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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Bedroom Communities

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As access to Edmonton improved, places like Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, and Sherwood Park were able to expand.

Stony Plain began in 1905 as a town on the Canadian Northern Railway line. Spruce Grove was established as a townsite on the Grand Trunk Pacific line in 1912. Both communities served the local farming community before evolving into Edmonton bedroom communities in the early 1970s. Stony Plain became a town in 1971 and Spruce Grove became a city in 1986.

St. Albert was established in 1861 as a mission settlement by Father Albert Lacombe. Lacombe's original log church, built in 1861, and the bishop's residence, built in 1888, still stand as historic and religious sites. It is one of Alberta's oldest communities and Edmonton's largest suburb. It became a city in 1977.

Fort Saskatchewan owes its origins to the establishment of an RCMP detachment in 1875 and to the fact that the Canadian Northern Railway passed through the community on its way to Edmonton. In 1899 Fort Saskatchewan was incorporated as a village and in 1904 it became a town. It remained a quiet country place until 1954 when Sherritt Gordon Mines Ltd. established their multi-million-dollar nickel refinery. Since 1954 other industries have been established, making it a significant industrial centre. It became a city in 1985.

The history of Leduc begins in 1867 when a telegraph station was built and named in memory of a well-known pioneer priest, Father Leduc. A townsite was established by the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in the 1890s. The discovery of the Leduc oil field in 1947 has been the basis of its growth since the Second World War. It became a city in 1983.

Sherwood Park, once known as Campbelltown, was originally proposed by developer and entrepreneur John Hook Campbell in the early 1950s. The first preview of homes was opened to the public on September 10, 1955. The home show featured 68 ranch-style homes designed by J. Thomas Wilner of Los Angeles and C.T. Larrington of Edmonton. The homes were advertised in the Edmonton Journal for $10,459 to $14,100. Payments were from $59.62 per month. These homes featured built-in eye-level wall ovens, countertop stoves, and double compartment sinks with swing spout. The exclusive agent for Campbelltown Realty Ltd. was Spencer and Grierson Ltd. This was a well-established firm in the Edmonton area.

From this beginning, Sherwood Park has become a significant community in the Edmonton metropolitan area, reaching a population of 29,000 by the early 1980s. The last neighbourhood to be developed during the golden age was Village on the Lake, which features an artificial lake. Along with residential development, Sherwood Park has also acquired two shopping centres and a range of educational and recreational facilities.

This article is extracted from John Gilpin, Responsible Enterprise: A History of Edmonton Real Estate & the Edmonton Real Estate Board. (Edmonton: Edmonton Real Estate Board, 1997). The Heritage Community Foundation and the Alberta Real Estate Foundation would like to thank John Gilpin and the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton for permission to reproduce this material.

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