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Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Feature Article

FAIRVIEW

Written By: Michael Dawe
Published By: Red Deer Express
Article Used with permission. © Copyright Michael Dawe, 2005
2005-03-23

1905, one hundred years ago, was an exciting time for Red Deer. The economy was booming. Newcomers flooded into the district. The Town’s population jumped from only 300 in 1901 to more than 1200. New houses and new businesses were springing up everywhere.

Two new residential subdivisions were created in the Town. The first was Parkvale in the southeast corner of the valley. The second was Woodlea on the northeast side of the Town.

A number of houses were also built north of the Red Deer River, beyond the Town limits. The north side community got a big boost in 1905 when a large-scale sawmill operation commenced in the area west of the C.P.R. tracks.

Later that year, Fred Ray, who had homesteaded the SW " of Section 20 in North Red Deer in 1889, decided to subdivide his farm into 2 and 5-acre parcels. He dubbed the new subdivision, Fairview Park, because his homestead holdings had a "fair" view of the Red Deer River valley from their location on the edge of the north west hill.

The parcels sold for $100 per acre, an astounding price since just a short time before, a whole quarter section of land could be purchased for $750. Nevertheless, with the economy booming and lots of people wanting hilltop acreages, sales were brisk. Most of the parcels were sold by the spring of 1907.

In March 1911, the Village of North Red Deer was officially incorporated. Fairview Park became a part of the new village. The acreages at the foot of the hill and north of the railroad tracks were further subdivided into lots. While this new area was initially known as Barmore, the name did not stick. Most people simply called it the west side of the village or else west of Oak (58th) Avenue. Much later, it became known as Lower Fairview.

In 1947, the Village of North Red Deer amalgamated with the City of Red Deer. In 1962, the acreages on the top of the hill were resubdivided into lots.

The Red Deer Planning Commission recommended that the new subdivision be called "The River" or "The Golf Course" because of its proximity to the Red Deer Golf and Country Club. However, City Council decided to retain the original name of Fairview, although the district sometimes became known as Upper Fairview because of its location at the top of the hill.

It was during the naming of Fairview, that City Council decided follow the example used in Sunnybrook, of having all the street names start with the same letter as the subdivision. Thus, a general policy of street-naming was established fro the whole City.

In 1963, the Red Deer Public School District built a new elementary school at the base of the hill. Douglas Cardinal, one of Canada’s most famous architects, was the designer and he used as his inspiration the shapes of native villages.

In 1964, Great Chief Park, one of Red Deer’s major sports and recreation areas, was developed south of Fairview along the river. In the 1970’s, the stately Cronquist House was moved across the river from West Park to the Bower Ponds park area. This area was further developed and enhanced in the early 1980’s as part of the Waskasoo Park project.

In the early 1990’s, the C.P. rail line, which had been the traditional boundary of Fairview, was removed. A northern leg of Taylor Drive was constructed. New homes were built along some parts of the old right of way.

New residential development also took place on the west side of the Fairview subdivision, in particular north of the Red Deer Golf and Country Club. This area became known as the Fountains.

In 2000, the area to the east of Taylor Drive was renamed Riverside Meadows, replacing the name Lower Fairview which had come to be applied to much of the district.

Fairview continues to be an attractive place to live with its close proximity to parks and excellent recreational facilities.

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