Twelve years ago, then-Holyrood resident Ann Lukey wanted a larger house for her growing family. She found the ideal digs in Ottewell, but didn’t bargain on inheriting an extended family in the form of a tight-knit community.
“The sense of community and how everybody looks out for each other in Ottewell is astonishing,” says Lukey, who now teaches exercise classes in the neighbourhood’s community hall. “Everyone seems to come together and lend a hand when people need it. It’s a really fabulous place to be.”
No doubt the Ottewell family, after whom the neighbourhood is named, found the locale to be fabulous as well. Recognized as among the first settlers to set up roots just south of the North Saskatchewan River back in 1881, the farming household eventually branched out into coal mining and flour production, helping set the foundation for the local economy to grow.
That growth has resulted in Ottewell becoming one of the city’s largest neighbourhoods, dominated by single detached homes, many of which were built in the 1960s. Roughly 6,000 people live in the southeast Edmonton area, bordered east and west by 50th Street and 75th Street, and north and south by 98th Avenue and 90th Avenue.
Aside from the friendliness and tranquility of the mature neighbourhood, which vaguely resembles the outdoor set of Leave It To Beaver, Ottewell is almost self-contained. A slew of parks, six religious assemblies and seven schools exist in the area, with shopping and additional services from banks to medical clinics available at Capilano Mall and a strip mall on 90th Avenue.
When her family has to go elsewhere in the city, Lukey says access isn’t a problem. Her travel time to West Edmonton Mall is roughly 20 minutes, while her husband has clocked his commute from home to his job in Telus House at under 15 minutes. Still, Lukey cherishes every moment in her favourite neighbourhood and can’t imagine moving anywhere else.
“I will never leave Ottewell,” she says. “I will live here until my final days, I’m sure!”
WHAT TO DO
Ottewell Community League
Lukey can’t say enough about the hall, which recently renovated the nearby playground and added a splash park. The facility is regularly booked for hockey, soccer, exercise classes, family functions, preschool activities and seniors’ tea gatherings. “There’s almost always something going on.”
The neighbourhood’s resource centre features an array of books, e-books, movies and music to rouse the curiosity of any visitor to the premises. It also has a meeting room, children’s activities and Wi-Fi.