Friday 9 October 2015

Architecture of Old Strathcona, Edmonton, Canada

When Narrelle Harris and I visited Edmonton, Canada, in 2013, we decided to stay in the neighbourhood of Old Strathcona, in the city's south.

Strathcona was originally a separate city, established on a different railway from the one which ran to Edmonton. Eventually Edmonton absorbed its rival, and Strathcona declined into a dodgy place that was literally the wrong side of the tracks.

However, in recent years Strathcona has had a revival, becoming a lively nightlife and theatrical centre. This renaissance has been greatly assisted by its wealth of old buildings.

Thus the old fire station...

... stands near a cluster of theatre buildings which are the hub of the annual Fringe Festival:

There's a certain amount of street art scattered about Strathcona's alleyways...

... but personally, I was more taken with the commercial buildings along the main drag, Whyte Avenue.

There's something very boxy and utilitarian about the North American commercial buildings of a century ago, quite different from the more decorative buildings of the same period in my home city, Melbourne. So I find them fascinating to look at:

Saving the best for last, however, I ended up at MKT, a tavern within the former Strathcona train station. This combined two things I greatly admire - railways and craft beer - in the one convenient location:

So I drank a beer from Alberta at slightly too early an hour on a warm day, and enjoyed the architecture of the railway which had created the neighbourhood in the first place.

Disclosure: On this trip, I travelled courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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