Heritage, Arts & Culture

The quality lifestyle in Olds reflects the values and interests of our residents, which translates into a strong sense of community pride. 

Where to Visit

Heritage

How did Olds get its name?

The year 1890 marks the beginning of the settlement which became the town of Olds. When the rail line reached the sixth siding (Olds) out of Calgary, a section foreman named David Shannon arrived on an open handcar. Mr. Shannon, a native of Ireland, was experienced at railway construction, as he had worked on the building of the Underground in London, England. At the Sixth Siding, Mr. Shannon provided living quarters for his family and established squatter's rights to a quarter section of land. This gained them the distinction of being the earliest residents of Olds.

On 27 July 1891, the first through train made the trip from Calgary to south Edmonton. That same month the CPR took over the operation of the C & E Railway and released its official list of names for the sidings and stations along the route. Sixth Siding had already been designated as a railway station point and work started on the building of the station and water tank.

A committee of CPR officials, charged with selecting names for the points along the line, suggested "Shannon", but this honour was declined by Mr. Shannon and the town site was named for a CPR traffic manager, George Olds. He was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1832. He came to Canada as a young man and worked for a number of railways in Canada and the United States, returning to Canada in 1886 to join Canadian Pacific as a General Traffic Manager. He held this position until his retirement 10 years later. George Olds is buried in the cemetery at Airdrie, Alberta. It appears that even before he retired from employment with the CPR in 1896, he lived for a time in the settlement that was named for him, running a store.

Heritage Resources

Town of Olds Heritage Management Plan

Town of Olds Heritage Inventory

Canadian History Ehx Podcast

The Town of Olds was approached in July 2020 by Craig Baird to see if it would be interested in the creation of a podcast featuring our local history. The podcast was produced in collaboration with the Mountain View Museum and Archives to ensure accuracy. 

Listen to the finished product now! 

Cemetery Walking Tour Guide

The Cemetery Walking Tour Guide is produced with Mary Hays, the Town of Olds and the Olds Historical Society/Mountain View Museum and Archives in 2019 continues to be a resource to the community!

Download and print the Olds Cemetery Guide Book

Download and print the Olds Cemetery Map

 

Arts

Public Art

Public art is essential to the healthy growth of a community. It creates a vibrant sense of place and contributes to a community’s reputation and identity for both residents and visitors. Art provides people with the opportunity for the exchange of ideas and expression.

We have a strong arts community in our region, (from Statistics Canada’s 2001 census), Olds was noted as one of the Prairie province’s rural municipalities with high concentrations of artists comprising 1.4% of the local labour force, nearly double the national average.

Carving out a Legacy - Bergen Rocks!

The Town of Olds is proud to introduce a vibrant art culture in the Highway 27 Sculpture Pathway. All ten sculptures are now in place. The works of art come from west of Olds in a small hamlet called Bergen, where international sculptors are invited to create monumental sculptures. To learn more about each stone sculpture from the artists themselves, visit the Olds Rocks! Sculpture Pathway page.

Related Links

Culture

The Town of Olds holds special events throughout the year that increase our community's connectedness.

Treaty Walkers

Together with community partners, Olds hosted Treaty Walkers for an overnight stay along their journey as they walked from Edmonton to Calgary in June of 2019. After a meal at the Olds United Church, the group shared their presentation about their exploration around what it means to be Treaty people working and living on common ground. There is now a film available of the initiative – Town of Olds is mentioned along with several other community organizations in the credits as one of the supporters.

Stream the video now

Artstember

September is the Month of the Artist in Alberta as well as Alberta Culture Days. Celebrate by visiting local public art!

Any local Artstember events will be announced in mid to late summer and posted on this page an Town of Olds social media.

  • place Map
  • view_list List

Historical Points