a house immediately when you move here. Instead, you can start by renting to get a lay of the land and determine what kind of house you want.
Cons of living in Okotoks
There are disadvantages to living in Okotoks, and they include
1. Harsh Winter
Winter in Okotoks is windy and snowy and lasts for about four months, from November to March. The temperature can drop to as low as -24 degrees Celsius on some occasions. But this is only on rare occasions as the average temperature in the coldest month is -9 degrees Celsius. So, if you enjoy the idea of a winter wonderland, you’ll experience it in full swing here.
2. The Toll of Commute to Calgary
If you’re working in Calgary and choose to live in Okotoks, you have to consider the daily commute you’ll have to make. Even though this might seem negligible at first, it adds up to several hours spent commuting over a year. There are also days when you might experience heavy traffic. If you’re planning to avoid the commute, you’ll have to get a job in the town. But there are limited opportunities here.
3. Effect on Social Circle
If you’re moving from a big city like Calgary to Okotoks, you should also consider how it’ll affect your social relationships. Unless all your friends are already in Okotoks and you’re moving to join them, you should be ready to lose one or two connections. For example, the frequency of meeting your friends for coffee will reduce. But not to worry, you can make a few new ones too and expand your circle.
There are more reasons to stay in Okotoks than not. Of course, this town has its disadvantages, but its perks might make you overlook the disadvantages. All in all, it’s a great place, and its livability score of 81 says just that.