This neighbourhood, bound by 107 and 111 Avenues, and 101 and 109 Streets, was named for John Alexander McDougall, a local businessman and mayor who went into business with Richard Secord.

In 1912, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) sold off the remainder of its reserve lands in Edmonton at the height of a local land boom. In 1882, the Dominion of Canada had granted the HBC land reserves around most of its forts in exchange for control of the HBC’s claim to Rupert’s Land. The HBC reserve around Fort Edmonton stretched from 101 Street to 121 Street, and from the river to 118 Avenue, encompassing what is now Central McDougall. The boom collapsed, however, and despite having Edmonton’s only high school (located at the time beside the current Victoria School location), McDougall School (built in 1913), and the Prince of Wales Armouries (completed in 1915), most of the neighbourhood remained vacant. Slow growth led to the almost full development by the 1950s. The HBC had placed a caveat on these reserve lands, limiting any future development to single-family homes. Despite the restrictions, the area was redeveloped in the 1960s and homes south of 108 Avenue were replaced with low-rise apartments and commercial areas spread throughout the neighbourhood. Once again there was redevelopment in the late 1970s but this time some developers were faced with a court action that stemmed from the HBC caveat and apartment projects were blocked. After a lengthy process, Alberta Courts removed the caveat in 1981, paving the way for the present-day multi-use community.

Over the next decade, Central McDougall was faced with rental rates of almost 96 percent. The community had an above average proportion of homes with a primarily young adult, transient population. Absentee landlords became an issue, the local playground became unsafe and was removed, and the area was perceived as a high crime locale. In 1988 the Canadian National Railyards on 104 Avenue closed and warehouses on either side of 107 Avenue, dependant on rail traffic, shut down. In the 1990s, 107 Avenue from 95 Street to 116 Street was established as a Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) and renamed the Avenue of Nations. The hope was to capitalize on the area’s cultural diversity and improve the surrounding communities. Although the undertaking didn’t last the decade, it spurred future activity with the hopes of breathing new life into local communities like Central McDougall.


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