This is the third of four posts where I am featuring three more of the artists and a selection of their sketches from the exhibit Sketching History: Rediscovering Edmonton’s Architectural Heritage through Urban Sketching. The twelve artists whose work is in this exhibit are members of Urban Sketchers Edmonton, and over 100 sketches of Edmonton’s built and natural heritage are featured in the exhibit.
Terry Elrod is an avid sketcher of cities, small towns and rural landscapes, most often in central Alberta. Now retired, he is a professor emeritus of the University of Alberta, having taught and researched in the School of Business for twenty-two years. He discovered mid-life his interest in making art, and went on to earn a Certificate in Fine Art from the University of Alberta.
Terry prefers to sketch in pen and watercolour, working quickly, simply and intuitively. This approach is hit-or-miss, but having made some 150 sketches in the past sixteen months, he has a few of merit. “Any day outside sketching is a good day.”
Sketchers in Mill Creek Ravine by Terry Elrod, 4 August 2018
Encompassing the non-residential neighbourhoods of Mill Creek Ravine North and South, the ravine winds from Connors Road to Argyll Road. It leads down to Mill Creek, named after a flour mill established by Metis businessman William Bird in 1878. Originally this area was integral to industry, including the mill, a railway and meatpacking plants before being reclaimed as a green space. The park‘s outdoor swimming pool, built in the mid-1950s, is still a popular recreational spot in the summer time.
The ravine is a haven for those looking to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the city. The trees here include white spruce, birch, aspen, and balsam poplar. Wildlife includes many birds ranging from the owl to the nuthatch as well as animals such as rabbits and coyotes.
Strathcona Train Station, 8101 Gateway Boulevard by Terry Elrod, 31 July 2018
Just south of the North Saskatchewan River, the Strathcona Train Station (also known as South Side CPR Station, Old C and E Station, South Edmonton Station) has remained a city landmark for over a century. It is just one of four remaining stations in early 20th century grand railway station design in Alberta, including Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.
Constructed between 1907 and 1908, the brick, sandstone and timber structure is a blend of the architectural styles of Queen Anne, Scottish and French-Chateau, and Classical and Renaissance Revival. The building includes an asymmetrical octagonal tower, a broad hipped, bell-cast roof and large, surrounding overhang to protect waiting passengers.
The Strathcona Station replaced the original depot at the northern terminus of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, and represented the CPR’s intention to develop Strathcona as the dominant terminal point in northern Alberta.
The last passenger train left this station in 1985, almost a century after the first train arrived. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada named it a Designated Heritage Railway Station in 1992, and the Province of Alberta designated it a Provincial Historic Resource in 2004. The building has been home to a variety of businesses in recent years.
Streetscape McCauley neighbourhood, 97 Street looking South of 108a Avenue by Terry Elrod, 7 July 2018
The neighbourhood of McCauley is one of Edmonton’s oldest. It is bounded by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway right-of-way (now the LRT tracks), First Street (101 Street), and Norwood Boulevard (111 Avenue).
It was named after Matthew McCauley who arrived in Edmonton in 1881. He helped start Edmonton’s Exhibition, organized Edmonton’s first school, was mayor and then in Alberta’s first Legislature.
McCauley became the home to the numerous ethnic groups. Little Italy runs along 95 Street and Chinatown North between 97 Street and 101 Street from 103 A Avenue and 105 Avenue. It is home to over thirteen buildings of faith.
Jo-Anne Farley is a visual artist born and raised in Edmonton. Having completed a BFA with distinction in Art and Design, she taught art in North Vancouver and Edmonton for several years. Painting and drawing remain her forte with some forays into clay and printmaking.
Jo-Anne has participated in art exhibitions in Edmonton. She also served on the board of the Women’s Art Museum of Canada and attends the Harcourt House figure drawing sessions. After discovering the Urban Sketchers Edmonton, she has also participated in many outings.
Jo-Anne is a 10th generation Canadian whose Quebecois grandparents settled in St. Albert and Edmonton areas at the beginning of the 20th century.
