Okotoks, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1904, population 24 511 (2011c), 17 150 (2006c). The Town of Okotoks is located 20 kilometres south of CALGARY. The name Okotoks is derived from a Siksika word meaning "stoney," referring to a crossing site of the Sheep River, which runs through the town. Originally the site of a stopping house on the Macleod Trail in the 1880s, Okotoks was known briefly (1892-97) as Dewdney after the lieutenant-governor 1881-88 (see DEWDNEY, SIR EDGAR).
The routing of the CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY through Calgary made Okotoks a resting point on overland connecting trails from the south, and in 1891 with the completion of the railway to Fort Macleod, Okotoks boomed as a flourishing transportation, ranching and sawmilling centre. The discovery of the oil field west of the town in 1914 added further impetus to growth. The impact of the 1954 highway bypass was redressed in the 1960s and 1970s when Okotoks became a commuter suburb of Calgary.