The early development of Calder was linked to the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the development of the Hudson’s Bay Company Reserve. The HBC, hoping to benefit from rising realty prices in pre-World War I Edmonton, delayed the sale and development of approximately 1,600 acres of the Reserve.
Extending from 107th Avenue north to 122nd Avenue, and from 101st Street west to 121st Street, this block of empty land prohibited the normal growth of the city. Development began to “leapfrog” over the Reserve as a number of small subdivisions opened near its boundary and just outside city limits.
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway arrived in Edmonton in 1909. After having made the rail connection with Edmonton, the Grand Trunk located its shunting yards well clear of the Reserve near 127th Avenue. In July 1910, the Village of West Edmonton, or Calder, was established. Many employees of the Grand Trunk settled in Calder, and the village became known as a railroad colony. In 1913, Edmonton annexed the land immediately east of Calder, and in 1917, Calder itself was annexed by the City.
The current neighbourhood of Calder is composed of the Elm Park subdivision (east of 120th Street) and a portion of the Village of Calder (west of 120th street). Shortly after Calder joined Edmonton, a streetcar line was extended to the area via 124th Street, but this did not help the area grow substantially during the inter-war years.
Between 1945 and 1956, Edmonton’s population doubled, and the development of neighbourhoods like Calder continued. Calder’s extended period of development is reflected in the age of its structures. Some of Calder’s pre-1950s structures date back to the subdivisions of 1905, 1909, and 1910. Many more structures were built after World War II, and some of these structures replaced those constructed before the war.
Generally, newer structures are located in the northern portion of the neighbourhood, and older structures are located nearer the Calder Railway Yards, but infill development has been occurring slowly throughout the neighbourhood over recent decades.
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