Downtown Edmonton

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Downtown Edmonton from the air
Downtown Edmonton from the air
Downtown is located in Edmonton
Location of Downtown in Edmonton
Coordinates: 53°32′38″N 113°29′28″W / 53.544°N 113.491°W / 53.544; -113.491
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
City Edmonton
Quadrant[1] NW
Ward[1] 6
Sector[2] Mature area
Area[3] Central core
 • Administrative body Edmonton City Council
 • Councillor Scott McKeen
 • Total 2.28 km2 (0.88 sq mi)
Elevation 671 m (2,201 ft)
Population (2012)[6]
 • Total 12,199
 • Density 5,350.4/km2 (13,857/sq mi)
 • Change (2009–12) Increase5.4%
 • Dwellings 9,103

Downtown Edmonton is bounded by 109 Street to the west, 105 Avenue to the north, 97 Street to the east, 97 Avenue, 100 Avenue, and Rossdale Road to the south and Jasper Avenue to the southeast (the downtown core), though many people consider part or all of the surrounding neighbourhoods to be part of downtown. The downtown core is bordered by the neighbourhoods of Oliver to the west, Queen Mary Park to the northwest, Central McDougall to the North, McCauley to the northeast, Boyle Street (Jasper-East) to the east, Riverdale to the east and southeast, and Rossdale to the south. Within the downtown core are five districts: the Commercial Core, Government Centre, Warehouse District, McKay Avenue and Rice Howard Way. Sometimes the Northedge (part of Queen Mary Park) is referred to as part as downtown, as is Oliver.

Image of Downtown Edmonton and Low Level Bridge from 98 Avenue

Streets and districts[edit]

Arts District and Churchill Square[edit]

The arts district is in the eastern part of the core with many award winning institutions like the Francis Winspear Centre for Music (home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) and the Citadel Theatre. Edmonton City Hall is also located here with all these buildings facing onto Sir Winston Churchill Square. It is also the site of the new Art Gallery of Alberta, which opened in early 2010, and the Stanley A. Milner Library, Edmonton Public Library's main branch.

Churchill Square (Officially "Sir Winston Churchill Square") is the main downtown square in Edmonton, and is the heart of the Arts District. The square plays host to a large majority of festivals and events in Greater Edmonton. It is bordered on the north by 102A Avenue, on the west by 100 Street, on the south by 102 Avenue (Harbin Road) and on the east by Rue Hull (99) Street. Recently, the portion of 102A Avenue that cut Churchill Square off from Edmonton's City Hall has been closed off to vehicular traffic as a way to better connect Churchill Square with the fountains and some festivities on the plaza at City Hall.[7]

Edmonton City Centre[edit]

Edmonton's Winspear Centre in the Arts District

Edmonton City Centre (formerly Eaton Centre and Edmonton Centre) is a two part shopping mall with over 170 services on 102 Avenue. It is anchored by Hudson's Bay, CBC, Winners and Landmark Cinemas. It has four office towers (using the mall as a podium), plus a Delta Hotel. When Edmonton Centre and the Eaton Centre became one in the late 1990s after the demise of Eaton's, a newer and larger pedestrian skyway was built to connect the two malls which also contains a number of shops. Also in the late 1990s (after the malls became one), the mall received a makeover itself. Recently the mall itself has been attracting some higher end retailers.

Government Centre[edit]

Alberta Legislature Building viewed from the High Level Bridge

Government Centre is located at the southwest corner of the downtown core and is the home of the Alberta provincial government. The most notable feature of this part of downtown is the Alberta Legislature Building and its surrounding parks, fountains, and gardens.

An underground pedway system connects the Legislature to several of the surrounding buildings, including the historic Bowker Building and the Frederick W. Haultain Building.

Federal government offices were housed in the Federal Building at the north-east corner of Government Centre until they relocated to Canada Place, located at the east edge of downtown, in the 1980s. Today, the Federal Building is undergoing a $356 million renovation due to be completed in 2014 for provincial government offices and a new underground parking structure.[8][9]

Transit service is provided by the Government Centre Transit Centre located near the Federal Building and by Grandin LRT Station located just to the west.

