Nestled along the Sheep River Valley in the heart of the Alberta Foothills chinook zone, Okotoks is a friendly community with a strong past, vibrant present, and optimistic future. Okotoks is flanked by the the Rocky Mountains to the west, and is situated 18 kms south of the Calgary city limits.

First Nations peoples inhabited the Okotoks area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The name, Okotoks, is derived from "o'kotok", a Blackfoot First Nation word meaning rock or stone.  The actual intent is lost in history. However it is generally agreed that it refers to either the "Big Rock" west of town, or the "Stoney Crossing" of Sheep Creek.

David Thompson explored the area as early as 1800. Soon, trading posts sprang up, including one established in 1874 at the Sheep River crossing on the current Okotoks town site.

This crossing, on the trade route called the Macleod Trail, which led from Fort Benton, Montana to Calgary opened the area to the cowboys, whiskey traders, settlers, farmers, and ranchers. The colourful past and rich heritage that is Okotoks was established. The last stagecoach stopped in Okotoks in 1891 when rail service between Calgary and Fort Macleod replaced horse-drawn travel.

Grand Central Hotel
The Grand Central Hotel was built in 1905 by Alex and Hugh Patterson. It used to stand on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Centre Avenue in Okotoks, and was three stories high with wide covered verandahs. There were forty-two rooms, including a large dining room, billiard room, bar, and sample rooms where traveling salesman displayed their goods. It fell into disrepair in 1928, and was torn down. Another hotel, the Willingdon, was built in its place.

By 1906, Okotoks was a booming metropolis. There were hotels, livery stables, blacksmiths, churches, doctors, implement dealers, stone quarries, brickyards, a bank, hospital, drugstore, veterinarian, telephone operator, newspaper, and a cement plant. When oil was discovered west of town in 1913, Okotoks became the major supply centre.

Okotoks modernized in 1929 with the removal of wooden sidewalks and hitching posts from it's main street. However, the cowboy culture, old-style saloons and a sense of adventure remained.

With aboriginal beginnings, the colourful history of traders, mounties, cowboys and ranchers, Okotoks is now a relaxed, modern, upbeat town preparing for the future.