As far as St. Albert neighbourhoods go, Erin Ridge isn’t particularly old.
Just shy of 40 years, it has only been around for a small fraction of the
city’s 158-year history. But while many neighbourhoods settle into
a tranquil routine following their decade or two of development, the hustle and bustle continues, especially in Erin Ridge North. So count on many more stories for this neighbourhood to tell as time goes on.
The lands of Erin Ridge were first annexed by the City of St. Albert in 1980, as part of a new phase of residential development. The timing was ideal, since the boom during the 1960s that escalated in response to housing demands had finally subsided. This time, city planners could exercise a lot more patience with Erin Ridge, and experiment with new styles of neighbourhoods.
One of those styles was the expansion of green spaces in Erin Ridge, and the creation of a sprawling set of parks, interconnected by walking paths. So elaborate are these trails, Erin Ridge residents can walk from one end of the neighbourhood to the other without ever having to come in contact with a city street.
One of those parks in that sprawl, Eldorado Park, was set aside for a school site once families with enough school-aged children moved into the area. Most neighbourhoods in St. Albert received a school not long after they were built, but Eldorado Park remained empty long after the residential construction was complete.
In 1992, Sturgeon Hospital opened its doors, replacing the old hospital site that had sat along McKenny Avenue since 1970. While the original hospital had a big problem securing space for growth and expansion, this new site was planned to allow the hospital to grow along with the city’s ever-increasing population.
Every December, the residents of Elliot Place, a residential street in Erin Ridge, get together to set up an elaborate display of Christmas lights that stays up throughout the holiday season. In addition to bringing a little cheer to the dark winter days, the residents also encourage visitors to bring food items to donate to the local food bank.
By the time the new millennium had rolled around, Erin Ridge had begun to settle into its role of a quiet neighbourhood on the edge of the city. The vacant housing lots were almost completely filled, though Eldorado Park still sat empty. In 2005, Citadel Care Centre opened its doors next to Sturgeon Hospital, offering extended care within close reach of medical services.
In 2007, St. Albert expanded once again, annexing parts of Sturgeon County immediately to the north. This opened more room for residential and commercial development, and planning for Erin Ridge North began. From a zoning perspective, Erin Ridge North is a distinct subdivision from Erin Ridge,with more of a commercial focus than its southern counterpart.
St. Albert’s Costco opened in 2013, starting off the commercial development of Erin Ridge North. It was followed by a variety of box stores and restaurants that serve both the residents of St. Albert and the greater Sturgeon County region.
In 2016, Erin Ridge finally got its first school, École Alexandre Taché, which currently serves a much larger purpose than its original intent. Rather that teaching children in the immediate neighbourhood, it now belongs to the Greater North Central Francophone division, one of four Francophone school districts in Alberta.
Erin Ridge North got its own school a year later, named after Alberta’s 15th Lieutenant-Governor. Lois E. Hole school was the first new school to open in the St. Albert Public School Division in 25 years. t8n
École Alexandre Taché is named after Alexandre-Antonin Taché, the archbishop of St. Boniface, Manitoba from 1853 to 1894. He was a friend and travelling companion of Father Albert Lacombe, St. Albert’s founder. According to some, it was Taché who came up with the name St. Albert, as a way to honour Lacombe’s patron saint.