Top 10 Things About Okotoks

We are less than two months away from relocating to Okotoks.  News of our impending departure from Fort McMurray spread quickly and almost every client who comes into Birdsong Studio asks about it.  The SOLD sign on the front lawn is a pretty big clue that we are going somewhere.

I thought it would be a fun thing to identify the top 10 things that I'm most excited about regarding this massive change in our lives.  Let's see what bubbles to the surface.

1. The front porch

This might seems like a small thing, but Heather and I  have always loved the idea of having a covered front porch.  Whether enjoying a morning coffee in the fresh air overlooking Elma Street or watching a summer rain storm, this covered porch will be well used and well loved.

2.  Location location location

The new location of Birdsong Studio and Healing Centre will be on historic and vibrant Elma Street.  We are a block away from boutique coffee shops, Lineham House Galleries, and an art supply store.  The street is a dynamic mix of residences, small businesses and professional firms (doctors, architects, etc.).  We will fit in beautifully!

3.  Prairie to Peaks

The geographical location of Okotoks offers access to the prairies, foothills and mountains.  I'm looking forward to exploring the area and seeing how it inspires my paintings.  I'm also itching to go on long hikes with Heather and Coco.

4.  Bigger Studio

Birdsong Studio will double in size with this move to Okotoks.  Having that extra space will make it easier to work with other artists in the space.  Heather is spending more and more time out in the shop working on her abstract paintings.  The new space will give her room to grow as well.  It doesn't look like much right now, but when the renovations are done, Birdsong Studio 2.0 will be pretty awesome.

5.  Artist Retreat

We have always loved hosting creative people at our home in Fort McMurray.  Many professional theatre artists working at Keyano Theatre have stayed at our house over the years.  One of the big selling features of the house on Elma Street was the carriage house style apartment above the garage.  We will be offering it up as an Artist's retreat.  The proximity to the mountains, downtown Okotoks, and the city of Calgary, plus having access to a fully equipped studio, should provide some allure for creative folks.

6.  Deer

I am super excited to wake up in the morning and look out into the yard and see deer.  They seem to be everywhere in Okotoks.  There is something about this unique interchange with nature that is very exciting for me.

7.  People

At the end of the day, any home, any community, is about people.  I'm looking forward to getting to know the people in Okotoks.  I'm looking forward to meeting new friends and having a home that will be great place to reconnect with old friends.  It will also be a natural gathering place for family, long into the future. 

8.  Heather's Treatment Space

Heather does amazing work with her clients.  So far, she has done it in the quiet studio in our basement in Fort McMurray.  In the new home in Okotoks, her treatment space will be bathed in beautiful light and is located just inside the front door.  I'm excited that she and her clients will have a space that makes their time together even better.

9.  Comfortable living space

As we toured several homes in Okotoks, some felt dark and ostentatious, others felt forced and fragmented.  But the house on Elmas felt light and comfortable.  It felt like home, a home we could enjoy for the next 20 years of our lives.

10.  The signs

I believe that the Universe wants us to be in Okotoks.  I also believe there were signs that pointed us there.  When Heather sent me a picture of the house with the small lending library out front, I said "that's a sign."

When those children were doing a fundraiser for Fort McMurray when we visited the community during our evacuation in 2016, that was a sign, too.

Those are the things that jumped out to me as I reflected on the move.  I'm sure there are many others.  We are excited to pull up stakes and get set up in beautiful Okotoks.  I'm particularly looking forward to opening Birdsong Studio and inviting people in for the first time.  That will be some time in July. 


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