This summer, Avenue Magazine released it’s Top Ten Edmonton Neighbourhoods results based on reader polls, using measures of importance as indicated by readers of their magazine. They found that many Edmontonians value walkability and proximity to parks in their communities, and in a lot of cases, their readers preferred also older homes – particularly heritage and character homes – to newer homes. Only one of the top ten was a newer community.
Even though Edmonton continues to push out into newer and newer suburbs in outlying areas of the city, there seems to be a renewal of interest in Edmonton’s mature inner city communities.
Avenue’s Top Five Edmonton Neighbourhoods
“In Avenue’s Best Neighbourhoods survey, readers responded enthusiastically to living in established neighbourhoods and among character homes. Strathcona scores high here, given that 15 per cent of its homes, which stretch to the top of the north bank and hug the Mill Creek Ravine on the east, predate 1946. Comparatively, the city average for pre-war homes is four per cent.
“But readers expressed the highest desire for pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods, and that’s where Strathcona triumphs. And not just according to our index; Walk Score, a website promoting walkable neighbourhoods, gives it 88 out of 100.”
“In the 1960s, the University of Alberta expropriated a northwest chunk of Garneau, leaving it looking like a puzzle piece on the city map between University Avenue and Saskatchewan Drive. It now sees low-rise and high-rise apartments, with students and faculty sharing blocks with families and retirees in 1920s Arts and Crafts houses and 1950s bungalows. It’s a balance, says Cruden, maintained by dedicated community members lobbying to ensure that heritage remains in the landscape.”
“How do you stay desirable in spite of advancing years? Take a lesson from Westmount, a neighbourhood that’s retained its allure long after its 1910 boundaries were established and its name was appropriated from Montreal’s upscale residential area. Westmount’s many historic homes are a realtor’s proof of the adage: Youth and beauty fade, character endures forever.
“‘It’s modern, but still a beautiful older neighbourhood, mature but not rundown,’ says Matthew Laycraft, the president of the community league.”
“Density. It’s the Holy Grail of city planners who value concentrated, compact communities for their liveable/sustainable arguments. And density – meaning also diversity – is the essence of Oliver.
“Though its skyline is dominated by high-rises and office towers that are antithetical to another important factor for planners, clear sight lines, it’s still home to some of the city’s oldest buildings, notably the 1909 Lemarchand Mansion on 115th Street and 100th Avenue, and the 1912 Buena Vista block on 124th Street and 101st Avenue.”
“Though it now has some 370 homes, it’s focus on residential, not commercial development, has kept it one of coziest, quietest neighbourhoods in Edmonton despite being only a hop over the Low Level Bridge from downtown.
“Cloverdale itself is shaped like a natural amphitheatre, which gives it a strong sense of community. ‘Being in the valley, with the river to the south and the ridge to the north, our community is geographically defined,’ says Bottos. ‘It creates a high level of community engagement.'”
Also ranking high were the communities of Crestwood, Highlands, Belgravia, Windermere, and Parkallen which came in 6 through 10 respectively. These communities ranked high for their walkability, older style homes, and proximity to amenities.
What do you think? Are your favourite Edmonton Communities missing from this list? What’s most important to you when it comes to picking a neighbourhood?