The North side of Edmonton is always under scrutiny.
“It’s infested with crime and bad people, it’s old. Especially that Northeast end of the city… and 118th Ave? What a mess!”
But I am here to say otherwise: The North side is actually not as awful as you think! So listen up Southsiders I’m here to defend my side of the river!
Specifically, my neighbourhood Castlewood is really quite the hidden gem; a blossom of topophilia in my case. Castlewood has been my home for what feels like a long 20+ years and has never let me down.
The neighbourhood is centrally built around our pond, which was once very small, but has grown slowly over time. With the expansion of the pond, the houses that loop around with the pond give a sense of safety using natural surveillance, keeping our pond area clean, and crime free.
It allows people to linger, for families and neighbours to join together in community activities such as kicking around a ball or cooking some hotdogs. Pups and family animals have a place to run and explore.
While Castlewood may not be a very familiar area for you, our area is growing! Albany, a new development running along 127 street and Castlewood, is proof that the Northside can develop and can create opportunities for new residents and families to reside. Not to mention, we just got the new LA Fitness gym, which is within walking distance of my house - quite the amenity! Also, the proximity of major retailers such as Walmart and Sobeys allows for more job opportunities which populates Castlewood and the surrounding areas more and more each year!
Castlewood includes a Church just down the street and a 7-11 around the corner. These are some very accessible places that people in the neighborhood use frequently, and with Albany being a 2 minute drive up the street, really, there’s everything you could want within this neighborhood.
Yes, it is a North side neighborhood, but we’ve got it together! According to the Edmonton Police Crime Mapping, in the last 7 days (From November 30, 2017) there has been no detection of crime… and in the past 60 days, only 4!
To conclude, I’m not to say that the North side is all rainbows and daisies, but the stereotype that the North Side is full of danger crazy people, is quite far from the truth. Yes, there are plenty of neighborhoods and areas which do need some considerable attention, and no matter where you will be spending time in the City of Edmonton, you should always take into consideration your own comfort and safety first. But to generalize an entire half of a city as ‘bad’ is pretty ridiculous. I love my city! Wouldn’t it be weird if it were completely perfect? …. *cough cough, The Truman Show*
Edmontonians... I ask you to keep a kind, light heart. Take some time to actually explore your city, and see what the neighborhoods around you have to offer. Be safe, be careful, but don't be quick to judge! You too might find your own northside gem!
- Ashley Johns, 2017