Marg Bowler Remembers the Early Development of Our Community
History and Pioneer Profiles related to the 50th Year Celebration
Garbage Fair History
North Glenora Timeline
|Pre 1952||Dirt trails led amongst the trees to the few houses that had been built.|
|1952-1953||North Glenora community mushrooms. Streets are graveled and sidewalks poured.|
|Fall 1953||Coronation School Opens|
|November 1953||First North Glenora Community League General Meeting. First executive elected:
|Winter 1953||First Rink Shack , rink fence, rink flooding|
|Mid-50s||First Community Hall moved in from Namao|
|Mid-50s||First Playschool organized – meeting in the Rink Shack then later basement of Zion Baptist Church.|
|1955||Community League Women’s Auxiliary was formed by Audrey Burwash|
|1956||First Brownie Pack organized by May Halhead|
|1956||First Community hall extension – kitchen, washrooms, cloak room added|
|November 1957||First Guide Company organized|
|1960||New Rink Shack|
|1968||Community Hall Eastside Extension|
|Early 70’s||NGCL association with West End Bingo Association begins|
|Mid 1970||Rink Shack addition|
|1979||Rink Shack gets a new roof|
|January 17, 1981||New Community Hall opens|
History of North Glenora Community League
FIFTY GOLDEN YEARS
Updated September 2003
The North Glenora Community is relatively small in size but has always been a very vibrant community. Hard-working people with a vision for the future have kept the standards high and have provided leadership to make this a very desirable area in which to live.
The area began to be developed in 1952 and 1953 when there were only three homes already built: the Shaw, Cameron, and Tomko homes. Early residents have memories of mud caused by heavy rains and even flooding in the 107 Avenue area. Gravel roads and paved sidewalks were constructed over the next few years. Limited bus service between 124 Street and 139 Street began in July of 1953; the same year letter and parcel boxes were introduced.
Signs of progress were seen in 1955 when Westmount Shopping Centre, anchored by Woodwards, opened August 15th and Groat Road opened on the 19th of November.
It was evident from the beginning that, with so many young families in the area, some recreational facility was needed. Meetings were held in Coronation School in 1953 and an executive was elected to begin the establishment of the North Glenora Community League. First President was Marcel Lambert. Other members of the executive were: Gordon A. Keddie, Vice President, Jim McFall, Secretary, Frank Payne, Treasurer, George Giles, Buildings and Grounds, G.D. Butler, Recreation and R.I. Davis, Social.
The following year, November 1954, a new president, Jim McFall succeeded Marcel Lambert (who was later elected Member of Parliament for Edmonton West). Robert Campbell came on as secretary, Hal Villett as treasurer and Len Callow as membership, with George Giles and Dave Butler staying on in their positions.
A firm foundation had been made and as the community grew interest remained high in providing the best possible facility and leadership for the young people as well as recreation for all. This necessitated more positions on the executive to handle the demand. The number of positions on the executive has increased over the years until today there are 18 voting positions, with their committees, and several other non-voting positions.
COMMUNITY LEAGUE BUILDINGS
In 1953 two prefab garages were brought in to make change rooms for the skating and hockey rinks. Volunteers erected fences and flooded the areas. The small rink shack was replaced in the mid-1970s and continues in use to this day.
In the mid-1950s, it became evident that more space was needed for meetings and social activities. A wartime building was purchased for approximately $500.00 and hauled into the city from Namao. This building lacked some basic amenities so skilled volunteers added a kitchen, washrooms and a cloakroom. This building was further extended in 1968 and was well used until the 1980s when the new community hall was built.
It was with great jubilation that the new hall was officially opened on January 17, 1981. Present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were M.L.A. Les Young and representatives from the City and the Federation. This hall now deemed the “Cadillac” of community halls was upgraded and extended in 1993-94.
