The Highlands neighbourhood of Edmonton, Alberta lies in the northeastern section of the city, bordered on the south by the scenic North Saskatchewan River Valley and on the east by 50 Street. It’s delimited by 118 Avenue to the north and 67 Street to the west. This residential area is graced with heritage homes, quiet streets, large trees and majestic views of the river, making it great for families to live here.
A notable neighbourhood, Highlands was named by This Old House magazine as one of Canada’s Best Old House Neighborhoods. A good example of its quality is Ada Boulevard, where the mansions are not only grand but also have fine views towards the river.
In Highlands, you can enjoy both the convenience of being only ten minutes away from Downtown and an old-fashioned neighbourhood atmosphere. The latter means you’ll likely be invited to events such as potluck dinners and pub nights! Residents of Highlands are known for their neighbourly spirit and for not wasting any chance to give back to their community. Another thing they like doing is walking and bicycling, very popular endeavors on the streets of Highlands, due to the tranquility of the neighbourhood and the attractive ambiance created by the well-maintained heritage homes. The tranquil River Valley trail system is easily accessible as well, which gives residents another pleasant way to spend their free time.
At the southern border of Highlands, residents can enjoy the tranquil trails and park amenities of the river valley, adjacent to the Highlands Golf Club. Nearby, you can find family eateries, with food ranging from pizza to burgers, and also specialty places like Thai and Jamaican restaurants. Several parks with playgrounds, soccer fields and baseball diamonds, and one with a splash park, can be found within its boundaries. Highlands is centrally located in Edmonton and has fast access to shopping at the Kingsway Mall, or a night out for a game of ice hockey at the Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Mainly a residential neighbourhood, Highlands’ borders host commercial and retail shopping, on 112th Avenue to the west and 118th Avenue to the north. Here, mixed with the new, you can also find historic restaurants, bed and breakfasts and a library. Small specialty businesses flourish, such as bookstores and cafes. Slightly further afield you can enjoy horse racing at nearby Northlands Park, entertainment events at Edmonton Expo Centre and sporting events and concerts at the home of the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium.
Large lots, old full-growth trees, historic real estate and a low incidence of development give the Highlands neighbourhood its venerable, traditional appeal. It mainly comprises single-family homes, most of which were built between 1920 and 1950. Bungalows are a common property type found in Highlands. With many affordable houses, a central location and close proximity to the Downtown area, the neighbourhood is attractive to younger families. The Highlands Historical Foundation ensures the preservation of the heritage features of the neighbourhood. Some commercial developments and apartments can be found along 118th Avenue, with a few more in other locations. Duplexes are hard to find and there are no condominiums or row houses. Apartment buildings comprise only a small percentage of the dwellings, and none of these are more than four stories high. Most residences are occupied, with more than half being lived in by the owners; the remainder are rental properties. Of all the residents, roughly half have lived in their homes for 5 years or longer.
With the only freeway running along the western boundary, and with residents largely adhering to the idea of preservation, Highlands is no doubt a peaceful, family-oriented neighbourhood. River valley parks and large, mature trees help keep pollution and noise levels low.
The crime rate in Highlands is low to moderate with most crimes falling in the property crime category. Highlands has lower crime rates in comparison with surrounding neighbourhoods.
Highlands has two schools within its boundaries: Highlands Public School, the first Arts Core Junior High School in Edmonton, and Mount Royal Elementary School. Both are operated by the Edmonton Public School System. The public high school for the area is Eastglen High School, just moments away from the neighbourhood. Then there’s Progressive Academy, a private school located in nearby Glenora. Other prestigious schools are close, and after-school programs are also available. Concordia University of Edmonton is located on Ada Boulevard.
Highlands has 30 bus stops inside its borders, with services run by the Edmonton Transit System, and the nearest metro line is approximately 10 minutes away by car. Residents benefit from the close proximity of Wayne Gretzky Drive, which speeds drive times to locations all around the city. Also, it has a walk score of 68, making it the 38th most walkable neighbourhood in Edmonton, so some errands can be accomplished on foot.
With parks scattered throughout the area, the river valley’s hiking and biking trails, the Highlands Golf Course, clubhouse and dining facilities, there is always something to keep a family active and busy. In the winter months you can enjoy bowling and two outdoor skating rinks. Summer brings water fun at the nearby Eastglen Leisure Centre, which sports a salt water swimming pool, whirlpool, steam room and waterslide. Neighbourhood historic walking tours keep the history and allure of the area alive. Highlands is a family-style neighbourhood, with fun activities, good cuisine, and fast access to all that life in Edmonton has to offer. Its historic homes, low commercial development, and green spaces give the neighbourhood a timeless and attractive atmosphere. Friendly neighbours, added to all of its assets, make Highlands a well-rounded, desirable place to call home.