The City of Edmonton has undertaken a series of annexations over its history since originally incorporating as a town in 1892 through incorporation as a city, amalgamation or annexation of other urban municipalities, and annexation of rural lands from its surrounding neighbours.
Early 20th century
The first private buildings outside the walls of Fort Edmonton date from around 1871 when Reverend George McDougall bought a plot from the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) to found the first Methodist church. Edmonton was created as a separate settlement from Fort Edmonton by the HBC on October 29, 1881. Edmonton was incorporated as a town in 1892 and became a city in 1904.
On May 13, 1912, the HBC put the 1,600-acre (650 ha) Hudson's Bay Company Reserve on the market, prompting a massive land rush. The reserve occupied the land between what is today 101 Street to the east and 121 Street to the west, the North Saskatchewan River to the south and 122 Avenue to the north. The portion of the reserve south of 109 Avenue was included within the Edmonton's boundaries when it was originally incorporated as a town on January 1, 1892. The next portion to the north, south of 118 Avenue, was included within Edmonton's boundaries when it incorporated as a city on October 8, 1904. The final portion of the reserve south of 122 Avenue was annexed into the city on May 8, 1908 along with other lands to the north, east and southwest.
The City of Edmonton and the City of Strathcona, formerly called South Edmonton and which now includes the Old Strathcona district and surrounding neighbourhoods, officially amalgamated to become one city on February 12, 1912. The merger followed a plebiscite held in both cities in which 518 Edmontonians voted in favour of the amalgamation (74%) and 178 voted against (26%), while 667 Strathcona residents voted in favour (87%) and 96 against (13%). Edmonton's plebiscite, held on September 27, 1911, asked "Are you in favour of amalgamation of the Cities of Edmonton and Strathcona upon terms set out in Schedule A to Bylaw 356 of the City of Edmonton?" The new city council was elected February 16, 1912.
In 1956, a royal commission recommended Beverly, as well as the Town of Jasper Place and portions of surrounding rural municipalities, amalgamate with Edmonton. Five years later in 1961, residents of Beverly casted ballots in a referendum regarding amalgamation with Edmonton in which 62% voted in favour. The Town of Beverly and surrounding lands were subsequently absorbed by Edmonton on December 30, 1961, with Edmonton assuming the town's $4.16 million debt.
Jasper Place and Sherwood Park
The City of Edmonton initiated a major annexation application in 1962 to absorb the Town of Jasper Place and portions of the Municipal District (MD) of Stony Plain No. 84 to the west. The application also proposed to annex a significant amount of the County of Strathcona No. 20 to the south, southeast and east, including industrial lands and Sherwood Park. The decision rendered by the Local Authorities Board in 1964 granted annexation of Jasper Place and the majority of lands sought from the MD of Stony Plain No. 84. The decision also enabled annexation of lands from the County of Strathcona No. 20 to the southeast and south, but annexation of Sherwood Park and industrial areas to the east were not approved.
In the 1960s Edmonton expanded south onto farmland that had once been part of the Papaschase Cree Indian Reserve to create what is now Mill Woods. The descendants of the inhabitants of this reserve believe their ancestors were cheated out of the land. A legal challenge launched by the descendants in 2004 was summarily dismissed by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta; the judge found that the majority of the plaintiffs' claims had little merit. After several appeals, a subsequent challenge was taken to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2008, which re-instated the 2004 decision.
St. Albert and Strathcona County
On March 22, 1979, the City of Edmonton filed an application with the Local Authorities Board to annex all of the City of St. Albert and County of Strathcona No. 20, as well as parts of the County of Parkland No. 31 and the MD of Sturgeon No. 90. If approved, the plan would have increased the Edmonton's area from 79,962 acres (323.59 km2) to 547,155 acres (2,214.26 km2). The proposed annexation was eventually rejected in 1980 after 106 days of testimony, 299 exhibits, and 12,235 pages of transcripts.
1982 general annexation
Edmonton's last major annexation, referred to as the 1982 general annexation, came into effect on January 1, 1982, when lands were absorbed from the County of Parkland No. 31 to the west, the MD of Sturgeon No. 90 to the north, and the County of Strathcona No. 20 to the east and south. A portion of the City of St. Albert to the northwest was also annexed. As part of the decision, additional lands were transferred from the MD of Sturgeon No. 90 to St. Albert, while the remaining 3.2 km (2.0 mi) of the County of Strathcona No. 20 to the south of Edmonton was transferred to the County of Leduc No. 25.
1983 to 2003
Since 1982, there have only been two minor adjustments to Edmonton's boundary. In 1998, a portion of Whitemud Drive's approach to Anthony Henday Drive (then Highway 14) in southeast Edmonton was transferred to Strathcona County. Similarly, a narrow piece of land along St. Albert Trail was transferred to St. Albert in 2002.
Edmonton International Airport
A proposal to annex land from Leduc County, including the Edmonton International Airport, emerged in 2004 during Bill Smith's final term as mayor. A similar proposal resurfaced in 2008, which was reported to include the airport and a portion of the Nisku Industrial Park.
The possibility of annexing land emerged again in October 2011, when Mayor Stephen Mandel indicated to the Edmonton Journal the need to work cooperatively with its neighbours, including Leduc County, to address Edmonton's future land needs, while Councillor Ed Gibbons referred to the possibility of annexing land from Sturgeon County to the north in November 2012. With negotiations between Edmonton and Leduc County commencing in April 2012, the city announced in March 2013 its intent to annex 15,600 ha (39,000 acres) of land from Leduc County along the entire length of the city's southern boundary, including the Edmonton International Airport. The proposal also includes annexing eight quarter sections previously identified for annexation by the Town of Beaumont in its own proposal unveiled in November 2012. In October 2013, the possibility of annexing lands to the west and northeast emerged to facilitate future industrial development in addition to the current Edmonton International Airport annexation bid.
- Real Estate Weekly
- City of Edmonton, Planning and Development Department. History of Annexations (Map).
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- "Election Results 1892 - 1944" (DOC). City of Edmonton. p. 27. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Board Decision and Board Order No. 1234". Province of Alberta. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- T.J. Plunkett and James Lightbody (1982). "Tribunals, Politics and the Public Interest: The Edmonton Annexation Case". University of Toronto Press. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
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- Bill Glen (2008-07-25). "Land grab raises ire of Leduc County". Leduc Representative (Canoe Sun Media). Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- "Annexation plan angers counties". Edmonton Journal via canada.com (Postmedia Network). 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Elise Stolte (October 18, 2011). "Limits to growth on horizon; Greater role for regional government seen as city runs out of room to develop in 35 years". Edmonton Journal (Postmedia Network).
- Elise Stolte (November 11, 2012). "City farming dream withers in Horse Hill; Future unclear for agriculture on scattered plots of land". Edmonton Journal (Postmedia Network).
- Elise Stolte (March 5, 2013). "Edmonton wants to annex 15,600 hectares of Leduc County, including airport". Edmonton Journal (Postmedia Network). Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- "Annexation Proposal". Town of Beaumont. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- David Staples (October 30, 2013). "Staples: It’s time for Edmonton to ‘go for the gusto’". Edmonton Journal (Postmedia Network). Retrieved October 30, 2013.