Are you planning a move to Alberta but looking for a quiet location away from the big cities? If so, you may be interested in living in Fort Macleod, a small town historic town on the edge of the Rocky Mountain foothills.
Although not as well known as the popular Calgary commuter towns of Okotoks and Cochrane or the incredibly picturesque mountain towns of Banff, Canmore and Jasper, Fort Macleod, Alberta, offers many advantages for those wishing to move to Alberta, Canada.
The attractive downtown area is a Designated Historic Area, and the town itself lies on rolling prairie land. It is a peaceful place to make your home and less than an hour from the regional centre of Lethbridge.
This article will give you all of the key information you need about living in Fort Macleod. In addition, we will provide you with an unbiased view of the pros and cons of living in Fort Macleod to help you decide whether it is the place for you.
Living In Fort Macleod – The Facts
For anyone interested in living in Fort Macleod, here are a few of the key facts about this small town.
Where Is Fort Macleod?
Fort Macleod a prairie town in southwestern Alberta, around 180km south of Calgary and just 60km from the U.S. border. Your closest regional centre would be Lethbridge (population 105,000), around a 45-minute drive east of the town.
Fort Macleod is in the rolling prairies on the edge of the Rocky Mountain foothills. You can easily see the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
What Is The Population Of Fort Macleod in 2023?
The population of Fort Macleod in 2023 is 3,111, according to the latest Alberta provincial data.
The town has seen steady growth in recent years. The latest federal census data (released in 2022) showed a population of 3,297, representing a growth in the population of Fort Macleod of 11.1% between 2016 and 2021.
The average age of the population is 42.9, one year higher than the national average of 41.9. The majority of those living in Fort Macleod are white and English-speaking. Just 7% are classed as visible minorities, and the largest minority group is Filipino (around 75%).
What Is The Weather Like In Fort Macleod?
Most of Canada experiences cold, harsh winters with pleasant, moderately hot summers, and Alberta is no different. However, the good news is that with 2,300 hours of sunshine in the south annually, and 1900 hours in the north, it is Canada’s sunniest province.
Fort Macleod has an average January low of -13 deg C and an average July high of 26 deg C. The area is known for its winds and is home to a number of wind farms.
On a positive note, the area does benefit from frequent chinook winds. These warm winds blow down from the Rocky Mountains and can cause dramatic increases in temperature within a few hours.
What Is The Cost of Living In Fort Macleod Like?
Most Albertans have a high level of disposable income compared to other provinces of Canada. Income tax and sales tax are lower than in many provinces. Sales tax is just 5%, compared to 12% in BC, 13% in Ontario and 15% in Nova Scotia.
The cost of living in Fort Macleod is relatively low, and house prices are significantly lower than Alberta and national averages. In addition, the town is close to Lethbridge, for residents to access low-cost shopping options at the big box stores.
What Is The Fort Macleod Economy Based On?
Fort Macleod has a diverse economy; local industries include manufacturing, natural resource extraction, agriculture and tourism. Wind farm projects in recent years have been important to the area’s economy, and the giant turbines are a common feature of the landscape.
Is Fort Macleod A Safe Place To Live?
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world to live in. Crime rates are low, and the country always features near the top of the annual Global Peace Index rankings.
Within Canada, Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime provinces have the lowest crime rates, while rates are highest in the territories.
Alberta crime rates are higher than the national average, and crime rates in Fort Macleod are higher than Alberta averages. However, you should remember that these crime rates are still low compared to most other developed countries.
What Are The Schools In Fort Macleod Like?
Canada has a strong and publicly-funded education system, which consistently ranks as one of the best in the world. Education is administered at a provincial level, and the Alberta education system is considered one of the best in Canada.
Fort Macleod has two public schools operating within the Livingstone Range School Division. W.A. Day Elementary School covers Kindergarten to Grade 5, while F.P. Walshe High School caters to grades 6 to 12. For older students, Lethbridge has a range of post-secondary options.
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Are you wondering whether to make the move and have endless questions?
We have the answers to these and many more questions.
What Is The Healthcare In Fort Macleod Like?
Canada has an excellent publicly-funded healthcare system which covers “medically necessary” care. Generally, hospital and doctor visits are covered, while other types of care, such as dental, optical and prescriptions, are funded for certain groups of people.
In Canada, healthcare is administered at a provincial level, so anyone living in Fort Macleod would be covered through Alberta Health Services.
You should be aware that there is currently a shortage of family doctors in Alberta, and it can be difficult to find clinics taking on new patients. This is especially true of the smaller towns and cities. However, to find out about doctors accepting patients in any area, you can use Alberta Health’s online tool.
Fort Macleod Health Centre offers a range of services, including 24/7 emergency care; if needed, the closest regional hospital is around a 45-minute drive away in Lethbridge.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Fort Macleod
The pros and cons of living in Fort Macleod will vary from person to person, but whatever you are looking for, these are some key factors for you to consider.
Pros Of Living In Fort Macleod
- Peaceful rural location
- Good road connections
- Low housing costs
- Low provincial taxes
- Warm chinook winds
- Close to the Rocky Mountains
Cons Of Living In Fort Macleod
- Windy location
- It May be too quiet for some
- Crime rates above Alberta’s average
If you are interested in checking out other small towns in Alberta, you may be interested in our article on the 16 Best Small Towns In Alberta To Live In 2023.