Contributor: Allan Shute
For the past three years on the first weekend of May, Riverdale has been participating in an annual global celebration of Jane Jacobs, the social activist who rewrote the book on urban development in the 20th century. Best known for stopping the Lower Manhattan Expressway that would have gutted some of New York’s more colourful districts, she authored The Death and Life of Great American Cities in which she championed people and their neighbourhoods over top-down planning and unchecked road building. She later came to Canada and saved dozens of Toronto neighbours from the planned Spadina Expressway and its associated freeways.
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The connection to Riverdale is pertinent in that during the late 1960s and early ’70s, Edmonton was under the sway of a powerful, unelected board of commissioners that wanted to eliminate all river valley residents in favour of a megapark stretching from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan and implement a transportation plan that pushed freeways through inner-city neighbourhoods and paved over the river valley and its ravines with expressways.
Riverdalians rallied together and spearheaded a successful fight against City Hall that gave their community a new lease on life. The mayor and complicit aldermen were replaced, and so-called “viability” was granted to the other affected valley folk. The proposed McKinnon Ravine freeway was also stopped, and the city of Edmonton has been the better for it.
Past Community Events
Riverdale Sustainability Pub Night
A discussion on The Green Burial as presented by Rayne Johnson of End of Life Matters was held Friday, January 22nd at
New Year’s Day – Family Fun
A fun-filled day of skating, tobogganing, hot chocolate, marshmallow & weenie roast was held on January 1 at the
Riverdale Rink House. The event was free and open to all.
Safe and Sound
An evening in support of Syrian Refugees
The Refugee Response Collective, in partnership with the Mennonite Central Committee, held a silent auction and an evening of music, food and fundraising on December 5 at the Riverdale Hall. Entertainment included a performance by Tarabish Collective and an International Jam. Funds raised went towards sponsorship and for aid in the refugee camps.