Hotel Macdonald and stairs to the river valley, 10065 – 100 Street by Jo-Anne Farley, 2015
Considered by many to be Edmonton’s most iconic building, the Hotel Macdonald has been a distinguished landmark overlooking the North Saskatchewan River since it was completed in 1915 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
Named for Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, it was designed by the Montreal architectural firm of Ross & Macdonald in the Canadian Chateau style of grand railway hotels. Impressive architectural details were included in the L-shaped, seven storey hotel with high pitched irregular rooflines and copper dormers. The building was finished with fine limestone, and included arches, corbelled balconies, turrets, finials and carved gargoyles. The Frank Oliver Memorial Park beside the hotel, a small but desirable downtown green space, allows for an unobstructed view of the hotel’s historic architecture.
An architecturally unsympathetic 1953 addition dubbed “the box it came in” was demolished in 1986. The hotel closed in 1983 and, in order to save it from the wrecking ball, the City of Edmonton designated it as their first Municipal Historic Resource in 1985. Canadian Pacific Railway purchased the hotel in 1988 and it was carefully restored and reopened in 1991. Today it operates under the Fairmont banner, and remains a significant part of Edmonton’s built heritage and cultural fabric.
Indian Fusion the Curry House, 10322 – 111 Street by Jo-Anne Farley, 2 March 2019
Indian Fusion the Curry House and Urban Timber Reclaimed Wood Co stand on part of what was originally the yards of the Canadian Northern Railway, which also absorbed the Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways. The rail yards were built in 1905, and extended from 101st Street to 116 Street between 104 Avenue and 105 Avenue. The area expanded even further with the Canadian Pacific Railway yards that were located between Jasper Avenue & 104 Avenue, and 109 street & 111 Street. These extensive rail yards (20 tracks wide) dominated much of Oliver and the western portion of downtown until 1988, when the yards were phased out of operation and by 1996, the tracks and most buildings had been removed or demolished.
The brick building that the Indian Fusion restaurant now occupies was built in the rail yard in 1944 by British American Oil Co as an oil warehouse, tank storage and pump-room. The smaller brick building across the parking lot, now Urban Timber, was built at the same time by B.A. Oil as their garage. These are the only two remaining buildings still on their original sites.
Indian Fusion represents an additional level of heritage in Edmonton: the cultural heritage of Indian and Fijian food and design. Urban Timber also represents an additional level of heritage in their use of reclaimed wood from which they make furniture, flooring and doors. Urban Timber reclaimed the wood from the Cloverdale footbridge that was demolished in 2016, and created hand-crafted furniture with a label to indicate that the wood came from the footbridge.
Edmonton Exhibition/Borden Park Roller Coaster by Jo-Anne Farley, 1992
Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, New Yorker Lynn Welcher, a builder of roller coasters in Canada and the United States, arrived in Edmonton to construct the big wooden roller coaster The Green Rattler and The Old Mill, better known as The Tunnel of Love.
A May 7, 1915 Edmonton Bulletin reporter stated, “Mr. Welcher who owns riding devices on some of the larger exhibition grounds … was induced to come to Edmonton by Manager Stark of the Edmonton Exhibition. Edmonton has been lacking in clean outdoor forms of amusement… and the establishment of this roller coaster is the first step.”
Both structures were set up along the south fence of East End Park, half in the Exhibition Grounds and half in Borden Park. The City of Edmonton Archives has in its holdings a 1929 contract to lease the land “in occupation by a certain Roller Coaster erected therein being approximately One Hundred Feet by Four Hundred and Seventy-five feet.”
After two decades of thrilling its riders, the roller coaster was closed and dismantled in 1935.
Irina Kruglyakova came to Canada in 2008 from Russia where she worked in the ecotourism and parks system, including work as a wilderness guide. She has been making art and sketching as long as she can remember. Her biggest loves and interests have always included nature in such activities as hiking and wildlife viewing, and much of her art is of nature-based subjects.
Although mostly a self-taught artist, she also studied graphic design at the Correspondence Popular University of Art, Vladivostok and then worked as a graphic designer in Russia for 14 years. Since coming to Alberta, first to Waterton and Canmore and then to Edmonton, she has taught art classes for children and adults.
River valley and downtown vista by Irina Kruglyakova, no date
Edmonton’s river valley and green spaces are an important element of our heritage and identity. As stated on the City’s webpage: As the largest urban park in Canada, with more than 160 kilometres of maintained pathways and 20 major parks, the River Valley is a natural wonder for all Edmontonians to be proud of.
However, it wasn’t always so. Some of our present day beloved natural areas used to be garbage dumps, including Grierson Hill, Gallagher Park Hill, Dawson Park, Hawrelak Park, and Mill Creek Ravine. The river valley and ravines were also populated by industry: garbage incinerators, coal mines, lumber yards, brick factories, meat-packing plants and gravel pits.
