Riverdale is one of Edmonton's most historic and beautiful communities. Because of the level land and easy river access, it became the... more » home of sawmills, brick works and coal mines in the 19th century. Businessmen such as J.B. Little and D.R. Fraser dominated the area. From those roots a community grew which was both proud and closely knit. Together, the community faced hardship from landslides, sinkholes and multiple floods. Additionally, after the 1915 floods, the City determined that the area was not suited to residential housing and should be made into a large parkland area. This started a fight between residents and the City that would not be resolved until 1977, when Edmonton City Council passed the "Riverdale Community Plan."
RiverDale Park today, is much the same as it was envisioned in 1937. It was planned and supported by the Riverdale Community League who also hosted and led many of the community driven inititives in this area. The original Community Hall flooded in 1979 and stands where the current parking lot is today. The new hall opened in 1982.
Starting off from the parking lot, you will walk through the kids playground in the park and over to the the paved trail system. You are immediately treated to a nice view of the North Saskatchewan River. Carrying on, you pass many of the older homes and many newer homes in this area. The trail itself, changes from a roadside trail to a riverside trail at points, but it is all very level and relaxing walk. There are places to fish along the riverbank and high water marks showing just how high the water rose during many of flood years. You can also climb the stairs and look at the river from the Dawson Bridge if you want to take a picture.
Coming back along the riverside, watch out for dog walkers and bike riders. In addition, be very aware of the riverbank as it has been washed out in some areas and is closed in others. There are signs up, but they are easy to miss depending on which direction you are coming from on the trails.
You come back on the same trail you started, but on your return, you pass by the ice rink and the present day Riverdale Community Hall. less «