Northern neighbourhood boasts plethora of possibilities
by Glenn Cook
photography by Mitch Coulter
Finding that small-town feeling can be hard to do in a big city like Edmonton. But, in Castle Downs, a close-knit community isn’t a thing of the past just yet.
Even though development has been underway in the area for almost four decades, neighbours still know and greet one another, says Lynnette Thompson, president of the Castle Downs Recreation Society: “If you go to any of the grocery stores, you’ll most likely meet somebody there that you know or your kids know or you met at the soccer field.”
The CDRS draws members from six community leagues – Baturyn, Carlisle, Dunluce, Lorelei-Beaumaris, Cumberland-Oxford and Caernarvon – to offer recreation services and programs that are more substantial than the leagues could offer on their own. It has been instrumental in building everything from hockey rinks to skateboard parks.
Thompson and her husband moved into Castle Downs 36 years ago and raised their kids there. A few years ago, they decided to move to a new home, but wanted to stay in the area.
“Our kids went to school here, we have friends here and our kids have friends here,” she says. “And I was involved in the community by then, and I didn’t want to leave all that.”
But there are new families moving in all the time, attracted by Castle Downs’ amenities and its reputation as a safe, clean neighbourhood.
There are bigger changes coming, though, as the Metro LRT Line is slated to pass through in the future – something that excites Thompson. “It’d be so much easier to go to the Jubilee [Auditorium] if you have tickets, or to the University [of Alberta] or NAIT or MacEwan,” she says.
WHAT TO DO
CASTLE DOWNS FAMILY YMCA
Possibly the biggest jewel in Castle Downs’ crown, the Castle Downs Family YMCA houses a swimming pool, a gym and a child-care facility. Close by are the Castle Downs Skatepark and water spray park, both of which attract users from across the city.
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, try spending an afternoon at Beaumaris Lake, just east of the YMCA across Castle Downs Road. The stormwater lake is surrounded by paved trails, making it ideal for biking, rollerblading or running. “People drive up here to go for a walk around the lake,” Thompson says.
153 Avenue and Castle Downs Road
WHERE TO EAT
CROWN & ANCHOR PUB
The Crown and Anchor Pub has literally been an anchor for the Castle Downs community over the years, Thompson says, providing a welcoming place for friends to get together over drinks and good food. It has changed hands a few times, she adds, but the doors have remained open for customers new and old.
15277 Castle Downs Rd.,780-472-7696, website n/a
CHICAGO JOE’S PIZZA & PUB
This family-run restaurant first opened its doors in 1995 and has been supplying pizza to folks in Castle Downs ever since. With authentic Italian recipes handed down over generations, staff at Chicago Joe’s work hard to make menu items with fresh ingredients.