Edmonton/South Central

River Valley apartments.

South Central pertains to the urban and central area south of the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton. The area is artsy, trendy and edgy. In South Central Edmonton you will find some interesting architecture and great festivals. South Central Edmonton includes the communities of Strathcona, Garneau, Queen Alexandra Windsor Heights, Mill Creek (east Strathcona), Bonnie Doon, Belgravia, Strathearn, Ritchie, and much more.


Much of what South Central today was once encompassed by Strathcona (originally called South Edmonton), which was founded in 1899 after significant growth due to the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company's decision to place a terminus station south of the North Saskatchewan River. The first train arrived in South Edmonton in 1891.

Strathcona was named for Lord Strathcona. The community grew very quickly between 1900–1910 and was a typical prairie town, which is reflected in some of the architecture in Old Strathcona today.

In 1908, the University of Alberta was founded under Premier Rutherford in the Garneau District. The Garneau was named after Laurent Garneau, a Métis who fought alongside Louis Riel in the 1869 Red River Rebellion, and who later settled in South Edmonton.

Eventually, in 1912, the whole of Strathcona officially became part of Edmonton when the City of Strathcona voted in favour of amalgamation.

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the University grew significantly and the area held up well in hard times. By the 1950s, the University continued to expand and began introducing the new "brutalist" architectural style.

In the 1970s, there was a plan to build a freeway in what is now Old Strathcona. The community protested to preserve the neighbourhood's character. Some buildings were demolished in preparation for construction, but the freeway was never built. By the 1980s plans were made to revitalize the area and by the 1990s Whyte Avenue and Old Strathcona had become the city's premiere bar and urban retail district.

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw some increase in crime. Police were sent in to patrol the area and crime has decreased significantly since then.

Today South Central has a great nightlife scene -- Saturday nights are filled with bar goers and club lovers from around the city. The area is also considered a fun place to shop and dine. The area is highly educated due to the presence of the University of Alberta.

Get in

By public transit

Old Strathcona Map

Like most parts of the town, South Central has good public transit. The central area is served by two LRT stations, University and Health Sciences/Jubilee, both of which are located on the University of Alberta campus. There are two LRT stops further south: McKernan/Belgravia and South Campus. The frequency of LRT service is 5-10 minutes during the day and 10-15 minutes at night. Four buses serve popular Whyte Avenue: #4, #7, #57, and #94. It's easy to connect to these buses from the University LRT station. Use the Edmonton Transit System (ETS) Trip Planner to find the best route for your journey.

By car

South Central has good connections via four arteries: 109th Street, (Whyte) 82nd Avenue, Calgary Trail, and Gateway Boulevard. Aside from these, it is very navigable even on residential streets as the area mostly follows a grid.


Mill Creek houses
Pyramid habitats of the Muttart Conservatory



Because Old Strathcona being within this district, there is endless choices for movies, sports, festivals, and events.


Princess Theatre



Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

Specific Shops


Edmonton's Old Strathcona-University area is home to great dining. It has all kinds of options to satisfy your cravings. The best selection is in Old Strathcona -- you can choose from delicious pasta, tea and coffee, Indian food, Tex Mex, and much more. The area around the University has mostly chains such as Earl's, but there are still some gem dining spots to be found.

Coffee, smoothies, and treats





The Whyte Avenue area is the city's most concentrated "party zone" and no doubt has a wide range!



Mid range



Internet and computer access

Stay Safe

If you decide to park in the area, make sure vehicle doors are locked and valuables are out of sight, as you would in central areas of any large city, to minimize the chance of break-ins. If you are worried, there are several businesses and hotels that offer private parking (however it can be costly).

At night, particularly on the weekends, Whyte Avenue gets very busy with people looking to party. Drunken rowdiness can sometimes lead to violence, especially in the early morning hours after last call (2AM). If you aren't looking for a fight, you should be safe from this sort of shenanigans. The police maintain a strong presence on weekends to keep the peace.

Old Strathcona sees a moderate level of panhandling in the warmer months.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.