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Historic town has bright future

 

First-time visitors are struck by the beauty of Fort Macleod, with its rich collection of heritage buildings and its beautiful parks and green spaces.
Situated along the banks of the Oldman River, the community of about 3,100 people provides an idyllic setting for residents and visitors.

The town’s roots date back to the arrival of the North West Mounted Police in 1874. The community grew around that first fort and became a commercial and social hub.
In 2018 the community has lots to offer its residents and visitors, such as schools, hockey and curling rinks, an outdoor swimming pool, skateboard park, spray park, movie theatre, restaurants and lounges, arts building, a seniors’ centre and golf course.
Incorporated as a town in 1882, Fort Macleod enjoyed prosperity and growth. The preservation and restoration of the town’s historic buildings has been undertaken since the early 1980s through the Main Street Program. The commercial buildings, along with the many heritage homes, provide an interesting vignette of a significant part of Alberta’s history.
Fort Macleod still has the integrity of a small town
lifestyle where neighbours know neighbours, and where people say “good morning” to you when you walk down the street. That’s a refreshing change for people who move to Fort Macleod from large urban centres.
Don’t be lulled by Fort Macleod’s commitment to
preserving its past into thinking it is some kind of sleepy backwater town. The community is ambitious and progressive as it builds a bright future. The latest example is installation of a fibre optic network to bring high-speed Internet to Fort Macleod.
Fort Macleod has a strong core of small businesses and light industry, which is supported by the Town of Fort Macleod’s economic development department
and the oldest Chamber of Commerce in Alberta. Some of the businesses — such as The Macleod Gazette, which is the oldest newspaper in the province — have roots dating back to the 1800s.

The town is supported by the farming and ranching community in the immediate area. Grains and oilseed farms, dairies and livestock operations add to the fabric
of the community.
There are many educational opportunities in Fort Macleod. The community’s schools, which are part of Livingstone Range School Division, provide Kindergarten to Grade 12 education. The province funded an $18-million modernization project that equipped the town with two up-to-date schools.
When children aren’t in school, there is plenty for
them to do. Volunteer organizations run hockey, soccer and baseball programs for children of all ages. The Fort Macleod Midnight Riders 4-H Light Horse Club and
the Fort Macleod Beef Club provide another style of programming for children. Fort Macleod is also the proud home of tae kwon do and dance programs, as well as the 2309 Fort Macleod Army Cadets.
Continuing education courses are offered through the Willow Creek Community Adult Learning Society.
The community’s cultural needs are well-served by the Allied Arts Council, an art club, pottery club, quilting guild and the Empress Theatre, which hosts concerts and shows first-run movies every night.
The Fort Macleod Health Centre offers 24-hour emergency, lab and x-ray service with observation and community care beds. The building in the north-east corner of town also houses the doctors’ clinics
and the community health department.
The Fort Macleod Library houses a wide selection of books, videos and resource materials. Computers and Internet access are also
available at the library, which is part of the Chinook Arch Regional Library System.
The Fort Macleod and District Community Hall, the Welcome Mat seniors’ drop-in centre, Holy Cross Hall and Third Wave Fitness are hubs of community activity.
Fort Macleod has become a leader in early childhood development, spearheaded by Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre, which offers many programs and recently opened a new family centre at W.A. Day school.
Fort Macleod has a community garden and a food co-operative that add to the town’s fabric.
Fort Macleod is a place with a proud past, an exciting present, and a brilliant future.

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