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  #1  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 12:52 AM
urbanroo urbanroo is offline
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Urban living in Edmonton

I’ve read through threads in this forum for the last 10 years, but this is my first post. This is my situation and I’d be grateful for any feedback: I grew up in southwest Edmonton, but school and work took me, after high school, to San Francisco, London, Paris and elsewhere. I now have a young family and live on the near north side of Chicago amid a dense band of century-old highrises and rowhouses nestled along the Lake Michigan shoreline. I sold my car and can’t remember the last time I missed it. I love being able to walk to grocery stores, restaurants and shops, as do the many other young families in my neighborhood. As fate would have it, life is now taking me back to Edmonton for a few years and I’m preparing to move this summer. I have a complicated relationship with the town I grew up in, though I always defend it and sing its virtues to outsiders. That said, the move comes with some trepidation.

My question for you is: what is the vibe like in Oliver, Grandin and downtown? Do people actually live in these areas? Is there life after the offices close at 5pm? Will you see people (singles, couples, families?) strolling the streets at 7pm picking up groceries or getting a bite to eat? My brother (who lives in Edmonton but not downtown) says everyone drives there for work and leaves at 5pm. Is this true? He’s says I’m insane to try to recreate my urban life in Edmonton.

I should add that I’m working with a real estate agent from afar and am having a lot of trouble finding a place to live in these areas. Many buildings seem a bit run down and full of young 20-something partiers. Other promising condos have come up, especially in the Grandin area (my parents, who still live in Edmonton, have checked them out for me). But we keep running into a problem: age restrictive covenants that forbid children from living in these buildings. I’m a little surprised at how difficult my home search is proving and how family unfriendly these areas seem to be. Are there families who live in these areas? Are there buildings that accept families (my real estate agent is working hard but is having trouble getting clear answers from listing agents on this issue). Should I keep my dream alive, or should I give up, buy a car, and move to the suburbs?
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  #2  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 2:20 AM
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Very much possible. Between Oliver, grandin and downtown, there are about 35,000 people. There are families, a hundred or two kids last census. Still a ways to go, but growing well with many new buildings, jobs, amenities and food options opening. The Legislature grounds are amazing as a backyard, McKay avenue park is home to many dog owner after work, kids too. Grandin is a wonderful urban community, school, park, playground.

I own a car, enthusiast, but don't need it 95% of he time. All amenities and needs are met within a walking distance hold a hardware store. I bus, lrt or cab if I want to go a bit further afar.

As for condos, lots of options but yes, many unfortunately have restrictions. My condo, the Omega, has no such restrictions and so we have had multiple families here. They can be found, don't lose hope.

Both Oliver and downtown have strong community leagues, event, support services, pool, rink, soccer even.

Edmonton has always had urban living, but it is getting better by the day.

Feel free to pm me.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 2:34 AM
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I maintain an "urban" lifestyle outside of downtown. I don't own a car, I walk to the grocery store and restaurants. I live in Hazeldean so there are some things that I need to bus to, especially the bank but apart from that, yeah.
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 3:05 AM
urbanroo urbanroo is offline
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Thanks for the encouraging responses. There is, in fact, a unit for sale in the Omega right now! Any idea if the building allows pets? That's the other issue we're facing, as we have a small dog.

I wonder what all these restrictions on children are about. We certainly have nothing like that here in Chicago, or really anywhere else that I've lived. It seems like a good way to keep all but the very young and the elderly away from downtown--cutting out many of the very people (if I may so flatter myself) that the city needs to grow and be vibrant. Thanks again for the responses so far!
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  #5  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 3:10 AM
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Pets are indeed allowed and I know the unit you are talking about, good size, good owner.

Many seniors live downtown, but child restrictions are indeed unfortunate.
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 4:46 AM
Hardhatdan Hardhatdan is online now
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Can you do it? Yes.
Is it as easy as the cities you have and do live In? No.

That said, please do. It's more of a pioneer type of thing, you are part of the first wave transforming the city instead of just joining an established crowd,
I'm envious of the people who are a part of it, I live just across the river and these "pioneers"are making the city better for everyone...they are accomplishing something through their choice and I hope it is very rewarding.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 11:41 AM
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I live downtown and am carless. No problem. Edmonton is no Chicago, but it works for me.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 4:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardhatdan View Post
Can you do it? Yes.
Is it as easy as the cities you have and do live In? No.

That said, please do. It's more of a pioneer type of thing, you are part of the first wave transforming the city instead of just joining an established crowd,
I'm envious of the people who are a part of it, I live just across the river and these "pioneers"are making the city better for everyone...they are accomplishing something through their choice and I hope it is very rewarding.
To some extent it is easier: very accessible, relatively inexpensive to other major cities, not incredibly busy or congested and reasonably clean and safe.

We are past pioneering and well into puberty. Maturation continues and we are seeing that in a variety of ways, more to come.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 4:45 PM
urbanroo urbanroo is offline
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True that Edmonton does not have some of the issues Chicago has with crime, gangs, poverty, segregation etc. What I guess Edmonton needs is more infrastructure, more style, and more people in the core, but from what I can tell it does seem to be coming along.

For those who live in buildings in Oliver or downtown, how many of your neighbors have cars? Is it rare not to own a car living in the downtown core? Do building parkades have a spot for everyone, and are all the spots filled?

