Regardless of what City or town we live in, many of us take for granted the names of our communities, streets, parks, schools, etc. and may presume these names might have always been in place ever since they were first created and as a result could never really be changed again in the future. Taking the great City of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as an example, did you know many original neighborhoods have undergone large scale name changes and annexation over the past several decades? Do you also know many Edmonton neighborhoods were originally divided into much smaller districts (land wise) compared to the larger neighborhood sizes that exist at present? In this article I will present the following for the readers’ enjoyment: (a). My Top 10 List of Interesting Extinct or Renamed Edmonton Neighborhood Districts; (b). My Top 10 List of Interesting Historical Fun Facts about Edmonton; and (c). My Top 30 List of Edmonton Neighborhoods that have withstood Bureaucracy and Tests of Time.
(a). My Top 10 List of Interesting Extinct or Renamed Edmonton Neighborhood Districts:
(1). Tuxedo Park (now Eastgate Business Park)
(2). Hollywood (now Gold Bar)
(3). Princeton (now Ottewell)
(4). Crescentview (now Fulton Place / Capilano)
(5). Sunny-slope Gardens (now Southeast Industrial Park)
(6). East Glenora (now Annexed with Kenilworth)
(7). Edmonton City Heights (now Argyll)
(8). East Edmonton Gardens (now Holyrood)
(9). Mount Pleasant (Now Annexed with Strathearn)
(10). Beau Park (now McKernan / Parkallen)
(b). My Top 10 List of Interesting Historical Fun Facts about Edmonton:
(1). ‘Whyte Avenue’ used to be spelled ‘White Avenue’
(2). The ‘Ritchie’ community used to be located North of the River which is now ‘Riverdale’
(3). ‘Laurier Heights’ used to be a huge park ‘Laurier Park’ with no development
(4). There used to be two ‘Rat Creeks’ (i.e. muskrat) in North Edmonton
(5). The Northwest Edmonton Industrial District used to contain a large lake named ‘Long Lake’
(6). The ‘North Glenora’ community used to be a huge park named ‘City Park’
(7). The ‘Queen Mary Park’ community used to be located North of Calder and has since been moved South to be located North of Oliver while the current Queen Mary Park / North Downtown / Oliver / City Centre Airport area used to be a large reserve.
(8). Alberta College used to be located in a huge area South of the River (now ‘Gold Bar’).
(9). In the early decades Edmonton had only three traffic bridges so many prominent areas would not be easily accessible with longer commute times from one end of the City to the other.
(10). There were two concurrent ‘Parkdale’ communities – the second one used to be located South of the River (now ‘Parkallen’).
(c). My Top 30 List of Edmonton Neighborhoods that have withstood Bureaucracy and Tests of Time:
- Avonmore; Beacon Heights; Belgravia; Bellevue; Belvedere; Beverly Heights; Bonnie Doon; Calder; Cromdale; Delton; Dovercourt; Eastwood; Forest Heights; Glenora; Glenwood; Grandview Heights; Hazeldean; Highlands; Idylwylde; Inglewood; Kenilworth; Kensington; King Edward Park; Quesnell Heights; Strathearn; Terrace Heights; Virginia Park; West Jasper Place; Westmount; and Windsor Park.
In summary, from a real estate resale perspective, Cities and neighborhoods should evaluate the benefits of retaining the smaller neighborhood size divisions and attractive historical names rather than annexing them into larger-sized divisions and changing property to less attractive names for political benefit only. Smaller areas can give each neighborhood a ‘greater sense of community’ with their neighbors and allow communities to develop a good reputation for their area (i.e. vs. ‘being painted with the same brush’ by locals and newcomers by being part of a larger community with areas many blocks away with more crime issues).
Furthermore, any special streets (e.g. ones facing ravines, view properties, or historical sites) should be given names (e.g. “Strathearn Drive” or “Saskatchewan Drive”, etc. rather than just given basic numbered streets or avenues) and these names should be selected very carefully (i.e. the test: if a new Buyer moving into the area had a huge sum of money to spend on a place to live, would they be proud to live at that named street address and within a community of that name?) Rather than simply naming City property based on former councillors, mayors, prominent individuals, or donors, Cities should instead take great care with how neighborhoods, parks, schools, and streets are named because a name that might receive an overwhelmingly negative response (e.g. changing Mayfair Park to Hawrelak Park) or a positive response (e.g. changing Norwood to Alberta Avenue) can make a big psychological difference as to how the area may suddenly be perceived by both locals and outsiders. Case in point: would anyone pay extra money to buy a house on a fictional street named ‘Landfill Avenue’?
This article also proves one more historical fact: community names have been changed and therefore can be changed again – the onus is on community residents to shape their future: if you live in a neighborhood; have a street address; have kids going to a school; or have kids playing at a park or community centre that your community feels is poorly-named, there is an option to gather support via petition from the community to develop a better prestigious name that can enhance the quality and value of the neighborhood. Because names of communities, parks, streets, and schools are very important, Cities (rather than making changes simply by a vote by a dozen people on council) may want to take a serious and more democratic approach by having the top 3 to 5 options on a municipal ballot and allow residents to vote for their favorite choice.
One final important note: for anyone contemplating moving to or buying investment property in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, note that our City is very different, in a positive way, than most cities across the world by the simple fact that we have one of the largest land sizes per capita vs. most other major Cities in the world today. "Edmonton has 7400 ha. of green space, including the river valley, the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America, and over 460 parks (1)."
[Article written ©2012 by Kelly Grant, M.Eng., ABR, NCSO, P.Eng. - REALTOR® at Maxwell Devonshire Realty in Edmonton, AB]
[(1). Source Reference: “Naming Edmonton” by the City of Edmonton ©2004]
Disclaimer: for those readers not currently represented by another licensed REALTOR®, to obtain more information on this topic and / or if you are serious about selling or buying in the Greater Edmonton Area, call Kelly at 780-414-6100 (pager) or send Kelly an email to SOLD@KellyGrant.ca to schedule a confidential appointment.