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Northlands Park - Memories Worth Keeping
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Historical Era

Celebrating the inauguration of AlbertaThe historical era of Northlands Park spans various smaller periods beginning with the organization’s birth in 1879, and extends to around 1950. The first seven decades of the organization saw a time of social changes, physical moves and the tumultuous growth characteristic of fledgling groups with the vision to grow.

As the organization's mandate expanded, its name was changed to suit the broadened scope of areas it was moving into. Speaking to the specifically agricultural goals held at the start, Northlands Park was first called the Edmonton Agricultural Society (EAS). Within a decade, the capability and desire to engage wider audiences and varying participants led to the volunteer society incorporating as a non-profit organization, and being renamed the Edmonton Industrial Exhibition Association (EIEA) in 1899.

Fort EdmontonThe first Edmonton Exhibition occurred on 5 October 1879. Following the success of this event, the organization chose to become active throughout the year instead of restricting itself to the planning and carrying out of a one-day event. As the Klondike Gold Rush hit the town of Edmonton and its surrounding communities, the population boomed. New buildings were erected, transient prospectors rushed in and out, transportation expanded, and service industries multiplied. All of this amounted to more energy and money in North-central Alberta.

During what is known as the resurgence period, the EIEA made strides towards acquiring permanent land on which to have its events and administration situated. This desire was fulfilled in the form of Rossdale Flats, a location beside the North Saskatchewan River. With the inauguration of Alberta as a province, and Edmonton as its capital, a time of celebration and growth was experienced. By the turn of the century Edmonton and Strathcona had a joint population of about 5,000 people and a new site had to be found for the ever-expanding EIEA.

Hudson's Bay CompanyThe relocation period was a time of movement, construction, and the debut of new community events. With the creation of the organization's Livestock Pavilion, women’s basketball teams put their skills on display, and Edmonton’s fair expanded to a six-day event. Trade fairs found a new stop at the Manufacturers Building and the organization changed its name once more, to the Edmonton Exhibition Association (EEA), in order to embrace its rising profile as citizens, politicians and business people felt its impact and volunteered their abilities.

The 66th BattalionFollowing a time of optimism and growth came the Depression and the First and Second World Wars. Economic stagnation and a shift in mood halted EEA construction during this war and interwar period. With the exception of the Women’s Building created in 1919, facility additions were not made. Instead, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) made use of the exhibition facilities, converting them from celebration spaces to training grounds. Following the First World War, some sites reverted to exhibition use, only to become barracks and training facilities again as the Second World War broke out.

Fair goersA remarkable number of events have occurred during the historical era of Northlands Park. The hard work of founding and growing an organization happened at the same time that social, economic, and political forces shaped the physical and cultural environment that the organization existed in. 



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Quicklinks

Beginnings
(1879-1899)

Resurgence
(1899-1909)

Relocation
(1910-1914)

Wars and Interwar
(1914-1950)

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