Community of Dogpatch
Riverdale is one of Edmonton’s oldest neighborhoods and has been used as a meeting place to trade for thousands of years by the First Nations people of Canada. The area is found within Treaty 6 Territory, the traditional and ancestral territory of the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, and Metis. We acknowledge and are grateful for the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit who have lived on and cared for this land.
In the late 1800s, a little area in Riverdale between the JB Little Brickyard and the North Saskatchewan River sprang up. Known initially as “The Dutch Settlement”, many newcomers to Edmonton took up residence in tiny brick houses, often built from discarded bricks. This community soon became known as Dogpatch. The D. R. Fraser Lumber Mill and J. B. Little Brickyard provided employment for residents, and it was an inexpensive place for recent immigrants to live.
Despite a lack of running water and sewage lines, residents of the Dogpatch grew their own vegetables, raised families, and maintained a distinct independent community on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. They traded amongst themselves, even creating their own currency for a time, and were quick to lend a hand to neighbours in need.
Dogpatch residents were equally creative and colourful types who preferred their independent community and way of life as Edmonton modernized and developed all around them. In 1984, City officials closed down the Dogpatch region due to numerous health code concerns and residents were moved to safer housing conditions. In March 1985, clay was brought down from the excavation site of Canada Place and dumped on the Dogpatch site. This ended one of Edmonton’s more unique neighbourhoods over 100 years after its buildings were erected.
35 years later, we pay tribute to the original Dogpatch in Riverdale. We will keep the independent spirit on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River alive within a little brick building of our own.