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Okotoks gallery, museum eager to welcome patrons

After being closed for the better part of a year, Okotoks arts and culture facilities are packing September full of activity. “There’s a lot going on.
NEWS-Okotoks Station Art Gallery BWC 6965 web
The Okotoks Art Gallery, designated a historic site, celebrates its 40th anniversary as a cultural arts facility during Alberta Culture Days.

After being closed for the better part of a year, Okotoks arts and culture facilities are packing September full of activity.

“There’s a lot going on. We’ve been closed a long time, so we’re really excited to start doing some stuff again,” said Katrina Lougheed, gallery specialist at Okotoks Art Gallery (OAG).

To celebrate Alberta Culture Days throughout the month, the OAG is participating in the Most Beautiful Art Tour in Alberta on Sept. 10 and 11, with the local members art show and sale up in the gallery.

On Sept. 25, two new exhibits will open: Moon Gate, by Wanru Kemp, and This Seat’s Taken, by Kimberly Ohman.

The 40th anniversary of the historic train station will also be celebrated on Sept. 25, she said.

Allan Boss, culture and heritage manager for the Town, said the unveiling of a commemorative plaque is to take place that day, which lists the history of the site and building, which played a significant role in Okotoks’ history.

“The first wooden rail station was built on the site of the current station in 1892, and it burned down in 1928,” said Boss. “In 1929 CP Rail constructed this two-storey brick rail station.”

It was key to development in the region, serving as a transportation hub for people as well as mail, freight, and equipment for the oil industry in the Turner Valley area, he said.

The last passenger train stopped in Okotoks on July 2, 1971, and the station closed one year later, remaining vacant until the Town purchased the building in 1980 and converted it into a cultural arts facility in 1981.

“It’s just grown since then,” said Boss.

In addition to arts offerings, the Okotoks Museum and Archives is also running programs for Alberta Culture Days, including downtown walking tours each Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

“Each day has a different theme,” said Lougheed. “Sept. 7 is  a river walk, we have an Elma Street walk, historic downtown and municipally designated historic sites walks.”

On Sept. 11, curators and lenders of saddles for the museum exhibit, Side Saddles of the Canadian West, will be on-site to provide information on the collection.

“If anyone has any questions, saddles of their own they’d like to bring in to be assessed, they’re welcome to do so and get whatever information they can,” said Lougheed.

The playhouse in the attic of the museum, which has been closed since March 2020, will also reopen on Sept. 11, she said.

“It’s a very popular spot for parents with young kids,” said Lougheed.

The Okotoks Art Gallery and Okotoks Museum and Archives are open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Krista Conrad

About the Author: Krista Conrad

Krista Conrad is the news reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper covering Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips contact
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