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Okotoks is a town situated on the Sheep River, 18 kilometres south of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The town is a member of the Calgary Regional Partnership, a cooperative of communities within Greater Calgary. Okotoks has become a popular bedroom community for the city of Calgary.
The name was originally pronounced [ˈɑ.kə.tɑks] but is now largely pronounced as [ˈo.kə.toks]. The town celebrated its centennial in 2004.
The town's name is derived from "o'kotok", the Blackfoot First Nation word for "Big Rock", but is also often simply known as "Rock City". The rock being referred to is the world's largest known glacial erratic which is situated about 8 km west of the town. The 15,000 tonne (16,500 short ton) rock was transported far from its place of origin by glacial ice. When the ice melted approximately 10,000 years ago, it left the rock behind.
Before European settlement, journeying First Nations used the rock as a marker to find the river crossing situated at Okotoks. The tribes were nomadic and often followed large buffalo herds for their sustenance. 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 townsite. This crossing was on a trade route called the Macleod Trail, which lead from Fort Benton, Montana to Calgary.
In 1879, the area saw the killing of the last buffalo. Government leasing of land for one cent per acre ($2.47/kmē) began in 1880. This created a major change in the region.
Okotoks, like much of southern Alberta, suffered major flooding in June 2005. Virtually all regions adjacent to the Sheep River, including the central business district, were at least briefly flooded, with the most serious damage being inflicted to riverside pathways, parks and campgrounds. Photos and analysis of the event can be found on the town's website.
However, one decade prior to the June 2005 flood, Okotoks and the surrounding are suffered a massive flood in 1995.
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Information courtesy of Wikipedia