Olds, a charming town in central Alberta, offers a unique blend of small-town tranquility and excellent proximity to the city of Calgary, about 90 km to the south. It’s a friendly and close-knit community of about 10,000 people, near one of our other favourite Alberta towns, Sundre, and it’s filled with a welcoming atmosphere that instantly makes you feel at home.
Surrounded by picturesque landscapes and rolling fields, Olds is ringed with natural beauty – it’s hard to top a breathtaking summer sunset over the Rocky Mountains in the distance! While this makes for some amazing backdrops and pictures, it’s also a great excuse to build a home here – after all, thousands of other people have. Why not you, too?
If you’re thinking about moving to Olds and settling into a custom home that perfectly fits you and your family, here are a few things you should know.
Building a Custom Home in Olds, Alberta
1) You Can Live in Town or On An Acreage
Olds offers the best of both worlds when it comes to housing options. Whether you prefer the convenience of living near the 800+ businesses in town, or you’re seeking a more expansive and private living space, Olds can be a place where you find that perfect spot.
The town is small enough to retain its charm and atmosphere, but large enough to have all the services and amenities you need, which makes it an attractive option for people who aren’t quite ready to leave city life entirely behind. But once you see the possibilities of an acreage – perfect for raising some livestock, breathing in fresh air, and enjoying the wide Alberta skies – you might not be able to say no.
If you do decide to build on a lot outside of the town itself, it’s a good idea to check with local utilities and see what is available and at what cost. While new builds within the town limits would be fairly simple, getting services like water and internet at rural properties could take a bit more planning. But while we’re on the topic…
2) It Has Its Own Fiber-Optic Network
Olds takes the trophy in Canada for being the first community to invest in and build its own dedicated fiber-optic network, called O-Net. O-Net offers residents and businesses blazing-fast gigabit internet speeds, which is a welcome addition for any former city dwellers who work remotely and don’t want to compromise on network quality.
In a similar vein, in addition to the usual utility providers like Enmax and Atco, the town operates its own power corporation, Mountain View Power. This organization supplies electricity, natural gas, and green-generated power to the whole municipality, providing residents with an opportunity to support local businesses and contribute back to the community while getting a vital service in return. Beyond that, Olds also takes care of the usual essential services for its citizens – water connections, waste collection, street cleaning in the winter, recycling programs, and more.
3) For a Small Town, There’s Plenty to Do
Despite its small-town status, Olds has a large abundance of recreational and outdoor activities and opportunities, ready for residents of all ages and interests. The town has invested in facilities and infrastructure like:
The town also embraces and encourages a vibrant arts and culture scene, hosting art exhibits, live performances, and community events throughout the year. A favourite local pastime is a stroll past the Olds Bergen Rocks, a small offshoot of the main art installation further to the west. It contains several of the interesting sculptures from international artists near the Cornerstone Art Commons.
4) Family and Community Support is Built In
Being a relatively small community, Olds values the well-being and support of its residents. This is especially noticeable in the presence of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). It’s a partnership between the provincial government and towns like Olds in order to offer a range of assistance programs that promote family support, mental health, seniors’ care, youth care, and enhance neighborhood relationships.
These programs are useful for families who need a bit of extra help, youth who need a bit of guidance, or others who may be starting a new life in a new town. There’s absolutely no stigma attached, and the support comes in a variety of forms to suit different needs, such as:
- nutrition classes
- prenatal classes
- subsidized counseling sessions
- support groups to assist with addictions, recovery, grief, or other trauma
- 24/7 helplines
- cultural groups tailored to an individual’s background
- opportunities for participation in sports or community groups
While it’s not necessary for everyone, it’s nice to know that from the top down, the whole community comes together to support its most vulnerable members, every single day. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like that?
5) Keep the Olds Weather in Mind
You may have dreams of giant plate windows and a water feature in your yard, but designing a custom home in Olds means careful consideration of the town’s climate. With short but sweltering summers, long and cold winters, and chinooks and winds that make it seem like the seasons have sometimes reversed, it’s absolutely critical to use the appropriate materials, insulation, designs, and heating systems. Energy-efficient floorplans and materials are necessary to keep heat in or out, which will not only improve your comfort all year-round but will also save you plenty on your energy bills.
When thinking about your roof, windows, and floorplan, also make sure you account for the weight of snow on the roof (for example, if a sloping section hangs over a flat section, sliding snow can pile up on it). Wet snow can be quite heavy, so you don’t want anywhere that it could cause a structural issue. The same goes for strong winds and hail damage. It just wouldn’t be the Alberta foothills without some amazing storms now and then!
Custom Home Building in Olds, Alberta
Choosing to build a custom home in Olds is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – but it does require professional planning and expertise to make reality match your dreams. At Thomas Built Homes, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with building in small towns, and with our experience in design, customization, and construction, we’re fully committed to bringing your forever home to life. Plus, you can rest easy knowing all our homes are covered by our New Home Warranties.
So, why wait any longer to start the next chapter of your custom home journey? Contact Thomas Built Homes today and let’s build something amazing together!