More than 50 years ago, Beverly joined the City of Edmonton but, somehow, coming to the neighbourhood still feels like arriving in another town. Maybe it’s the rustic “Welcome” sign that arches over 118th Avenue as you head east into the area, or the one reading “Old Towne Beverly” when you reach 40th Street. Maybe it’s the relative quiet and slower driving that comes with leaving Edmonton’s more bustling areas.
Crystal Vercholuk, acting president of the Beacon Heights Community League, knows the feeling. She has lived in Beverly all her life, as did her parents. For her, “It’s home.”
“What is it about this neighbourhood that’s different?” she says she has wondered at times. “I think it’s the space. We have places to park our cars, we have space in our yards. We have long front yards, we have boulevards.”
It’s also the neighbourhood’s rich heritage, which stretches back more than 100 years to the founding of the coal-mining town of Beverly, and a sense of continuity and shared history that’s rare in many parts of Edmonton. The city’s latest census found well over 50 per cent of residents in both Beverly Heights and Beacon Heights — two of the five neighbourhoods the Beverly area encompasses — had lived at their current addresses for five years or more.
Most houses along the wide streets with mature trees are modest ’60s-era bungalows, with only a handful of infill homes. With lots of parks, affordable homes and access to the river valley, it’s a perfect place for young families, says Vercholuk — a demographic she’d love to see more of to boost the enrolments of area schools.
That said, she sees no hurry for the gentrification that’s in progress in some neighbour-hoods to the west.
“I don’t know that we necessarily need to become the trendy place to live. I’m OK with keeping it to ourselves.”
What to do
Beverly History Interpretive Centre
Take a step back in time to 1930s Beverly and see some coal-mining artifacts from the area. Run by volunteers from the Old Towne Beverly Historical Society, the centre opens to the public on the second weekend of each month. This spring, the society plans to install memorial markers at the sites of three old Beverly coal mines.
This is a real coffee-and-doughnuts (and lunch) joint, where bakers actually make the doughnuts on the premises. Enjoy your fresh Dutchie or dulce de leche-filled doughnut in the bright eating area looking out onto 118th Avenue. It’s a nice reward for making the trip to Beverly.
11801 48 St., 780-471-6037
A Yah Mi Deh
Menu items at this Jamaican/Caribbean restaurant and bakery include curry goat, jerk chicken, oxtail stew, patties and rum cake. Its ackee and salt fish were named one of Avenue’s 25 Best Things to Eat in 2013.
The market, which runs on Tuesday afternoons from May to September, is a highlight for residents through-out the spring, summer and
fall. “It’s a meeting place,” says Vercholuk. “I go there to run into my friends and neighbours and family.”