It's not always about the trails, it's about the niche greens to spice up a walk-along on Whyte Ave
By Sophia Yang | July 7, 2022
I don’t enjoy taking walks by the river valley on a regular basis. When the sky shines blue, I might walk up Saskatchewan Drive and snap a photo of the Walterdale Bridge at the Queen Elizabeth Hill, show off the picture-perfect downtown portrait on Instagram, and call it a day. The hill, the stairs and the mosquitoes are not my favourite things, so I’d rather walk along Whyte Avenue to see a street full of summer patios.
The smaller parks in the neighbourhood, on the other hand, are hidden gems. They have rather tight spaces, usually on a flat field, and I feel safe deafening my ears with loud music, without having to mind the passing bikes.
Here are five small parks in Strathcona you can see on one walk, like I did.
10139 87 Ave. NW
Strathcona Park is the largest one on this list, encompassing the Strathcona Community League and with an elementary school right next to it. If you walk from the east side of 87th Avenue, the first thing you see is a cool colourful splash pad, then a large parking lot where kids practice skateboarding. Up on the fields, there’s a wide soccer field, a kids playground full of sand, a basketball court and plenty of empty space for community or family activities.
What to love The splash pad and two playgrounds with swing sets
Things to consider Not enough trees for shades under the bright summer sunlight
Recommended Song “She’s My Collar” by Gorillaz
End of Steel Park
Gateway Blvd NW, Saskatchewan Drive NW
This is a dog park right next to Strathcona Park, so it’s great for dog frolics and frisbees. On the side close to Saskatchewan Drive, it has some good sitting areas with shade. You can also see the Canadian Pacific Rail caboose next to Saskatchewan Drive, marking where the railway line into the city ended back in the 19th century. Thus, the End of Steel.
What to love The caboose
Things to consider The bizarre location, right off Gateway Boulevard
One block away from the End of Steel Park, there’s the rectangular-sized memorial park framed by tall trees. You’d be more likely to walk through the Light Horse Park rather than sit down there for a rest, considering it only has one bench. The Anne Frank statue is surrounded by flowers, facing the valour stele of Strathcona Branch 150.
What to love The brick roads
Things to consider If you need a chair, bring your own
Recommended Song “As It Was” by Harry Styles
E.L. Hill Park
10518 86 Ave. NW
Although you can find the huge park sign right in front of it, E.L. Hill Park looks less like a park and more like a railway station surrounded by greenery. The park is right by the Edmonton and Calgary Railway Station Museum. It’s not a typical square-shaped green, but you can take cool edgy photos of people walking on the railway tracks. Mind the streetcars in summer.
What to love The tall trees and poles along the railway tracks remind me of tranquil Japanese villages (often seen in anime and films)
Things to consider The railway tracks take most of the space
Recommended Song “Time (You and I)” by Khruangbin
Dr. Wilbert Mcintyre Park
8331 104 St. NW
Our last stop is only one block away from Whyte Avenue. The Dr. Wilbert Mcintyre Park is next to the EPL Strathcona branch and the Walterdale Theatre. There are multiple picnic tables, a green field and brick sidewalks where you can find food trucks in summer. And if you visit the park at night, the beautiful pavilion lights up like a starry palace.
What to love It’s short distance from Whyte Avenue and Fringe Theatre