The year was 2003 when the Canada Lands Company – which operates at arm’s length from the federal government and develops land the government no longer needs – bought Griesbach, a former military base with a long history in north Edmonton. Director for real estate Marvin Neumann takes pride in what’s been created since. “It’s all about being pedestrian-friendly, with traffic calming and different architecture. It’s about getting people out of their cars and enjoying the community.” Home designs reflect “old Edmonton” designs with Craftsman, Victorian, Prairie and Tudor styles. New houses range from condos in the mid-$200,000s to million-dollar homes. The diversity is especially attractive to young families whose children can attend the new K-9 Major General Griesbach School, which opened in 2012.
Commercial development has been slow to come to Griesbach, so you have to leave the neighbourhood to get a bite or get groceries. But there are many dining options nearby.
The TV’s always tuned to soccer at this bustling licensed cafe just across 97th Street. Selections include great coffee, paninis, soup, salads, pastries and gelato.
Griesbach is a boon for military history enthusiasts, with many streets named after war battles and heroes. A memorial plaza overlooking man-made Patricia Lake, unveiled in August, honours the 100th anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, with roll of honour plaques bearing the names of the roughly 2,000 PPCLI soldiers who have fallen in combat since 1914. Elsewhere, a propeller cairn commemorates the air force, while a mock ship – popular with children – pays tribute to naval history.
The Lookout: Summiting the 24-acre Central Hill Park pays off with a panoramic view of Edmonton’s skyline from Refinery Row in the east to the River Cree Resort and Casino in the west. A 92-step staircase popular with joggers as well as a toboggan run, stone amphitheatre, rock play area and community garden make the park a destination for Griesbach residents.
Multi-way: Paved paths crosscut the neighbourhood and run along the community’s three completed lakes: Patricia Lake, Bedford Basin and Roundel Lake.
Flanders Field Park: This year marks the 100th
anniversary of John McCrae’s iconic poem, “In Flanders Fields,” and a new park in the northwest section of Griesbach is being designed in its honour.
A Marriott Hotel is slated to be built in Griesbach’s southeast corner.
Stay for good
Vestiges of the old base – like homes that are currently being rented as 530 affordable housing units – remain in the northeast section. But not for long: Over the next few years, they’ll make way for new homes.