HISTORICAL EDMONTON: EXPLORING THE ARCHITECTURE OF OLIVER
What makes a good day away from home great, isn’t always where you go, or how much you spend or even doing what everyone else finds Instagram-worthy. Investigating places that others might overlook can be satisfying and relaxing and it’s something we highly recommend. These days, when taking advantage of outdoor spaces and activities has become popular, it’s a good time to walk through the tree-lined streets of some of Edmonton’s oldest neighbourhoods and see some history.
Luckily for us (and you), Edmonton has lots of history and an excellent place to start is in Oliver. Just a bit west from Downtown proper, Oliver was known as the city’s original west end – quite a big change from where the west end of the city is located now! Edmonton’s Historical Board notes many landmarks in the community but we’ll feature a handful here, as an outline of how to spend an afternoon.
Getting energized with an early afternoon treat should be mandatory before setting off on a city adventure! Fans of Japanese sweets will love the unique flavours of Tsujiri, a Japanese tea house with every kind of matcha flavoured treat available, from delicate artistic pastries, waffle cones of green tea soft serve and, for purists, traditionally prepared hot green tea… just go, go there. You will love it.
Fueled with antioxidants from your green tea treats, you’re now ready for a historical journey around Oliver. To make your planning a bit easier, each of the locations have been tagged with map coordinates so that you can click and go!
Built during Edmonton’s Urban Growth Period (19005 – 1913), Oliver School is an example of one of Edmonton’s early brick schools.
Built spanning 2 time periods (The War Years: 1914-1945/Urban Growth: 1905-1913), Balfour Manor was actually a fire hall before being changed to apartments during the 1930s.
This is a can’t miss sight whether you have an interest in architecture or not. A few blocks south of Balfour Manor, Le Marchand Mansion sits on 100 Avenue overlooking the river valley. Originally built as apartments during the Urban Growth period, it is now offices and shops.
One of the first apartment buildings in Edmonton, the Westminster Apartments was designed in the Edwardian style. The building attracted white-collar workers and some prominent Edmontonians such as former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the Hon. George Bulyea.
Looking somewhat out of place now amongst high-rise apartment buildings and parked cars up and down the street, St Joachim is a remnant from another era. Built in 1899 during the Urban Settlement period, the building is gothic revival.
Next, you’ll make a stop in at The Common. Normally a dine-in restaurant for comfort food re-imagined into contemporary dining, you can enjoy favourites like chicken and waffles or mac n cheese as take out. Make your order for pick up and head on down to your last stop…
Although not in Oliver, the Alberta Legislature Building is very close and worth the extra steps on your architecture viewing journey. Like the other properties we’ve featured (other than St. Joachim), the legislature was built during Edmonton’s Urban Growth period. Perched high above the North Saskatchewan River, the building is surrounded by manicured lawns and gardens – a great place to bring a picnic or just sit and unwind.
For full mapped walking instructions of this tour of Oliver architecture, click here.
We sourced our historical and architectural information from the Edmonton Historical Board. To add more stops to your walking tour or read more about those profiled here, check out their website.
Since walking is on your itinerary, choose a hotel nearby to get all your 10,000 steps per day!
Hotels within 4 kilometers: