Development in Strathcona began with the arrival of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway line in 1891. Early development centred on the area of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, now called Old Strathcona. Subsequent commercial development extended along Whyte Avenue, where a streetcar line joined Strathcona and downtown Edmonton (via 99th Street) from 1908 to 1949. The neighbourhood became part of Edmonton when the City of Strathcona amalgamated with Edmonton in 1912.
While Strathcona is noted for its stock of well-maintained renovated older homes, walk-up and high-rise apartments supply the majority of dwelling units. The apartments are located near major traffic routes, which provide access to major commercial, educational, and employment centres downtown and at the University of Alberta.
Outdoor recreation areas are close at hand for Strathcona residents with the North Saskatchewan River Valley to the north and Mill Creek Ravine to the east. Beginning in the 1980s, public and private initiatives rejuvenated the Old Strathcona area as an entertainment and commercial hub with an “old town” ambience.
Strathcona was named for Lord Strathcona, Hudson Bay Company Governor (1889–1914) and the man chosen to drive the last spike of the CPR transcontinental railway