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Coordinates: 53°31′5″N 113°29′50″W / 53.51806°N 113.49722°W / 53.51806; -113.49722

Old Strathcona is located in Edmonton
Location of Old Strathcona in Edmonton

Old Strathcona is an historic district located in south-central Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Once the commercial core of the separate city of Strathcona, the area is now Edmonton's premier arts and entertainment district, and in 2007 was named Alberta's first "Provincial Historic Area".[1] Located adjacent to the University of Alberta, the district is centred on Whyte (82) Avenue, which is home to shops, restaurants, popular nightlife spots and buskers.

Contents

History

Old Strathcona was once a separate city, achieving town status in 1899 and city status in 1907. The City of Strathcona amalgamated with Edmonton in 1912. A large part of the popularity of Whyte Avenue is due to its character buildings. The oldest commercial building is the Strathcona Hotel, built in 1891 with the coming of the railway. Wooden buildings in the area were built before 1902 when the Town of Strathcona passed a bylaw requiring the building of brick buildings to prevent the fires that were devastating so many prairie towns. Much of the current brick stock was erected during the 1910-1912 boom that brought thousands of settlers west. Old Strathcona is one of very few areas left in Canada with a "first generation" building stock. In 2005, Edmonton City Council sent a letter to the Province of Alberta requesting heritage status for the area, and the new status of Provincial Heritage Area in 2007.

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Historic buildings and government recognition

Old Strathcona is Alberta's first (and As of 2009, only) Provincial Historic Area, and contains a number of historic buildings.

The designation as a Provincial Historic Area applies to roughly 5 square blocks that formed commercial hub of the former city of Strathcona. It runs from 85 Avenue south to 80 Avenue and from 102 Street west to 106 Street. Within this area are many of the most significant buildings built during Strathcona's early boom from the arrival of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1891 to the Edmonton real estate crash of 1913-14. Heritage buildings within this area include the Strathcona Hotel, the Gainers Block, the Orange Hall, the Canadian Pacific Railway Station, the South Side Post Office, the Douglas Block, the Princess Theatre, the Strathcona Public Library, the Connaught Armoury, and Old Scona Academic High School.[2]

Outside of the Provincial Heritage Area in the wider Old Strathcona area are several non-commercial buildings that are also protected as heritage buildings including churches and residences. Within the Edmonton-Strathcona provincial electoral district, which covers most of the former City of Strathcona, there are 18 Provincial Historic Resources and 11 Registered Historic Resources recognized by the Government of Alberta, and 14 Municipal Restoric Resources recognized by the City of Edmonton (some buildings are on both registers).[3]

Present day

In the 1990s, Old Strathcona was home to many independent coffee shops, most notably, "Cafe LaGare", "Misty Mountain", "Planet Cyber Cafe" (then renamed Naked), "Hemp Cafe", "Netwerks New Media Cafe", "Buy the Cup", and the "New York Bagel Cafe" (recently re-opened in an 'off-Whyte' location after a devastating fire in 2003 that levelled the landmark "Albert's Restaurant" building on 104 St and Whyte). These have since closed down over the period of 1995-2005, and now Starbucks, Timothy's, and The Second Cup are on the main intersection of 104 Street and Whyte Avenue, but some smaller cafes, including "Friend's Nest", "Block 1912", and "Two Rooms" all serve coffee. Motorcyclists, including members from a local sport bike club (Edmonton Sport Riderz), typically hang out at the Tim Hortons on Whyte Avenue during the spring and summer months. Any Guitar Player must check out Avenue Guitar Shop located on 105th Street. Many world famous Guitar Players have found treasures here that are part of their sound that you hear today. The late night weekend club scene is blanketed with many regular patrons and even unique people such as "Dougie" (Doug Pruden) the push up man. The area is a definitely hotbed of activity and has attracted media attention over the years for its cheap drinks and boorish behavior by drunks. Nevertheless, the area continues to be a magnet for trend setting partiers and Edmonton International Fringe Festival goers.

Over time, the area has become the premier entertainment strip in Edmonton, although it has lacked alternative music venues since the 90's heyday of the People's Pub and Rebar there is a strong revival of music venues on Whyte Ave with Pawn Shop, Urban Lounge On Whyte and Filthy McNasty's all offering live entertainment for all genres. The Commercial Hotel's "blues on Whyte" club still has live music every night. The primary location for pubs, nightclubs and lounges on Whyte Avenue is between 99 and 109 Street (the area commonly referred to as Old Strathcona) with the majority of clubs directly on Whyte Ave. or just off Whyte Ave. and on side streets.

