Town of Fort Macleod
Fort Macleod is a welcoming, family friendly, vibrant community with a multitude of opportunities for everyone. The town actively pursues new development, and is ideally situated for economic success.
Home to over 3000 people, the town is located at the intersection of two major Alberta highways, is close to the U.S. border, and is situated on a Canadian Pacific Railway East-West mainline.
The town of Fort Macleod actively pursues new development, and is ideally situated for economic success. Founded in 1874 as the first Western outpost of the North West Mounted Police in the Northern Territories, the town is rich in provincial and national history. As Alberta’s oldest town, it has long been a transportation and national trade hub in the Canadian West — a legacy which contributes to the town’s distinct entrepreneurial character.
Download a detailed, printable, PDF version of the Invest In Fort Macleod Profile.
The Fort Macleod Competitive Edge
The Town of Fort Macleod is a business-friendly community that actively encourages new commercial and industrial development. Industrial-zoned lots are available for both light and heavy industry, and the Town is eager to work with interested parties to create workable development solutions for new and existing businesses.
There is a large land base within Town limits (over 5,000 acres), including parcels of land in an airport industrial park, where several businesses have converted the existing 1940s British Air Force hangers for industrial use. Land in Fort Macleod offers an exceptionally solid foundation for virtually any development, due to a gravel and rock rich sub-surface soil, allowing for a stable load-bearing base. It is ideal for heavy loads, crane work and the weights created by manufacturing processes.
Fort Macleod is a great fit for many different kinds of business ventures. With the lowest overall tax regime in Canada and below average labour costs, Fort Macleod provides an excellent business environment coupled with the breathtaking natural landscape of the Alberta Prairies. Fort Macleod is also a highly attractive town for tourists. Not only is Fort Macleod close to major urban centres, the US border is just an hour away. Additionally, the wealth of fertile farmland surrounding the town fuels a diverse agricultural sector with a focus on cattle, grain crops, and horses.
With a dedicated Economic Development Manager, Fort Macleod is able to provide the support you need to get your business off the ground.
Because of the beautifully preserved buildings on its Historic Main Street Fort Macleod is renowned as one of the most filmed locations in Western Canada. The first of only two designated Provincial Historic Areas in Alberta, the town’s main thoroughfare was the prototype for Heritage Canada’s national Main Street Program in the 1980s.
The Empress Theatre (circa 1912) is a prominent feature on Historic Main Street, and is the oldest continuously operating theatre in Western Canada. It offers both movie screenings and live performances. The Empress Theatre is said to be haunted by “Ed” the ghost, and both staff and visitors have reported spectral encounters.
In addition to Historic Main Street, the Town of Fort Macleod also holds both The Fort Museum and the 1884 NWMP Barracks Provincial Historic Site.
A Diversified Economy
Fort Macleod is situated on Southern Alberta’s prime farming and ranching land. The local economy is primarily driven by agriculture and the agricultural services industry. A robust business community features many retail, professional and personal services, manufacturing, construction, and trade companies. Major wind farm developments around the town have also generated new opportunities for the local economy.
Continued economic expansion and diversification is a top priority for Fort Macleod, as outlined in the Town’s Strategic Plan. The town seeks to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability and the preservation of the local culture.
Major Employers in Fort Macleod
- Structural Truss Systems – Structural Wooden Trusses
- Forma Steel Ltd. – Fabricated Structural Metal
- Bouvry Exports – Meat Exports
- Fort Macleod Auction Market – Auction Services
- O'Sullivan Construction – Cement
- John's Construction – New Home
- Falcan Industries – Trailer manufacturer
- Puppy Love – Pet Food Manufacturer
- Mountain View Pre-Cast Concrete – Concrete Building Manufacturer
- Westco Construction – Construction
- Hurlburt Rock – Gravel
- Volker Stevin – Roadworks
- McNally Transport – Roadworks/Transportation
- VanEE Trucking – Transportation
Fort Macleod has all the infrastructure and logistics support necessary to be an efficient industrial hub. The Town is situated on the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 3. Highway 2 runs north to the major cities of Calgary and Edmonton, and south to the Carway border crossing into the United States. Highway 3 runs east to British Columbia and west to Medicine Hat, which then links to the eastern Canadian provinces. Highway 3 also intersects with Highway 4 at Lethbridge to connect to the CANAMEX trade corridor.
