(Source: Len Langevin – Under Creative Commons License)
Are you planning a move to Alberta but looking for an alternative to big-city living? If so, you may be interested in living in Olds, Alberta.
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, Olds, Alberta, offers many advantages for those wishing to move to Alberta, Canada.
The town is big enough to provide most of the amenities you will need. But, if there is anything you can’t find locally, Calgary is only an hour’s drive away.
In Olds, you avoid the noise and traffic of a big city and have easy access to the many outdoor activities in the surrounding countryside. The nearby recreational areas draw crowds from Calgary in the summer.
This article will give you all the key information you need about living in Olds, Alberta. In addition, we will provide you with an unbiased view of the pros and cons of living in Olds to help you decide whether it is the place for you.
Living In Olds – The Facts
Here are a few key facts about this prairie town for anyone interested in living in Olds.
Where Is Olds?
Olds lies on prairie land in central Alberta, with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains to its west. It is located on the north side of the Red Deer River, approximately 77km south of the city of Red Deer and 90km north of Calgary.
The closest neighbouring communities are Bowden to the south, Sundre to the west, and Rocky Mountain House to the east.
What Is The Population Of Olds in 2023?
The population of Olds in 2023 is 9,567, according to the latest Alberta provincial data.
The town has seen marginal growth in recent years. The latest federal census data (released in 2022) showed a population of 9,209, representing a growth in the population of Olds of 0.3% between 2016 and 2021.
The average age of the population is 43.8, around 2 years higher than the national average, and the majority of those living in Olds are white and English-speaking. Around 9% are classed as visible minorities, and the largest minority group is Filipino (just over 50%).
What Is The Weather Like In Olds?
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.
Olds has four distinct seasons, with summer highs of around 22 deg C and winter lows of around -14 deg C. Winter temperatures are often milder than much of Canada due to warm, dry Chinook winds that often blow through the town.
A Chinook can last from a few hours to a few days, bringing quite dramatic temperature increases. An increase of 10-20 deg C within a day is not uncommon.
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 Cost Of Living Like In Olds?
Most Albertans have a high 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 Olds is below average for Alberta and Canada. A significant factor is the relatively low housing costs: property costs are around 25% lower than the provincial average.
What Is The Olds Economy Based On?
Olds has a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, oil and gas, light manufacturing and education. The town has excellent transport connections and some of the fastest internet in the country. Olds has its own fibre optic internet company (O-Net), which provides high-speed internet to residents and businesses.
Is Olds 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 generally has higher crime rates than national averages. However, crime rates for Olds are extremely low, significantly below the Alberta averages.
What Are The Schools Like In Olds, Alberta?
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.
Olds has a total of 6 public schools covering education needs from Kindergarten to grade 12. Ecole Olds Elementary School, Ecole Deer Meadow School and Ecole Olds High School all offer French immersion as an option.
Reed Ranch School provides another elementary school option, while Holy Trinity Catholic School and Olds Mountain View Christian School offer religious schooling.
What Is The Healthcare Like In Olds, Alberta?
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 Olds 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.
Olds Hospital and Care Centre offer a range of medical services, including 24/7 emergency care. And, if more specialized services are required, then Calgary is about a 1-hour drive away.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Olds, Alberta
The pros and cons of living in Olds will vary from person to person, but whatever you are looking for, these are key factors for you to consider.
Pros Of Living In Olds, Alberta
- Small-town feel
- Good amenities
- Excellent road connections
- 1 hour from Calgary
- 45 minutes from Calgary airport
- High sunshine hours
- Low provincial taxes
- Low property prices
Cons Of Living In Olds, Alberta
- Shortage of family doctors
- Some find the town lacks character
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.