Photo Credits: Strathcona Business Association
Strathcona Neighbourhood: Where Rustic Charm meets Modern Living
Historic Character Homes – Check!
Cool Eats & Boutiques –Check!
Stunning River Valley Views – Check!
If a stroll through the neighbourhood of Strathcona has you thinking, “This place seems to have it all.” You’re right. It does! Each summer, Edmontonians and tourists flock to the real heart of the city: Old Strathcona - to take part in engaging, entertaining activities like the Strathcona Farmer’s Market, the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, the Whyte Avenue Arts & Shopping District, or the numerous music, theatre and entertainment venues.
As well, more and more people are also joining the nearly 10,000 residents who call Strathcona home, purchasing houses and condos and laying down roots in this diverse, innovative and finely established community.
Strathcona consistently ranks in surveys as one of the Top 5 Best Neighbourhoods to live in Edmonton.
Here’s just some of the reasons why you and your family should consider house hunting in this wonderful community:
Walk This Way
Take a scenic tour on paths along Saskatchewan Drive and you’ll see the most spectacular views of Edmonton’s downtown and River Valley. This is just one example of the many beautiful, natural sites to explore in the Strathcona neighbourhood. Situated on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, Strathcona boarders Mill Creek Ravine to the East; 107 Street to the west, and features the Old Strathcona Arts District along Whyte Avenue. With easy access to the River Valley, residents enjoy the walkability of this special community, with many winding trails, lovely look-outs, lush greenspaces and wildlife, and accompanying bike paths along the way.
Head on down to the University of Alberta, the Northern Alberta Jubilee Theatre, the Edmonton Folk Festival, Muttart Conservatory or take in an Edmonton Prospects Baseball game. Downtown Edmonton, the business hub of the city is a stone’s throw away, where urbanites and families can also check out other major cultural centres like the Citadel Theatre, Winspear Centre, Art Gallery of Alberta, and brand new Royal Alberta Museum. If you’re in a hurry, you can drive from this south-central neighbourhood to many local points across the city in under 30 minutes. City transit is conveniently located close by – just jump on a bus or the LRT and hit the downtown core in a quick ten minutes.
Rich in History
The modern day hip, livable Strathcona neighbourhood has evolved in time from its humble beginnings. Over 100 years old, it was originally named for Lord Strathcona who was the Hudson’s Bay Company Governor and drove the “last spike” of the CPR transcontinental railway. The small city eventually amalgamated with Edmonton, and became the Strathcona neighbourhood in 1912.
Many of the old historical building still remain, as well as charming rustic houses filled with canopy tree lined residential streets. Today you’ll find an interesting mix of refurnished and renovated historical homes as well as newly innovative modern houses, back lane developments, and condo dwellings. Add in local independent businesses, a university, hospital, theatres and restaurants; plus lovely parks and schools, and you have the perfect place to meet the demands and needs of young professionals and growing families.
Family Friendly Community
For Maureen Duguay, Strathcona has been a neighbourhood of choice for over 40 years. She and her husband live in a restored historic house, and her grown children have put down roots close by. For almost 25 years, the couple has been getting together every Friday for pot luck suppers that involves 20 families in the neighbourhood.
Maureen says, “There’s always been a real connection with families over the years from nursery school to scouts and as the kids grew up, -- there’s a sense of community here and it’s the small town feel that I love.”
Maureen is also the President of the Strathcona Community League, one of the oldest community leagues in the city. Here they have lots of active volunteers with people of all ages from unique diverse backgrounds. The community league hosts monthly Pub nights, Beer Tastings, Fall Arts BBQ, Winterfest, Yoga classes, and Volunteer Appreciation events, just to name a few. With the community playground nearby, the hall is a popular gathering place for families where kids can take art classes, play at the spray park, skate at the rink, and attend Kids Fringe festivities in the summer.
On the Right Path
Strathcona strikes it right with some of the best schools for children in the city, including King Edward Elementary School; Edmonton’s oldest High school - Strathcona High School; and Old Scona, a university prep school recognized as one of the top academic high schools in Canada (with notable alumni including Ray Muzyka, co-founder of Bioware; Lt. Governor Lois Hole, and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland). The nearby University of Alberta is ranked as one of the Top 5 universities in the country. It has over 38, 000 students, 15, 000 employees and is one of Canada’s greenest employers.
Need a breath of fresh air? There are also over 10 parks and green spaces to enjoy within Strathcona and bordering neighbourhoods, including Tubby Bateman Park for Tots, Gazebo Park off Whyte Ave, and the Walter Polley Park as a quiet retreat.
This is definitely the right time to be thinking of a home in Strathcona, with some exciting developments taking place right on street level. Through the city lead neighbourhood renewal plan, Strathcona will soon be getting new paved roads and sidewalks; updated street lights and better pedestrian crossings; traffic calming measures to reduce speeding; plus new bike lanes and park spaces.
Spectacular Old Strathcona
There’s nothing like living in a neighbourhood with the best arts and culture district right outside your door! Come experience quirky Bohemian flair mixed in with urban style along the historic blocks of the trendiest dining, shopping and entertainment destination in the city. Old Strathcona Arts District boasts nearly 700 businesses and 100 eating establishments, all conveniently walkable for residents nearby. From fine dining to hipster eats; art galleries to book stores; cat cafes to craft beer and second hand stores to the latest fashions, there’s something for everyone.
On a warm summer day you can garden at the Strathcona Rail Community Garden, or hop on the historic street car and take a ride down to the Arts Barns and Farmer’s Market. When the lights are down, local hot spot Blues on Whyte and the Varscona Theatre will keep you entertained. Old Strathcona is also the home of the famous International Fringe Festival, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Ice on Whyte, and other fun local events. Look for the new Christmas Light Up event this December at McIntyre Park, complete with Santa and snow-kissed sleigh rides. Old Strathcona has every holiday, and every season covered for exceptional year round living.
In with the Old, and In with the New
The diversity of Strathcona neighbourhood is what truly sets it apart. From the residents to the homes, to business and culture, Strathcona leads by example of how to blend mature quality with youthful energy. And the future looks bright! Exciting new business and housing developments are on the horizon, including condo buildings off 105 & 106 St. New spots east of Whyte Ave bring an interesting mix of retailers like Strathcona Spirits, the on-trend bakery La Boule, and cool entertainment venues like The Grindstone featuring local comedy. Re-purposed back alleys are popping up unique spaces like Sugared & Spiced and pedal loving urbanites can swing by bike corrals and a repair station by the Next Act Pub. There’s even talk of a Gondola lift connecting Strathcona to the downtown core. Yes, everything is looking up for this top rated neighbourhood!
Cherie Klassen, Executive Director of the Old Strathcona Business Association says it best. “There is a shift in people frequenting the area, and we are on the cusp of shifting towards a more mature crowd living here. There are more coffee shops, interesting cafes and restaurants where people gather. It’s so accessible and pedestrian friendly with new housing developments. Strathcona is the perfect place for people who want to live, work and play,” says Klassen.
Find out more how Holland and Associates can help you find your perfect home in this charming, thriving community and design the lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of!