The Town of Cochrane, with 13,000 residents (2006), is nestled beside the Bow River 22 kilometres (and 20 minutes) northwest of Calgary on Highway 1A (Crowchild Trail). You can also reach Cochrane using Highway 22 north from the #1 Trans-Canada Highway. Originally, it served the local ranches and farms and is the largest town between Calgary and the Rockies. It became a village in 1903 and a town in 1971. Today, it is quickly growing into a "bedroom community" for Calgary, with many residents attracted to its small town charm and handy access to weekend recreation, happy to commute into town on weekdays.
The town has a wonderful western charm which you can see in its downtown architecture, particularly Main Street. Above Cochrane is the 200 metre Big Hill, used for hang gliding, on which sits the new Gleneagles development and golf course, with its stunning Rocky Mountain views.
Cochrane is also a small industrial centre for lumber, construction, retail, and agriculture/ranching. It is one of few communities in Canada with no business tax.
Cochrane served by both the Public Rockyview School Division as well as the Separate Calgary Catholic School District. Cochrane is served by 2 public elementary, 2 public middle schools, 2 public high schools, 2 Catholic elementary schools, and a Catholic high school. Cochrane is also home to the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary.
The town has a popular destination for its western-themed and decorated stores along 1st Street, and the famous McKays's Ice Cream attracts visitors from all over Calgary. With Cochrane's growth in recent years, it is attracting larger chains and big box stores in the new Points West Shopping Centre.
Cochrane provides a number of recreational opportunities, with its Bow River parkland, and the Cochrane Ranche. For adults, there hang gliding on Big Hill (there's a hang gliding school located there,too), and golfing at the Gleneagles Golf Course. About 10 kilometres west of town is Ghost Lake, behind the Ghost Dam on the Bow River, which is popular with windsurfers who enjoy the gusts coming right from the mountains (the water is too, and generally cold!). Cochrane is only a few minutes drive from the Trans-Canada Highway to Banff, and Calaway Park a regional kids amusement park (open summers). The Bert Sheppard Stockmen's Foundation Library And Archives, located in the Cochrane Ranchehouse.
New homes are being built in Gleneagles, West Valley, West Terrace and Bow Meadows. All have a small-town feeling with larger lots and variety in the homes.
More about Calgary, from FoundLocally.