Beautiful Grandin Park, located between Sir Winston Churchill Avenue and St. Albert Trail, is one of St. Albert’s older neighbourhoods. Snug with family homes and lush green spaces, Grandin is named for Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin and owes its development to the decade of St. Albert’s centennial. Follow along as we explore its history.
The St. Albert Drive-In Theatre opens in 1955, just south of Grandin Pond.
In 1956, St. Albert becomes part of the “New Town” provincial program in which council approves a three-year plan to build 700 homes in the neighbourhoods of Braeside, Grandin Park, Mission Park and Sturgeon Heights.
A street-naming system is introduced in 1956, where street names begin with the first letter of their neighbourhood.
The United Church on St. Albert Trail is built in 1957, and Lois Hole becomes their first organist and choir director.
The neighbourhood of Grandin is officially established in 1959.
In 1961, a town hall is erected on Grandin Road in celebration of St. Albert’s 100th birthday.
Construction began in 1961 for Grandin Shoppers Park, which started out as an open-air strip mall with Safeway on one end and a bowling alley on the other. The mall was eventually enclosed, and a new Safeway was added onto the west end.
1961 was also the year the new Grandin Park School opened. It later became Sir George Simpson Junior High after the Gazette newspaper held a “Name the School” contest.
In 1965, Sir George Simpson Elementary School opens. The name is changed to Robert Rundle in 1970.
St. Louis Street is renamed Sir Winston Churchill Avenue in 1965, after Great Britain’s prime minister and war hero.
1965 is also the year the Klondike Inn drive-in restaurant opened on the northwest corner of Gervais and St. Albert Trail. Readers of Vintage St. Albert on Facebook fondly remember the mushroom burgers and corn fritters!
When Grosvenor Park Pool was built in 1967, it became the summer hangout spot for all the kids in town.
In 1967, the Centennial Library was built onto the town hall, which became its first permanent home.
Wild Rose Elementary School opens on Grenfell Avenue in 1978.
Also in 1978, community volunteers construct the Grandin tire playground at Albert Lacombe School.
Village Tree Mall comes on the scene, along with St. Albert Cinemas, our first movie theatre.
An office tower and parkade are added onto Grandin Park Plaza, as the mall is now called.
Both City Hall and the St. Albert Public Library move from Grandin into the newly completed St. Albert Place.
We lose the bowling alley but gain another movie theatre when the Grandin Safeway becomes Grandin Theatres.
St. Albert Cinemas close when Village Tree Mall is revamped to become Village Landing.
Most of the remaining tenants move out of Grandin Park Plaza in 2014, and part of it is demolished for the planned redevelopment, which includes three high-rise residential towers with retail space below.
To take a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Grandin in a great example of that. From its residential streets to its soon-to-be residential tower, Grandin continues to be shaped by its history and still resembles the neighbourhood of its youth. t8n
Did You Know? The Edmonton Interurban Railway constructed a track right through Grandin in 1913 for its regular route to downtown St. Albert. The town was quite popular with Edmontonians who enjoyed recreational activities on the Sturgeon River.
Did You Know? Grandin resident Don Clark spent four years in the 1970s constructing a concrete boat on the driveway of his home across from the swimming pool. The 46-foot ship, Sea Boots 2nd, was nicknamed “Clark’s Ark” by the neighborhood kids. It was eventually towed out to open water to fulfill its destiny.
Sir Winston Churchill Ave and Grandin Road, 1968. Musée Héritage Museum, Liesbeth Bakker fonds, #1994.19.05
Old City Hall, 1979. Musée Héritage Museum, City of St. Albert fonds, #1986.24.114