In the 1920s, concerned Edmontonians such as Gladys Reeves lobbied and volunteered to recover and preserve our city’s river valleys and ravines. They also helped to beautify our neighbourhoods through the efforts of the Horticultural and Vacant Lot Garden Association and the Edmonton Tree Planting Committee.
In 1985, the City passed the River Valley Bylaw which states: As Edmonton grows and changes and as land becomes more valuable the River Valley may become threatened by commercial and industrial uses, as well as by civic uses such as public utilities. In spite of this, threats to the river valley continue. We can follow the example of early citizens and advocate to protect our beloved green spaces.
Mill Creek Trestle Bridge by Irina Kruglyakova, 4 August 2018
The Mill Creek Trestle Bridge is one of the last pieces of physical evidence of the Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway, which first connected Strathcona and Edmonton. The rail line was built from 1900 to 1902, and the bridge that spanned Mill Creek remains in its original location, parallel to 76 Avenue.
Since the late 1970s, the bridge has been a pedestrian and biking bridge. Designated in 2004 as a Municipal Historic Resource, it underwent a major rebuilding in 2018, with 25% of original wood utilised in the restoration.
House at 13516 Ravine Drive , Glenora neighbourhood by Irina Kruglyakova, 25 July 2019
Edmonton has some fine examples of residential architecture from various eras, although many have been demolished. Henderson’s Edmonton Directories are a valuable resource for locating the names of those who owned or resided in a house over time, and in some cases, their occupations.
Glenora is one of Edmonton’s most historic residential areas. In 1869, Malcolm Groat claimed a 900-acre parcel of land extending from what is now 121 Street west to 142 Street, and south from 111 Avenue to the North Saskatchewan River. In 1906 Montreal realtor James Carruthers purchased the land for real estate development. Glenora features many grand historic homes and the streets are lined with mature elms.
Please come and explore the exhibit! It is up until December 2020.
Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre and Edmonton City Archives
10440 – 108 Ave
Mondays to Fridays 8:30am to 4:30pm and Wednesdays til 8pm
Ring the buzzer on the outside door to be let into the building
If you are not able to come to the physical exhibit, you can visit the virtual exhibit.
Thanks to the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Heritage Council, the Edmonton Historical Board and the City of Edmonton Archives for their support of this project.
Reference sources for background history:
Mill Creek Ravine and Trestle Bridge
Herzog, Lawrence. Industry on the River. It’s Our Heritage, vol. 25, no. 12, 22 Mar. 2007
Haukaas, Colleen. Historic Archaeology at Edmonton’s Mill Creek Ravine by (Archaeological Survey), RETROactive: Exploring Alberta’s Past
Alberta Register of Historic Places
City of Edmonton – Mill Creek Bridges
Strathcona Train Station
Canada’s Historic Places
Edmonton Maps Heritage
City of Edmonton Archives: RG-21-2-3-EA-792-84
Alberta Register of Historic Places
Alberta Register of Historic Places
Edmonton Historical Board, Edmonton’s Architectural Heritage
British American Oil Co/Indian Fusion the Curry House/Urban Timber
Edmonton Heritage Council, Edmonton City as Museum: Lawrence Herzog article Tracks into the Past
Global News article by Julia Wong, 21 July 2018
Henderson’s Edmonton Directories
City of Edmonton Archives: Fire Insurance maps 1954
Edmonton Exhibition/Borden Park roller coaster
City of Edmonton Archives: Clippings files; Contract #1384, July 17, 1929
Edmonton Exhibition Lands Area Redevelopment Plan Phase II by Ken Tingley, 2018. https://www.edmonton.ca/documents/Exhibition_Lands_Historical_Report.pdf
Summer Fun in Edmonton by Elizabeth Walker, 2011. Transforming Edmonton. https://transformingedmonton.ca/summer-fun-in-edmonton-a-history-of-outdoor-pools/
Edmonton’s River Valley and Green Spaces
Provincial Archives of Alberta, Gladys Reeves fond, Acc. #1974.173
City of Edmonton Archives, City Commissioners’ Papers, RG11
Why Grow Here: Edmonton’s Gardening History by Kathryn Chase Merritt,
City of Edmonton, River Valley Parks
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