Jasper Avenue[edit]

Jasper Avenue
Jasper Avenue.jpg
101 Avenue
Maintained by the City of Edmonton
Length 6.3 km (3.9 mi)
Location Edmonton
West end 125 Street / 102 Avenue
124 Street, 109 Street, 105 Street, 101 Street, 97 Street, 95 Street, 82 Street
East end 77 Street

Jasper Avenue is the city's "main street". It starts at 82 Street in the east, running south west along the south edge of Boyle Street until it reaches the downtown core. It then runs due west through downtown and the neighbourhood of Oliver until it reaches 124 Street. Jasper Avenue is a major public transit route as several of Edmonton's busiest bus routes travel along it. The LRT travels underneath Jasper Avenue between 99 and 110 Streets.

Jasper Avenue looking west from 103 Street

Jasper Avenue has no street number but sits where 101 Avenue would otherwise be. Jasper Avenue is home to many of Edmonton's oldest heritage buildings (for example the Hotel Macdonald) and some of Edmonton's tallest office towers, including Canadian Western Bank Place and Scotia Place; however, the presence of the former limits that of the latter, and many tall buildings are found just off Jasper where land is easier to obtain. Together with help from nearby streets like 100 Avenue, 104 Street, 101 Street, and 102 Avenue, the Jasper West area (west of 97 Street) is one of the major retail, living, commercial, and entertainment districts of the city.

McKay Avenue[edit]

McKay Avenue School is an important historical building located in downtown Edmonton. Named for Dr. William Morrison MacKay, a doctor with the Hudson's Bay Company and Alberta's first doctor.[10] Construction began in 1904 when the cornerstone was laid by the Governor General of Canada, Lord Minto. The building was named a provincial historic resource in 1976. Due to declining enrollments, the school was closed in 1983. Today, the building has a new lease on life, and is the home of the Edmonton Public School Board Archives And Museum. In addition to its educational role, the building was also used by the Alberta Legislature during 1906 and 1907, when the legislature's first two sittings were held here. The 1881 Schoolhouse, an older wood frame building and Edmonton's oldest school, is located on the same site.[11]

Rice Howard Way[edit]

104 Street
Maintained by the City of Edmonton
Length 1.7 km (1.1 mi)
Location Edmonton
South end Rossdale Road
Rossdale Road, 97 Avenue, Jasper Avenue, 104 Avenue
North end 104 Avenue

Rice Howard Way comprises 100A Street between Jasper Avenue and 102 Avenue and 101A Avenue between 100 St and 101 St. The portion of 101A Avenue between 100A Street and 101 Street was closed to traffic, making it an open air pedestrian walkway. The rest of Rice Howard Way is open to vehicular traffic. Rice Howard Way has a few prominent office towers like Scotia Place and some restaurants.

Rice Howard Way's southern edge (100A St at Jasper Avenue) has an entrance to the Central LRT Station.

Warehouse District and 104 Street[edit]

A warehouse in the downtown core surrounded by high-rises

The Warehouse District is located between Jasper Avenue and 104 Avenue and between 102 Street and 109 Street. During the first decade of the 20th century, the Hudson's Bay Company began selling its land holdings in this area, and businesses were quick to move in. Between 1909 and 1914, no fewer than two dozen warehouses were constructed.[12]

In the later part of the century, warehouses closed and the buildings were redeveloped into commercial enterprises. In the late 1990s lofts were created in these former warehouses. In recent years, the area has seen a revival, with new lofts and condos being constructed or proposed, along with many designer shops. The area also includes Canada's first urban format Sobey's Fresh Market, flanking the curved Birks building as the entrance to 104 Street at Jasper Avenue and serving the new residential population.

104 Street (in between Jasper Avenue and 104 Avenue) is the main road in the Warehouse District. It features shops, restaurants, cafes and a variety of service shops. On Saturdays during the summer month (May–October) it hums with Edmonton's original farmer's market, the City Market. The area is also famous for lofts in old warehouses. The street is very dense, and has seen new projects completed in 2009 (Icon I), and others to be completed in 2010 (Icon II). A proposed 40 and 50 story building complex is currently being proposed for a site on the NW corner of 104 Street and 102 Avenue.


