These historic homes tell the story of Edmonton as a city in differing ways.
One way to find out more about how a city changed over time is to look at the homes it helped raise. In the case of Edmonton, here are six historic homes that help to tell that story.
Some of these homes have long been off the market. Some key listings sold while writing this article. And others may still be yours for the taking. Take a read to find out more about these homes and their historical impact.
11311 102 Avenue (Chancery Lane)
Located in Oliver, these infamous “bubble homes” (named for the bubble-like windows that protrude out of each unit) are in fact brick-row homes. They’re also a lot older than they look, having been built in 1922.
These homes—three strips of brick-row housing found alongside 102 Avenue—are some of the sole examples of their kind built prior to World War II. Walk on over to 118 Street and you’ll see a row of unadorned brick houses. These represent what the homes would have looked like when first built.
You can still identify the Craftsmen-era influences in the two-floor condo layouts, vaulted ceilings, and red brickwork. Each unit had its own communal porch, adding a little touch of calmness for those looking for peace and tranquility.
In the 1980s, a series of renovations (which we have no explanation or documentation for) like the strange bubble windows and green sci-fi interiors changed the units into the bubble houses we see today.
6210 Ada Boulevard (Holgate Mansion)
A fixture of the Highlands neighbourhood for a century, the Holgate Mansion took its namesake from real estate mogul Bidwell Holgate.
Holgate, along with his partner William Magrath, was in the thick of Edmonton’s pre-WWI construction boom and was betting serious money on Highlands taking off as a district for Edmonton’s burgeoning affluent class.
As such, it was important for the neighbourhood to have homes that met the standard. Both men helped to set that standard by building lavish estates in Highlands.
Holgate’s residence, built by Arthur Nesbitt and Ernest Morehouse, combined several different architectural styles in its makeup. “Stately” is the word that comes to mind when describing the next-level finishing, the oak flooring and panelling, and the iron gate and open-air main floor verandah surrounded by Tuscan columns.
Then there’s the linen wallpaper—painted by hand!—that wraps around the den, the brick and stucco exterior, the mahogany parlour, and the sunroof on the second floor, complete with sleeping porches.
With an exquisite view of the North Saskatchewan River to top it off, it’s no wonder the house succeeds as a testament to enduring design and lavish ideals.
10801 116 Street (Brodeur House)
Designed by local entrepreneur J. William Brodeur as the perfect dream home, this modern home in dated times took six months to build.
The five-room, single-family home was built in the Queen Mary Park neighbourhood at a time when the neighbourhood predominantly featured simpler, single-family homes.
Brodeur took steps to stand out, adding a garage (revolutionary for the ’50s!), utilizing multiple levels, and embracing the Moderne approach of a flat roof, multiple canopies, and asymmetrical facades to draw further attention.
Brodeur’s specifications gave his new home a streamlined appearance. Now, the house is surrounded by plenty of walk-up apartment buildings, making it stand out more than ever before.
10958 89 Avenue (Cecil Burgess Residence)
Cecil Burgess was one of Edmonton’s chief architects, creating and designing many buildings around the University of Alberta campus as its Head of Architecture. He would later work for the city as part of its Town Planning Commission before retiring in 1940.
The house that bears his name, where he lived during his retirement years, serves as an excellent hallmark of Craftsman design. It was built in 1912 as part of Garneau’s early residential developments and would help it earn the title of one of the city’s oldest settled neighbourhoods.
The residence’s homestead look and feel are unmistakable in elements like its brick chimney, open verandah, triangular eave brackets, double-hung windows on both floors, and symmetrical window arrangements.
Other notable residents include distinguished geologist Dr. Percival Sidney Warren and Alex and Magali Michelet, who worked for Edmonton’s first French-language weekly Le courier de l’ouest, the only paper of its kind in Western Canada.
14011 101 Avenue
Tucked away deep in Glenora, this sprawling property has more than 3,000 square feet of space and it could be yours for a modest price of $948,000.
The home was designed by Jean Wallbridge and Mary Imrie, the first two Canadian women (and among the first in North America overall) to establish an architecture partnership.
Wallbridge and Imrie met at the University of Alberta, and both studied under Cecil Burgess. They later established an all-female architecture practice in 1951 and took advantage of Edmonton’s construction boom. Between 1951 and 1979, the duo completed 224 projects, specializing in affordable residential housing.
Their notable projects include the Queen Mary Park Apartments located on 110 Street and 109 Avenue, the Cowan Block found off 97 Street and Jasper Avenue, and the Princess Elizabeth Avenue Apartments located in Edmonton’s north end.
Wallbridge and Imrie’s residential projects were Moderne-inspired in their use of flat roofs, tall windows, horizontal composition, and spacious courtyards, all of which can be found in this property, with an added bonus of bright living quarters and vaulted wood ceilings.
Boasting five large bedrooms, a main-floor laundry, hardwood floors, and a private ensuite with a hot tub, this property is a quiet shelter made for those with luxurious tastes. It’s also only a stone’s throw away from the river valley and a network of ravine and bike trails.