Loading Loading... Please wait...


Ritchie: History of A Community

Posted by Dave Feltham on

As Transcend moves its original location, and the Roastery, to the northeast corner of 76th Ave and 96th Street, we thought we'd take a closer look at the community known as Ritchie. Two and a half years ago Poul Mark, our founder, did not hesitate to being involved with the Ritchie Market. The Ritchie Community is a community that speaks to the same values as Transcend: they value the relationships with each other. Moving to Ritchie is something that we’re all quite excited about, and to share this excitement, we thought we would spend a few blog posts discussing what we think is great about Ritchie.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the amazing things we discovered about Ritchie’s unique history.

The farthest edge of Ritchie looking east across the bridge to King Edward Park (University of Alberta)

Robert Ritchie, former Mayor of Strathcona

The area we now know as Ritchie had its humble beginnings in 1891 as a small commercial area on Whyte Avenue to service the newly arrived Calgary and Edmonton Railroad lines. At the same time a man named Robert Ritchie came from Ontario to help his brother John construct a mill at the corner of 102nd Street and Saskatchewan Drive, where it still stands today. While the location wasn’t in the Ritchie area, it and the rail lines that fed it, were important to the growth of the area as labourers and engineers moved in with their families. As the neighbourhood grew, so did the need for local, convenient shops. Blacksmiths (like A. Minchau at the end of this article) and grocers began to appear and by the 1950s the signature design of the neighbourhood began to take shape.

But as new malls were erected and cars became cheaper, people's shopping habits shifted away from the locals. The local shops saw little foot traffic and over several decades struggled to make ends meet. Some even disappeared. By the end of the 20th century, the shops fell into further disrepair, new businesses were hard to attract and old ones made do with their surroundings. Ritchie seemed to sit forgotten.

The site of the Ritchie Market not so long ago

It was not forgotten, however, by its residents. In the last 10 years the neighbours all worked together and fought for funding with the plea that they needed to bring back the values of Ritchie back into the open and make it an area about bringing together community.

This work, combined with the City of Edmonton’s Corner Store Pilot Program would keep those small businesses in communities and attract new ones. Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, Ritchie Community League President, told the Edmonton Journal that the change, specifically at Four Corners would, “...bring neighbours together, meeting together, having coffee together.” It was a change that was needed to reflect those values of Ritchie, values that were threatened to be lost.

Ritchie has started to see a renewed interest. It’s hard to say whether this is due to the re-vitalization project, or whether people are keen to use the trails of the Edmonton River Valley to get to key areas of Downtown, or whether people are in love with the dozens of unique shops appearing in the area. Whatever the reason, Ritchie has surged up Avenue Edmonton’s Best Neighbourhood contest, from not even placing in 2013 to 3rd in 2016.

We’d like to think that the resurgence is due to people seeing what we saw in Ritchie: a sense of community and the importance of connecting to your neighbour. A value that has existed for over 100 years.

A. Minchau's Blacksmith still stands today.

Have any old photos of Ritchie? Share them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #oldritchieyeg

View Comments

Transcend Mercer location to close end of February

Transcend Coffee announces the closing of its Mercer location effective Feb 27, 2017 In the fall of 2014, Transcend Coffee partnered with Kelly Pope (developer and owner of the Mercer Building) open a cafe in the basement of the Mercer Building. Both parties understood that the location was a risky venture given its more remote downtown [...]

Read More »

The Ritchie Market

The Ritchie Market (a new building located at 9570 76 Ave) has been a work in progress now for 2.5 years. Greg Zeschuk (co-founder of Bioware) has built an innovative building which will house Transcend Coffee's roastery, and cafe, the Acme Meat Market, Creekside Cyclery, and his own world class brewery and restaurant. Our founder Poul Mark, [...]

Read More »

Our View from the Ritchie Market

The Ritchie Market (a new building located at 9570 76 Ave) has been a work in progress now for 2.5 years. Greg Zeschuk (co-founder of Bioware) has built an innovative building which will house Transcend Coffee's roastery, and cafe, the Acme Meat Market, Creekside Cyclery, and his own world class brewery and restaurant. Our founder [...]

Read More »

1st Sunday Transcend Crossword Solution

For all of those of you that tried your hand at the first Transcend Crossword, here is the promised solution. If you enjoyed this little crossword, let us know and we will create some more.

Read More »

1st Sunday Transcend Crossword

Test your knowledge about coffee in general and the company that roasts and brews the coffee you love.Download the Crossword PDFAnswers to be posted later this week. 

Read More »

Ritchie Market Roastery & Cafe

Just a quick update for those anxiously awaiting (along with us) the opening of the Ritchie Market Roastery & Cafe. While our founder Poul Mark has been working with Greg Zeschuk for over 2 years on this project, it is still a couple of months away. While originally scheduled to open in early January, the wet [...]

Read More »

Transcend Announces Partnership with Rock Ridge Dairy

News ReleaseFor Immediate ReleaseEdmonton, AB – Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Transcend Coffee Corp. – an Edmonton based coffee importer, roaster, retailer and educator – today announced its recent decision to utilize organic milk from a local dairy supplier – Rock Ridge Dairy located near Ponoka Alberta.“We have wanted to use a local and sustainable dairy product for years,” says [...]

Read More »

Our friend Chris Tse of Blitz Conditioning posted this great little video. What a view to enjoy Transcend Coffee!

Our friend @Christse_ shared this amazing video of a hike he recently did, and where he enjoyed some tasty coffee with an epic view!

Read More »

Free Shipping on some orders
Transcend Coffee YouTube Channel