Downtown population from 1986 to 2005

In the City of Edmonton's 2012 municipal census, Downtown had a population of 12,199 living in 9,103 dwellings,[6] a 5.4% change from its 2009 population of 11,572.[13] With a land area of 2.28 km2 (0.88 sq mi),[5] it had a population density of 5,350.4 people/km2 in 2012.[5][6]

Year Female Male Total Census type
1986 2,170 2,880 5,050 Federal
1991 2,380 3,015 5,395 Federal
1996 2,205 2,925 5,130 Federal
2001 2,845 3,330 6,175 Federal
2005 4,216 4,811 9,027 Municipal
2008 5,008 5,351 10,359 Municipal
2009 5,455 6,117 11,572 Municipal[14]
2012 5,743 6,456 12,199 Municipal[15]

Light rail transit service[edit]

Bay/Enterprise Square LRT Station with the new LRV's in use

Edmonton Transit System's light rail system runs beneath the downtown core, with one station at Churchill Square (Churchill LRT Station), three stations along Jasper Avenue (Central, Bay/Enterprise Square and Corona) and one station at government centre (Grandin). From Grandin Station, the LRT continues south over the North Saskatchewan River to three University of Alberta stations (University, Health Sciences/Jubilee, and South Campus), as a part of the South extension. From Churchill Station, the LRT travels north east towards Commonwealth Stadium and Rexall Place. Currently under construction is a new line to MacEwan University, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Kingsway Mall, Victoria School Of The Arts, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).


The Robbins Health Learning Centre at MacEwan University

There are several institutions providing educational opportunities in the downtown core. The largest of these is MacEwan University whose City Centre Campus is located along the northern edge of the downtown core between 105 Street and 112 Street, and between 104 Avenue and 105 Avenue. This site used to be part of an old Canadian National rail yard that started redevelopment in the 1990s. MacEwan University also operates the Alberta College Campus located near the southern edge of the downtown core on McDonald Drive.

The University of Alberta has redeveloped the site of the Bay building on Jasper Avenue between 102 Street and 103 Street as Enterprise Square (2008). "The building will house TEC Edmonton, a jointly operated research commercialization centre presently located in the U of A's Research Transition Facility."[16] The opening of Enterprise Square marks the University's 100th Anniversary and first presence north of the river since it was founded in 1908. Enterprise Square also houses the University's Alumni Services, Faculty of Extension programs, and a U of A Bookstore.

The Edmonton Public School Board operates a high school, Centre High, in the redeveloped Boardwalk and Revillon buildings.

The University of Lethbridge maintains a small campus on three floors of a building on the south-west corner of 108 Street and 100 Avenue near the Government Centre. NorQuest College is located between 107 Street and 108 Street at 102 Avenue and provides upgrading and diploma services.

Downtown Edmonton


  1. ^ a b "City of Edmonton Wards & Standard Neighbourhoods". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Edmonton Developing and Planned Neighbourhoods, 2011". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Way We Grow: Municipal Development Plan Bylaw 15100". City of Edmonton. 2010-05-26. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ "City Councillors". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Neighbourhoods (data plus kml file)". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Municipal Census Results – Edmonton 2012 Census". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Avenue between City Hall and Churchill Square to close". CBC News. December 14, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ Archie McLean, "Federal building to get $356M makeover",Edmonton Journal, June 18, 2008.
  9. ^ Government of Alberta Ministry of Infrastructure. "The Federal Building and Centennial Plaza Project". Government of Alberta. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Calgary: Famous Five Foundation. p. 10. 
  11. ^ History of McKay Avenue School
  12. ^ Lawrence Herzog, "Edmontons Warehouse District",Real Estate Weekly, Vol 21 No. 25, June 26, 2003.
  13. ^ "2009 Municipal Census Results". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ City of Edmonton. "2009 Municipal Census Summary Report of All Questions - Downtown". Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  15. ^ "2012 Municipal Census". City of Edmonton. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  16. ^ The University describes its plans for use of the Bay building in their press release announcing approval to purchase the building.

External links[edit]