One of Canadian Pacific Railway’s main lines runs east-west through Fort Macleod and connects to CPR’s vast network that transports goods all over Canada and into the Eastern United States. Fort Macleod also has a local airstrip with a 914m runway. The nearest commercial and air -freight services are located only 48km away in Lethbridge. Calgary International Airport is located north of Calgary off Highway 2, 184 kilometers from Fort Macleod. The nearest seaports are located in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
Distance and times to major centres
|Lethbridge||Calgary||Edmonton||Red Deer||Carway (US Land Crossing)||Vancouver (Seaport)|
|49 km||171 km||464 km||312 km||87 km||1141 km|
|0.5 hours||2 hours||4.5 hours||3 hours||1 hour||12 hours|
Visit our interactive map to learn more about the different communities and their locations.
Agriculture, Agri-food, manufacturing, construction and transportation play a significant role in the growth and the economy of Fort Macleod. The retail, public administration and utilities sectors support the local economy. The tourism industry and film industry have emerged as growing opportunities in this community which draws tourists and production companies attracted to its historic venues.
The Film Industry
With the presence of impressive heritage buildings from the late 19th century, and an iconic Historic Main Street, Fort Macleod is a prime backdrop for your next movie or TV series shoot. It takes little effort to transform the unique buildings into a portrayal of the “Wild West” or a turn-of-the-century street scene set in any mid-western city.
With welcoming residents that are accustomed to film crews and production sets, and policies and pricing structures already in place, it is extremely easy to settle in and get the tape rolling. A wealth of strategically placed parking lots and empty spaces make large sets very accessible to store and access. As the perfect backdrop for a movie, Fort Macleod is ready for your next film or TV shoot.
Fort Macleod hosts the annual Justice Film Festival, which showcases films that encourage responsible global citizenship by focusing on issues relating to human rights and the environment. Films are screened at the Empress Theatre, Alberta’s oldest theatre.
Notable Recent Films
Notable recent films and TV shows that have featured Fort MacLeod include:
- Interstellar (Movie, 2014)
- Fargo S2 (TV Show, 2014)
- Passchendale (Movie, 2007)
- Brokeback Mountain (Movie, 2005)
The Tourism Industry
The Fort Museum of the North West Mounted Police
Fort Macleod is home to The Fort Museum, a replica of Western Canada’s first police fort, built nearby in 1874. With a multitude artifacts and activities, it is a fun destination for all ages. The Fort Museum is renowned for its “Northwest Mounted Patrol Musical Ride.” It is the only on-site musical ride in the country, demonstrating the intricate ring-work and superb horsemanship of the North West Mounted Police, The musical ride originated in the town at the NWMP Barracks site in the 1880s. The Fort has won international tourism awards for its “Groom-a-Horse” program and continues to draw travellers from around the world. More Information about the schedule and hours of operation can be found here.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (HSIBJ)
Located just ten minutes west of Fort Macleod is Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. This designated UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases how indigenous tribes once drove buffalo off the side of the cliff to the animals’ slaughter. This hunting method was used for over 6000 years and HSIBJ is of the best preserved sites in the world. There is a museum facility where you can view artifacts from the archaeological site, treks to the jump site, and all manner of cultural demonstrations about the area’s First Nations, including drumming and dancing by some of the world’s best dancers in the field. HSIBJ is easily accessible by established roads and is open to the public year-round. More information about this site can be found here.
Current Capital Projects
Fort Macleod is constantly growing and improving its services to the community. There are currently infrastructure upgrades in the works for Fort Macleod’s public schools, seniors’ home and electrical transmission infrastructure (which is Town-owned), as well as several major roadwork projects. The addition of localized fibre optic broadband infrastructure is underway, which will supply "always enough" internet connectivity access to businesses and residents alike.
