Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas!

Another year has all but passed and we wanted to wish all who know us, either in the flesh or via this blog, a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2009. Here's a couple of seasonal shots from Lake Louise. In fact, this first shot was on the way to Lake Louise and shows something of a Chinook Arch over the mountains.This is an ice sculpture bench outside the Chateau Lake Louise.Meet "Sonny", Director Pet Relations at the Chateau Lake Louise. His motto is that he "turns moments into memories, one wag of the tail at a time!"Here's the sleigh ride horses, ready to pull the next set of riders around the lake.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Okotoks: A Little Bit About The Town

We've been asked by a number of people coming to Calgary and surrounds to create and publish a series of guides to areas that people may consider as their future home. The logical starting point for this task was our home town of Okotoks. We're going to tackle Okotoks in a number of parts and to begin with, here's some key facts and information regarding the town.

Okotoks is a town situated on the Sheep River. We've covered Sheep River before on some of our blog items:
January 2008 - Walk Along Sheep River
Autumn 2008 - Sheep River
Wikipedia gives an overview of the source and flow of what is, the lifeblood of the town...
Wikipedia - Sheep River

By Eurpopean standards, the town is very young. It was only incorporated in 1904. Okotoks has been and is still undergoing a significant growth in its population. As recently as the year 2000, the population was less than 10,000. Today, (and contrary to the population figure on the picture above), it is about to push through the 20,000 mark. Demographically it is a young town: 83 per cent of the town is under 45 years of age, with 30 per cent under the age of 19.

Despite its growth, Okotoks retains a friendly and small-town feel and there remains a strong sense of community pride and spirit. If you like your facts, you'll like this publication by Okotoks Town Council.
Okotoks Fact File 2008.pdf

Okotoks lies about 18km (11 miles) south of the southern edge of Calgary, Alberta. Okotoks to Central Calgary is approximately 46.7 km (30 miles). How long that would take you to drive is a subject of some debate. It depends on a number of factors, such as whether you were trying to get to downtown Calgary in the rush hour, whether you were driving legally and what the road and weather conditions were like. In the very best case, you would probably budget about 35 mins to drive from Okotoks to downtown Calgary and add time accordingly to reflect rush hour and poor conditions. You can be fairly predictable in estimating that it takes about 17 minutes to drive from the northern reaches of Okotoks to the southern reaches of Calgary in good road conditions.

There isn't any public transport to speak of, however, Southland, the people that run the school buses around here, do operate a morning and evening shuttle coach service to and from downtown Calgary. You can get the details here.

There is a live debate about the provision of a commuter bus service to Calgary in 2009 and longer term discussion about a rail link but it would be foolhardy to envisage the latter arriving any time soon.

Okotoks prides itself on its sustainability and even has areas (Drake Landing) with sustainable housing.
Sustainable Okotoks

More on areas to live, schools, recreation and more will follow.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

The First Winter Snow Fall

We got our first substantial snow of the winter today. It started to snow at around 9am this morning and continued to snow until around 5pm, leaving us with about 6inches of snow on the ground. Daily weather updates can be found at: Jan & Eam's Weather Watch

The snow ploughs/gritters did manage to clear and grit the main routes by around mid afternoon. However, when we were out at midday, the roads were fairly slippery and overall conditions and visibility weren’t good, but with a little caution we could still get around.

We found some useful "driving in the snow" tips at the following web address. Some of the tips could be a little over cautious, but with a bit of common sense, getting around shouldn't cause too many difficulties: Winter Driving Tips
This is a picture of one of the more frequently used roads, where track marks were quite visibleOne of the less frequently used roads where track marks are not so visibleSnow plough churning out snow to the sideThe upside to the snow falling on a fairly mild day, is that once you get safely home, you can play in snow and behave like a kid again!J&E

Kenny Rogers

Everyone has to see a country legend at some point in their lives. For us it was Kenny Rogers who put on a Hits & Christmas Concert at the Saddledome in late November. We feared that the Christmas part of the show might be on the cheesy side but it was very well done and a really good fun night. Enjoy some of the photos and a video from the evening.
Apart from the time he spends hiding behind the lamp-post, this clip is quite amusing: