Glenora is one of Edmonton’s most historic residential areas. In 1869, Malcolm Groat claimed a 900-acre parcel immediately west of the Hudson’s Bay Reserve.
In 1906, the land was sold to Montreal realtor James Carruthers, who planned the area as an exclusive real estate development. When Edmonton was selected as the capital city of Alberta in 1906, many professionals chose to live in the area as they developed their careers and built their families in the new city. In 1909, the Government of Alberta built Government House in Glenora as the official residence of the lieutenant-governor. During the land boom of 1912, Glenora and the surrounding residential area grew significantly.
Glenora features many of the more beautiful historic homes in the city, and has also been experiencing residential infill consistently over past decades, making this neighbourhood an interesting study in residential architectural forms in Edmonton over the last century. The streets are lined with mature elm trees and vegetation. One of the more prominent characteristics of the neighbourhood is the Provincial Museum, which overlooks the River Valley.
Glenora has several schools, parks, and open spaces, including ready access to the river valley and ravine system. The most iconic local park in the neighbourhood is Alexander Circle Park, designed as the focal point of a distinctive circular residential pattern around which stately houses are situated. This development represents Edmonton’s most significant nod to the “garden suburb” design concept, which emerged in the early 20th century.
The origin of the name “Glenora” is uncertain. The neighbourhood may have been named after Glenora, a village in Eastern Ontario. It may also have been named after the Glenora Mill on the Lachine Canal, which was owed by a Company in which Carruthers had an interest. Another theory is that Glenora originated from the Scottish word “glen,” meaning valley, and the French “or,” meaning gold. In fact, Glenora contains three ravines which lead to the North Saskatchewan River, where it is still possible to pan for gold.