GRANTS AND FUNDING
Getting funds, especially in the early years, was not always easy. The annual membership drive in September helps defray the cost of running the buildings, but in recent years the greatest source has been the participation in Casinos and Bingos. These dollars have been supplemented with matching Grant money from the Provincial and Federal governments, the City of Edmonton and other granting agencies to pay for buildings, facilities, supplies and equipment. Over $320,000 in grant funding was recently raised to redevelop the playground and park area in celebration of the Millennium. In addition, residents contributed $15,000 and the Community League $90,000 to help make the project a successful collaboration.
GROUPS AND ACTIVITIES
The Baby Boom was evident in North Glenora in the 1950s and, with so many boys, hockey quickly became a major part of community life. Teams under dedicated coaches soon gained many trophies. Lacrosse, curling and softball were also enjoyed. Figure skating was important and many girls got their first lessons here on home ice under the leadership of Arlene Meldrum. In February each year there was a Winter Carnival with a Carnival Queen, figure skating, a concession and other winter events.
In 1953 a Women’s Auxiliary was formed under the leadership of Mrs. Coventry. This group organized many fund-raising and recreational activities. In 1956 the first Brownie Pack was started by May Halhead, followed the next year by a Guide company.
The Federation of Community Leagues and Parks and Recreation sponsored a variety of programs for children and adults, such as: crafts, gymnastics, dance, painting, macramé, quilting and millinery. Yoga has been added in recent years. The still very active 45 Plus Club was organized in January 1993.
From the early days when it was cranked out on the Gestetner to the present high tech computerized version, the Newsletter (best in the city) has been the lifeline of the community. It ensures that news and information is communicated to all residents throughout the neighbourhood.
The original playground consisted of swings, slides and a sandpile. Over the years this has been modified, added to and completely revamped until now it is a state-of-the-art facility. A committee, chaired by Dianne Dennis, planned the present playground that was opened on June 21, 1998, with Anne McClellan, Member of Parliament for Edmonton West in attendance.
Organized in the mid-1950s the first playschool group met in the rink shack, then moved to the basement of Zion Baptist Church before moving into the community hall. It has now become a well-established part of the community.
GARAGE SALES AND GARBAGE FAIRS
Under the guidance of Kay and Gene Wannamaker, Garage Sales have been held spring and fall for many years with great success.
Concern for the environment and the need to recycle was met in North Glenora with the first ever Garbage Fair to be held in Edmonton. This initiative put forth by Arlene Meldrum and Bill MacDonald and their committee spread rapidly to other centres. In 1995 North Glenora was runner-up in the community division to receive the Emerald Award from the Alberta Foundation for Environmental Excellence.
The residents of North Glenora have taken exception to certain plans for commercial enterprises in the vicinity. A Bingo Hall, a Casino, a Hotel, an Antique store and a Used Car market were all thought to be inappropriate for this area. The Community League opposed them and, with the backing of the Federation, they were turned down.
Leadership is always evident and North Glenora has been the only Edmonton community league to provide three Federation presidents: Arlene Meldrum, Barry Logan and Don Eastcott. The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) regularly honors volunteers from North Glenora.
TRANSPORTATION AND PLANNING
In 1994 a community planning survey was held with good response from the citizens. The purpose was to put the community in a proactive position to adjust to the rejuvenation occurring with young families once more moving into the community. A committee from North Glenora, chaired by Tim Brockelsby, with the City of Edmonton Planning and Development Department, prepared a document: The North Glenora Community Plan: A Vision of the Future, which was approved by City Council in August 1998. This Plan emphasizes that North Glenora is an attractive place to live because of its central location, its tree-lined streets and its affordable, well-constructed housing. Guiding principles are set out to build on tradition and thus ensure that North Glenora will continue to be a special place to live.
Without volunteers we would have nothing. All the events, happenings, services and facilities have come about through the initiative, energy and hard work of volunteers. There were some lean years in the 1970s when it was feared the Community League would have to fold, but strong-willed people persevered. Some have given more than others; their names keep coming up. The list is long. Fifty years of service deserves recognition. To those who have helped make North Glenora the strong, thriving community it is, we say,
“THANK YOU, WELL DONE!”