Whyte Avenue arguably remains the centre of Edmonton's alternative lifestyles, containing various independent clothing and other types of shops catering to a variety of alternative subcultures (ranging from hippie to raver to goth etc). Clothing is the fastest growing business trend in the area, with well-known retailers such as Avenue Clothing Co., Foosh, Colourblind, Divine, Top Gear Scooters, Queue, Lemonwink Clothing, Plush, Sophia's and American Apparel highlighting the avenue. Old Strathcona was a bastion of small, local and independent business.

Additionally, there are a number of restaurants in this area including "Da-De-O's," "Julio's Barrio," "Café Mosaics," "Tasty Tom's" and the ever-famous Greek restaurant, "Yiannis". A popular Garneau area hang out is "Remedy Cafè" which licensed serves Indian cuisine through out the day. Several of the bars also have kitchens including "O'Byrne's"[1], "The One"[2], "The Urban Lounge[3]", "Savoy" and "Sapphire". In total, there are almost 100 places to eat in Old Strathcona. Again, a majority of eateries are locally owned. Other pubs/ bars include "The Black Dog[4]", "Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus", "Filthy McNasty's[5]", and "The Elephant & Castle[6]". In March 2007 the roof of The Urban Lounge collapsed due to snow and ice build up. The venue has been relocated to the old The Roxy On Whyte location (10544 - 82 Avenue)and is now called The Urban Lounge On Whyte. A new club is now located at the old Urban Lounge location called Dirty Pretty.

Theatre

Old Strathcona is home to a vibrant independent theatre scene, with nine theatre companies operating out of several buildings in the neighborhood, including the Varscona Theatre, Transalta Arts Barns, Walterdale Playhouse and Catalyst Theatre. The Varscona Theatre alone is home to five award-winning companies: Shadow Theatre, Teatro la Quindicina, the variety show Oh Susanna! and improvisation troupes Die-Nasty and Rapid Fire Theatre. Every August, Old Strathcona plays host to the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, the largest and oldest Fringe Theatre event in North America. Edmonton historian Lawrence Herzog has called the diversity of material being produced in the Old Strathcona Theatre District "wide and astonishing."[4]

Cinema

Old Strathcona is also known for its art house theatres, "The Princess Theatre" and "The Garneau Theatre". They are both operated by Magic Lantern Theatres[7].

Events

Old Strathcona celebrates all year long. January brings Ice on Whyte, a sculpting competition and outdoor ice playground. June features Improvaganza, an invitational international improv festival, hosted by Rapid Fire Theatre. July is the busiest of all, starting with the Silly Summer Parade on July 1. In mid July, the Whyte Avenue ArtWalk puts more than 140 artists on the sidewalks of Old Strathcona, and on the final Sunday of Artwalk, Whyte Avenue closes the entire street for a massive Street Sale. In August, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of theatre goers and festival patrons. The fall brings the Chante Festival and many events during the Edmonton Halloween festival.

Old Strathcona has a year round farmers' market that requires all vendors to be primary producers. Edmonton's thriving market garden industry finds an average of 10,000 customers every Saturday. Customers are able to find fresh, locally grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as early as March.

Blue Mile

Oiler fans, unable to enter the jam-packed Rexall Place, compromise by celebrating equally loudly as those who did manage to get into West Edmonton Mall, or celebrate on Edmonton's Whyte Avenue (pictured) during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Blue Mile or the Copper Kilometer is the name given by the local media to the Old Strathcona District's Whyte Avenue located on the southside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada during the Edmonton Oilers 2006 Stanley Cup playoff run, since it closely resembled the events which took place on the Red Mile in Calgary two years prior.

Following the Edmonton Oilers upset victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2006 playoffs, several thousand Oiler fans flocked to Whyte Avenue and turned the district into a hockey party strip, as Oiler fans walked the streets cheering, chanting, high-fiving, horn-honking, and flag-waving for their team. Others surfed the crowd in a grocery-shopping cart, and still others climbed trees and traffic lights. This Oilers success has similarly spawned a website similar to flamesgirls.com, which the party strip is not only for thousands of Oiler fans, as estimated as high as 50,000[5] Oiler fans, cheering for the Edmonton Oilers victories but to include a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere, called The Blue Mile. [6]

