How Edmonton's West End Began - A Hidden History

How Edmonton's West End Began - A Hidden History

How Edmonton's West End Began - A Hidden History
by the Honourable Jean E. Côté
$67.50 + S&H + GST
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Table of Contents
Catalogue & ISBN

This book contains a very detailed Table of Contents enabling the reader to quickly locate various points of interest. Below is a very simplified sample of the Table.

CHAPTER A - Introduction
CHAPTER B - Birth of this Neighborhood
CHAPTER C - The MacKinnon Ravine
CHAPTER D - History of Crestwood and Further South
CHAPTER E - History of the Area North of the Ravine
CHAPTER F - Public Transit
CHAPTER G - Railways
CHAPTER H - Utilities, Services, and Schools
CHAPTER I - Why the Far West End Succeeded

The great majority of us, world wide, reside for census purposes in cities, but we live in neighbourhoods. In spite of the brilliant insights of Jane Jacobs about the place of neighbourhoods in how cities develop and thrive, there are very few histories of these environments that give meaning to our urban lives. Jean Côté introduces us to a host of fascinating characters populating Edmonton’s first western suburb in the early 20th century; from developers eager to make fortunes from the city’s expected growth to members of the business and government elite who eventually began to take up lots along the tram line extension across Groat Ravine. Although he grew up in the neighourhood and lives there still, Jean Côté’s history of Edmonton’s original West End is no mere exercise in nostalgia aimed at former residents. It is a sophisticated and thoughtprovoking analysis of all the complex factors that combined to give the district its unique character; the deep ravines running down to the North Saskatchewan that required expensive bridges, the transcontinental railway line that ran through west Edmonton both attracting and hindering development, the wild speculation in city land in the first decade of the 20th century and the abrupt collapse after 1912 that left Edmonton with tens of thousands of unoccupied building lots for the next half century, and many others. This is a wellwritten and engaging story that will be of interest to anyone concerned with urban development.

Rod Macleod
Professor Emeritus (and former Department Head) of History and Classics
University of Alberta

Jean Côté grew up in the part of Edmonton which his history describes, and he is now back living there. His book is packed with surprising people, dramatic events, beautiful vistas, and the best combination of rural and urban life. Those people, their hopes, successes, and failures, create many mysteries. The author solves many of them. He is determined not to let this saga and its lessons die.

Reading history has always been an important pastime for Jean. In writing this book he weaves together contemporary records and legal documents, with actual memories, his own and those of relatives and neighbors. His father was a surveyor’s son, who later became a railway history expert in the headquarters library of the Canadian National Railway.

If you were born before 1970, the author may reunite you with some forgotten aspects of your history. In the story telling of his book Jean Côté recognizes the integrity and determination of these pioneers. Perhaps some of them are your parents and grandparents. What an honour and privilege to be able to read their stories and recognize their strengths and hardships that lead to our living a better life today.


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