Strathearn is located on portions of land identified as River Lots 21 and 23, plus part of a section to the east by the first river lot and township surveys of the Edmonton Settlement. Two of the original land holders were J. McKernan, Edmonton’s first telegraph operator, and W. Bird, who built one of Edmonton’s first water-driven grain mills in Mill Creek.
Donnell Road in the Strathearn area was annexed to the City of Strathcona and subdivided in 1907. In 1912, it joined Edmonton when Edmonton and Strathcona amalgamated. The remaining area was annexed in 1913. Most of Strathearn remained undeveloped until the late 1940s and 1950s, when the land was subdivided and housing and commercial structures were built.
It was during the 1950s that most of Strathearn’s single-unit housing, as well as a variety of neighbourhood shopping and service facilities, was built. In response to oil-driven demand for new rental accommodation in the 1950s, the Strathearn Heights apartment complex was completed in the centre of the neighbourhood as an early example of a large-scale housing development. In 2008, City Council approved a large-scale rezoning of this 50-year-old site to accommodate a new mixed-use development containing 1,750 dwelling units and an additional 10,000 square feet of retail space on a 23-acre site.
At its northern and western boundaries, Strathearn is perched atop the North Saskatchewan River Valley. This location affords easy access to the river valley park system and provides commanding views of the valley from vantage points along Strathearn Drive and Strathearn Crescent.
While the origin of the neighbourhood’s name is not known definitively, it was likely named after Prince Arthur (1850–1942), the first Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who was the Canadian Viceroy during the first years of World War I.