A love letter to Riverdale

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As some friends of the Unknown Studio will know, I recently moved out of my east-central Edmonton home of four years, and have taken up residence in the south Oliver neighbourhood — which many lovingly refer to as “Sir Lawrence” or “Olivier,” the classy side of Oliver. I moved in with my long-time girlfriend Rachel, and am happy to be living with her, and my now-very-happy-and-relaxed cat Moonie. We have a great view of the University from our perch downtown, and we’re close to everything — seriously, EVERYTHING — we might want to access by foot or bike.

But this involved moving from a place I called home for just over four years. A place that saw me through a panoply of different crises, successes and changes. A place I would call one of the most beautiful in the City of Edmonton, a gem for its natural beauty, and the large, warm hearts of its residents.

A place called Riverdale.

Some readers among you might remember the series of posts I did while the Dawson Bridge was closed. At least one of you will recall the made-up history I provided of the bridge, which also featured some fraudulent tidbits about the RD. But I was just trying to get a few cheap laughs.

The neighbourhood’s been home to many things, including a lumberyard and a brickyard. According to its Wikipedia entry, about 25% of the homes down in the RD were built pre-1946. A quick drive or walk through the neighbourhood shows significant dwelling disparities: a row of McMansions bordering the north shore of the river along Cameron avenue, a newer condo complex (the new brickyard) north of that, and brand new townhomes and smaller dwellings even more north of that.

The rest of the place is a mish-mash of fourplexes, co-ops, and single-family homes.

But structures are less relevant than the people who make up the community: passionate, wonderful and caring Edmontonians who work to maintain the character of the RD and make it a neighbourhood that accepts people from all walks of life. That’s the Riverdale I know, even though I wasn’t involved with the community league or different events that took place in the neighbourhood.

No, I knew all this from walking or biking around the community. People always waved, said hi, and smiled at you. We all were Riverdalians and sharing that sense of community brought us all closer together. I’ll miss the people of Riverdale; I’ll miss the stillness of the air on warm summer and cold winter mornings. I’ll miss the quiet coupled with the sense of energy that the community has from being so close to downtown.

I’ll miss you, Riverdale.

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4 Responses to “A love letter to Riverdale”

  1. Mark
    July 6, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Thanks for a great write-up Adam. As someone who’s moved to Riverdale over the past year I know exactly what you’re talking about and couldn’t agree more with you about how special it is.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      July 6, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      Oh man, I didn’t know you were there!

      I’ll really miss it — but I plan to come back for the occasional Ceilidh or community league pub night… or, you know, just on bike rides.

  2. Brendan
    July 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    I have similar feelings towards my old neighbourhood. My wife and I just recently moved to Laurier Heights from McKernan. While we’re loving our new house and the area, we had been living in that University area in the same house for over 6 years, and there will always be a little part of me that longs for living half a block from an LRT station.

  3. Sean Ouimet
    July 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I’ve lived in Riverdale for almost two years and couldn’t agree more with the great “small town” vibe you get from walking down the streets here. Half of the time people (read: myself) walk down the middle of the streets, random neighbours talk and say hello, and everyone (read: not me) seem to own dogs that they walk constantly.

    Your Riverdale presence will be missed (though we never did have a neighbourly BBQ…)

    Thanks for the writeup on the community.