In a city bound by startling growth, it’s easy to forget the history right beneath our feet. Luckily for Oliver residents there’s The Life of a Neighbourhood: A History of Edmonton’s Oliver District 1870–1950, writers Lawrence Herzog and Shirley Lowe’s 2002 biography of the community’s first post-Colonial 80 years. The softcover, perfectly bound book makes a gorgeous gift to yourself or friends. Pick it up for just $10 at any official OCL event at the community hall.
Here’s a sample of the countless surprises within its 167 pages:
1. Edmonton General Hospital was Canada’s first to have a fully operable X-ray machine.
2. A man who was killed while working on the High Level Bridge was actually entombed in its northern-most pier.
3. Oliver School used to house a miniature rifle range in its basement so that the attending boys could get target practice at playtime.
4. The gold ceramic used in some of the mural illustrations in St. Joseph’s Basilica was originally meant to decorate lampposts in Nuremburg during one of Adolf Hitler’s many rallies.
5. Witnesses have confirmed that almost 900 swimmers would squeeze around Oliver Pool (originally “West End Pool”) at once to beat the heat.