In 1878, Malcolm Groat selected his homestead on the land that is now the Westmount neighbourhood. Groat was a Hudson’s Bay Company employee and an early Edmonton settler who remained one of Edmonton’s leading citizens through the turn of the century.
Groat’s square mile of land along the North Saskatchewan River was wisely selected immediately west of the area that became the Hudson’s Bay Reserve. The Groat homestead was annexed to the City of Edmonton in two stages, first in 1904 and then in 1910. Groat gradually sold his land to developers as the demand for residential lots heated up.
Due to its proximity to downtown Edmonton, Westmount developed early, in spite of the general oversupply of residential lots in Edmonton. Beginning in 1910, downtown access was enhanced by the extension of an electric streetcar line between Jasper Avenue and 110th Avenue via 124th Street. Westmount, particularly the area at the rim of the Groat Ravine, established a reputation as an attractive residential area for professionals. A commercial space developed along 124th Street beside the streetcar line. When the line was abandoned between 1947 and 1948, 124th Street was already an established commercial strip. To maintain the quality of the residential environment, public and private initiatives to upgrade the ambience of the 124th Street shopping area and to promote voluntary heritage preservation guidelines for building renovations have been under way for some time. Westmount boasts a variety of residential, institutional, recreational, commercial, and light industrial land uses within easy walking distance of each other. The 124th Street shopping area and Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) runs north–south through the neighbourhood, acting as a central spine for the community.
Westmount likely takes its name from an affluent, predominantly Anglophone city (formerly neighbourhood) on the west island of Montreal.