Regional Industry Sectors
Southwest Alberta has three primary industrial sectors which drive its economic engine. For a detailed description of these industries click to learn more:
- Renewable Resources Energy
English is the dominant mother tongue in the community (89%), with 1% of the population declaring French as their first language and 10% declaring a non-official language. Fort MacLeod has a skilled workforce, with 41% of the population attaining some form of post- secondary education. The labour force participation rate of Fort MacLeod is 62%.
A complete table of population statistics for Fort MacLeod is provided by Statistics Canada.
Note: National Household Survey Profile data was not released for the Town of Fort MacLeod
Fort Macleod Quick Facts
Town of Fort MacLeod Taxation and Cost of Living
Alberta boasts one of the most competitive tax environments in North America. There are also no capital or payroll taxes in the province. The only sales tax in Fort MacLeod is the Federal GST (5%), as no provincial sales taxes are levied in Alberta. The Town of Fort Macleod does not charge business or equipment taxes.
How to calculate property taxes:
Assessed property value X mill rate/1000 = taxes owed taxes owed + asff + mcf = total taxes to be paid
Town of Fort Macleod Tax Statistics 2016
|Municipal||AFSS (School)||Seniors Lodge||TOTAL MILL RATE|
Commercial Water Usage Rates (2015)
Direct Energy Electricity Regulated Rate Tariff (2015)
Fort Macleod Business Licensing Fee Schedule
Information about business licensing costs can be found here.
Application to Municipal Planning Commission (Home Occupations Only)
Municipally Owned Commercial Lots For Sale
To learn more about the construction permitting process, visit the Town of Fort Macleod website. You can also peruse the town’s Land Use By-Laws or the 2011 Municipal Development Plan. Other documents related to Fort Macleod’s by-laws and policy can be found here.
MLS Business & Commercial Listings
The Fort Macleod Lifestyle
Fort MacLeod residents enjoy a very high quality of life. Residents have access to first-rate education, health care, social services, recreational facilities and community organizations. The average resale home price in Fort MacLeod is $212,894 CAD (2015). The low cost of utilities, land, and real property make Fort MacLeod a very affordable town to live in.
Fort Macleod provides a variety of amenities for individuals and families seeking an active lifestyle. The Fort Macleod golf course is a beautiful 9‑hole course and the oldest in Western Canada. Fort Macleod also has an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a skate park, a water-park for the kids, ball diamonds, soccer fields, and a equine event complex. The River Valley Wilderness Park consists of over 200 acres of land alongside the Oldman River. The park is great for biking, cross-country skiing, bird watching and flora exclusive to the area. The town also has a first-rate physical fitness centre, which produces an unusually high percentage of global Iron Man participants.
Fort Macleod has a very strong sense of community, with upwards of 100 different community groups and organizations. These include the Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Army Cadets, Lions Club, various sports and youth clubs, 4‑H agricultural clubs, Scouts and Guides. There are also a number of churches in Fort Macleod serving a diverse group of denominations.
An elementary (K‑6) and a secondary (grades 7‑12) public school serve the children of Fort Macleod. Post‑secondary institutions in the area include the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College. There are also a number of world-class educational options nearby in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
Fort Macleod’s Health Centre provides 24-hour emergency services, lab and x-ray, renal dialysis, short-term community care, two full service medical clinics, and regional support services including rehabilitation, community care programs, detox programs, health protection and assessments. Long-term care is available at the Extendicare Nursing Home and the Rose Wood Villa Nursing Home. Additionally, the services of dentists, denturists, optometrists, chiropractors and massage therapists are available to Fort Macleod residents. There are three different assisted living options available for senior citizens who can no longer live in their own homes. Fort Macleod also operates a Handi-bus service and a local drop-in centre for the elderly and disabled.
A full list of community resources can be found here.
Online Business and Investment Resources
Fort Macleod Administration Office
PO Box 1420
236 23rd Street
Fort Macleod, AB
Canada, T0L 0Z0
Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Chief Administrative Officer
Fort Macleod Economic Development Office
258 24th Street
PO Box 1959
Fort Macleod, AB
Canada, T0L 0Z0
Monday – Friday
8:30am – 4:30pm (By Appt.)