A History of the Edmonton City Market, 1900-2000: Urban Values and Urban Culture


235 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55238-052-1
DDC 381'.18'09712334




Reviewed by Louis A. Knafla

Louis A. Knafla is a professor of history at the University of Calgary,
the co-editor of Law, Society, and the State: Essays in Modern Legal
History, and the author of Lords of the Western Bench.


A History of the Edmonton City Market draws on the multifaceted
disciplines of agriculture, history, politics, and culture. Supplemented
with copious notes, 93 illustrations, and a useful index, this
well-written and handsomely produced book weaves the stories of
individuals, groups, and institutions. Along the way, readers learn
about capital and rents, weights and measures, charity and profit,
customers and venders.

Chapter 1 places the history of Edmonton’s market within the context
of its early settlement and of contemporaneous Canadian and American
markets. Chapter 2 looks at the prewar period (1892–1916), including
the precarious early history of the “market square.” Chapter 3
covers the interwar years (a period of recession and depression), noting
private and public contributions as well as the development of
regulations. The post–World War II featured conflict between local
groups and City Council, the City Market Committee, and the Market
Gardeners and Florists’ Association. The “new” city market of 1965
(Chapter 5) is the major focus of the book.

Expansion exacted its price in the 1990s as urban restoration and
renewal shrouded the “farmers’ market” concept that had served
venders and customers. The conclusion brings together issues of social
and cultural life that were brought to bear on the market and its
habitat. A recurring theme throughout the book is the interdependence
between country and city in an age of rapid demographic change. Drawing
on a wide range of private and public documents, as well as oral
interviews, A History of the Edmonton City Market should stand as a
model for the history of town markets in the 20th century.


Merrett, Kathryn Chase., “A History of the Edmonton City Market, 1900-2000: Urban Values and Urban Culture,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/7844.