Unlike Calgary's Red Mile, Whyte Avenue in Edmonton gained national attention for its level of violence in May 2006.[7] The arrests at the Blue Mile are estimated at least 350 people through the Oilers Stanley Cup Playoff Run, including breaching the public peace, assaults, impaired driving, mischief, and alcohol-related offences.[8][9][10][11] This rowdy behaviour led the mayor of Edmonton, Stephen Mandel, to threaten to close down the strip: "I hope this doesn't come down to having to shut down Whyte completely ... but this will not be tolerated going into the final series." [12]

Whyte Avenue

Whyte (82) Av.jpg
Whyte Avenue
82 Avenue, Blue Mile
Maintained by the City of Edmonton
Length: 7.2 km (4.5 mi)
Formed: 1890s
West end: 114 Street / University Avenue
Major
junctions:
114 Street, University Avenue, 104 Street, Gateway Boulevard, 75 Street, 50 Street
East end: 50 Street
Major cities: Edmonton
Strathcona

Whyte (82) Avenue is an arterial road in south-central Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It became the main street of the City of Strathcona as it formed, and now runs through Old Strathcona.

Neighbourhoods

List of neighbourhoods Whyte (82) Avenue runs through, in order from west to east:

Interchanges and intersections

This is a list of major intersections, starting at the west end of Whyte Avenue.

Direction Intersecting road Current intersection type Coordinates
West-East 114 Street At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′0″N 113°31′33″W / 53.516667°N 113.52583°W / 53.516667; -113.52583 (Whyte x 114)
University Avenue none 53°30′58″N 113°31′27″W / 53.51611°N 113.52417°W / 53.51611; -113.52417 (Whyte x University)
112 Street At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°31′15″W / 53.51806°N 113.52083°W / 53.51806; -113.52083 (Whyte x 112)
109 Street At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°30′43″W / 53.51806°N 113.51194°W / 53.51806; -113.51194 (Whyte x 109)
104 Street (Calgary Trail) At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°29′51″W / 53.51806°N 113.4975°W / 53.51806; -113.4975 (Whyte x 104)
Gateway Boulevard At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°29′42″W / 53.51806°N 113.495°W / 53.51806; -113.495 (Whyte x Gateway)
99 Street At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°29′10″W / 53.51806°N 113.48611°W / 53.51806; -113.48611 (Whyte x 99)
83 Street At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°27′19″W / 53.51806°N 113.45528°W / 53.51806; -113.45528 (Whyte x 83)
75 Street At-grade (traffic lights) 53°31′5″N 113°26′34″W / 53.51806°N 113.44278°W / 53.51806; -113.44278 (Whyte x 75)
Sherwood Park Freeway At-grade Y intersection 53°31′3″N 113°26′11″W / 53.5175°N 113.43639°W / 53.5175; -113.43639 (Whyte x Fwy)
50 Street At-grade 53°31′5″N 113°25′7″W / 53.51806°N 113.41861°W / 53.51806; -113.41861 (Whyte x 50)


References

External links


fans, unable to enter the jam-packed Rexall Place, compromise by celebrating equally loudly as those who did manage to get into West Edmonton Mall, or celebrate on Edmonton's Whyte Avenue (pictured) during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.]]

The Blue Mile or the Copper Kilometer is the name given by the local media to the Old Strathcona District's Whyte Avenue located on the southside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada during the Edmonton Oilers 2006 Stanley Cup playoff run, since it closely resembled the events which took place on the Red Mile in Calgary. Whyte Avenue is also located for fashionable stores, restaurants and bars.

Following the Edmonton Oilers upset victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2006 playoffs, several thousand Oiler fans flocked to Whyte Avenue and turning the district into a hockey party strip, as Oiler fans walked the streets cheering, chanting, high-fiving, horn-honking, and flag-waving for their team. Others surfed the crowd in a grocery-shopping cart, and still others climbed trees and traffic lights. This Oilers success has similarly spawned a website similar to flamesgirls.com, which the party strip is not only for thousands of Oiler fans, as estimated as high as 50,000[1] Oiler fans, cheering for the Edmonton Oilers victories but to include a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere, called The Blue Mile. [2][3]

Unlike Calgary's Red Mile, Whyte Avenue in Edmonton gained national attention for its level of violence in May 2006.[4] The arrests at the Blue Mile are estimated at least 350 people through the Oilers Stanley Cup Playoff Run, including breaching the public peace, assaults, impaired driving, mischief, and alcohol-related offences.[5][6][7][8] This rowdy behaviour led the mayor of Edmonton, Stephen Mandel, to threaten to close down the strip: "I hope this doesn't come down to having to shut down Whyte completely ... but this will not be tolerated going into the final series." [9]

References



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