HISTORY OF NORTH GLENORA – 1997
The Community Leagues of Edmonton are unique. They are made up of groups of neighbours working together as volunteers for the betterment of the local neighbourhood. North Glenora Community League has its roots in the years between 1952 and 1955.
Initially dirt trails led amongst the trees to the few houses that had been built. Over a two year period the community mushroomed. Streets were gravelled and sidewalks poured.
With so many young families, there was a need for recreational facilities. And so a community league was established in 1953. Marcel Lambert was the first president of the North Glenora Community League, being elected at a general meeting held in Coronation School in November, 1953. Other members of the first executive were Gordon A. Keddie, Vice-President, J. R. McFall, Secretary; Frank Payne, Treasurer, George Giles, Buildings & Grounds, G. D. Butler, Recreation, and R. I. Davis, Social.
A group of volunteers erected our first “rink shack” in the fall of 1953. This was two prefab garages put together to form a reasonably decent change room. These volunteers also erected a rink fence and flooded the rink. That was the fall that Coronation school opened. There were children everywhere in those early days!
With so many boys in the area, hockey quickly became a major part of community life. North Glenora teams, under the guidance of many dedicated coaches soon gained a reputation for their skill. A decade later lacrosse also became a major sport in North Glenora. Many championships have been won by North Glenora hockey and lacrosse teams over the years. Later, ball and soccer became more popular and our young people are still doing well.
Figure skating, winter carnivals, and fireworks displays on Victoria Day were also part of the early scene. These, along with softball and summer playground programs made our community centre a beehive of activity all year round.
It soon became evident that a rink building was not sufficient for our needs, and in the mid fifties a wartime building was purchased and hauled in from Namao. The men of the community laid the foundation, placed the building, and prepared it for stucco. The interior also required work. This was our first community hall.
It was in the mid fifties that the first playschool was organized. They first met in the rink shack, then moved to the basement of Zion Baptist Church at the corner of 135 Street & 109A Avenue. This building is again a church, but has seen a variety of uses, including an antique shop and a dance studio. In 1955 a Community League Women’s Auxiliary was formed under the leadership of Audrey Burwash. This group was instrumental in organizing a great many recreational and fund raising activities.
May Halhead organized a Brownie Pack in 1956, and they met weekly in the hall. A Guide Company quickly followed, being formed in November,1957. Brownies and Guides continued to meet in the original hall until 1981, when they moved to our current Community Hall.
It was about 1956 when our first community hall was extended. An addition was built by volunteer labour which included a kitchen, washrooms, and cloak room. The space soon became too small for a growing community and in 1968 the hall was once more enlarged, this time along the east side.
In 1960 it became apparent that our small rink shack was no longer adequate. A drive was held to raise money for a larger structure. That building, with an addition to the south end in the mid 70’s and a new roof in 1979 continues to serve us to this date.
In the early 70’s our League became associated with the West End Bingo Association, and bingo has played a major part in our fund raising activities ever since.
On January 17,1981 we opened our new community hall. The old hall served us well, but the new hall embodies the community spirit of the past as well as our hopes for the future. We hope it will serve us well into the 21st century.
All of these happenings, all the services and facilities, have been provided over the years through the initiative and energy of our volunteer neighbours. Even grants received from various sources had to be applied for with applications taking a considerable amount of time and expertise. Without volunteers we would have nothing.
Volunteers are responsible for just about everything that has happened in North Glenora:
- building the first rink and rink shack
- rink shack additions
- building the original hall
- building the present hall and additions
- fund raising through bingos and casinos for
- rink operating expense
- hall operating expense
- activities enjoyed by all age groups over the years.
The hard work and perseverance of dedicated volunteers has given North Glenora one of the strongest Community Leagues in the City. May it ever be so!
M. Lilley, Archivist, January, 1997