Also, do you ever (or often) see baby strollers or young families walking around the streets of Oliver? And can anyone recommend other child and pet friendly condos in the Grandin area? This seems like a sweet spot for us: nice leafy streets, dense population, very close to Save On Foods, Jasper Ave, and the LRT.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 5:02 PM
Hardhatdan Hardhatdan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldrsx View Post
To some extent it is easier: very accessible, relatively inexpensive to other major cities, not incredibly busy or congested and reasonably clean and safe.

We are past pioneering and well into puberty. Maturation continues and we are seeing that in a variety of ways, more to come.
It might be monetarily easier to buy in, but not mentally. There is still no where near the vibe or draw that truly mature urban neighborhoods bring. People Tavern and move axis the works to be a part of them.
If you don't think you are a pioneer, look at your peer group and where most of them live...

The really good thing is, you are working hard to change and build it and it is coming.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 5:19 PM
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Wife and I both live downtown.

handful of kids in our building (icon2) ranging from newborn to 9ish.

We're planning on raising a family in our building until 5yo or so.

I think Cold's right on the puberty thing. We certainly felt like pioneers living downtown for the first couple of years, but hasn't felt that way for a while. Sometime over the last 2 years conversation with other people has changed from a curiosity as to why we decided to live downtown to intrigue.
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  #12  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 5:23 PM
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The "pioneers" are the folks like my S.O. Who moved to the downtown in the early 90's. Back then, the Leg was the hooker stroll, all the bars were " no knives" bars and the only people who lived centrally were there because they couldn't afford to live elsewhere

Just like the folks moving into Alberta Ave now, people choosing to live in the downtown area are riding the wave of all the work over the past 10 years
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  #13  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 5:48 PM
Mikemike Mikemike is offline
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Urban, low-car living isn't really fringe anymore. No-car living, with kids, is extremely uncommon for those who can afford one. Kids sports are rarely located conveniently for bike or transit transportation, for example. I assume that after a long absence you will be seeing your parents and any in-town siblings regularly, but if the're in the farther suburbs and you plan to visit regularly with your family you might find it a challenge. Our public transportation system is not set up for family trips to the burbs on the weekend.

For day-to-day life, there are neighbourhoods that will work fine for car-less living. My wife and I lived in Grandin right up until we started a family, and i can't think of anything that you really need for kids that wasn't available there. Kinsmen sports centre is right across the river, Commonwealth Rec Centre is on LRT, the schools are good. Groceries are accessible, there aren't a lot of options but the local save-on has decent prices and a good mix of everything from gourmet to kid-friendly budget options.
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  #14  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 6:28 PM
Hardhatdan Hardhatdan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 240glt View Post
The "pioneers" are the folks like my S.O. Who moved to the downtown in the early 90's. Back then, the Leg was the hooker stroll, all the bars were " no knives" bars and the only people who lived centrally were there because they couldn't afford to live elsewhere

Just like the folks moving into Alberta Ave now, people choosing to live in the downtown area are riding the wave of all the work over the past 10 years
The 90's were twenty years ago.
You have a negative connotation to people moving in now, they aren't rising a wave, they are continuing the change and investing in the community to mature it to a destination and real neighborhood.
If imagine your SO would be disappointed if all the work done went to waste and the downtown stagnated.
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 6:41 PM
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^ I'm saying that people moving in now are hardly pioneers. That's not negative, that's a fact

Things will always change and evolve, in every neighbourhood and every city. That's not exclusive to the downtown area.
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  #16  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 7:20 PM
Hardhatdan Hardhatdan is online now
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^ I'm saying that people moving in now are hardly pioneers. That's not negative, that's a fact

Things will always change and evolve, in every neighbourhood and every city. That's not exclusive to the downtown area.
Not a "fact", there is no empirical evidence, you just have a different perspective on it, leading you to a different opinion.
When I look at moving into downtown Edmonton, I am looking at it VS. Moving into a fully mature urban environment... To me the friends I have are pioneers, they moved into an area where amenities and population levels are sparse, there is really one Street in the entire core that has any life during the day as well as after hours. For an urban lifestyle... Yea they are the ones helping it to continue to turn the corner and it isn't there yet.
If you want to move to a city and in twenty years look back and can actually say your presence had an impact on shaping it... You can actually still do that in Edmonton and the greatest opportunity to do that, in my opinion, is in our downtown.
My opinion and my perspective of why I hold that.
Check that... Quarters, but you aren't even a pioneer there, you are maybe one or two boats after Columbus.
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 7:30 PM
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^ a lot of the true "pioneers" of downtown would strongly disagree with your point of view

As I stated, all neighbourhoods evolve. Some start from pretty sketchy beginnings. 2015 downtown is not 1995 downtown. The people moving there now are doing so for a variety of reasons, but I absolutely in no way consider them "pioneers"

I already made my presence known in this city working on the Alberta Avenue initiatives and on the Parkdale Community League. So yes you can affect change in any neighbourhood, nor just the downtown
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 8:06 PM
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Or to use a phrase introduced to me by some real estate gents in Calgary, "the pioneers get the arrows and the settlers get the land".
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  #19  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 8:48 PM
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Weren't the pioneers of urban living from around the 1960s when the highrises and midrises were all being built in Oliver and the buildings became occupied? Come on guys, let's not play this ridiculous game here.
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 9:09 PM
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Exactly... and how about people who lived in Apartments in the early 1900s.

1995 was the beginning of the turning point.
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