Rossdale is one of Edmonton’s oldest neighbourhoods, and was originally known as Ross Flats. It has a long history of First Nations use, and in 1802 two fur trading forts were built in the area of the present Rossdale Generating Station. In 1876, Donald Ross purchased a large amount of land in the area and built a residence, which became Edmonton’s first hotel, at the foot of McDougall Hill.
Ross Flats became the supply point for the Klondike Gold Rush and the site of several industries, including a brewery, ice house, lumber yard, power plant and coal mine. A good deal of Edmonton’s early cultural activities also took place on the Ross Flats. Diamond Park was for many years the site of Edmonton sporting events that included baseball, soccer and football. The exhibition grounds were first held in Rossdale, and relocated from Rossdale to their present site in 1911.
In 1915, Edmonton experienced a severe flood. Homes and industries in Rossdale were damaged and many businesses did not return. Since that flood, Rossdale has gradually transformed. Many of the commercial and industrial properties have been converted to other uses and some of the oldest structures have been removed, leaving many properties vacant. Today, the largest portion of property area in Rossdale is devoted to recreation and open space. Many of the residences, most of which are single-detached, are between 50 and 75 years old. Supported by the City’s commitment to maintain the river valley communities, Rossdale is beginning the process of revitalization and redevelopment.
Rossdale is named after Donald Ross, a businessman who created Edmonton’s first hotel in the Rossdale area. Donald Ross arrived in Edmonton in 1872 and built his home in Rossdale. He soon began renting out the second floor of this house, creating Edmonton’s first hotel. Over the years, Ross expanded the home three times and after his death in 1915 the building was turned into a rooming house. The building was destroyed by fire in 1925.
Source: City of Edmonton