'A great connection': High Level Streetcar extension introduces stop on Whyte Avenue

A new extension to the High Level Streetcar is bringing the historic transportation link further south to Whyte Avenue.

On Thursday, the volunteer-driven Edmonton Radial Railway Society unveiled the new stop next to the public washrooms at the corner of Whyte Avenue and Gateway Boulevard.

"Now, for the first time in over 70 years, the heart of Old Strathcona will again be served by streetcar service," said Chris Ashdown, the radial railway society president.

"Our passengers complained in the past that we were sort of hidden behind the Arts Barns or the farmer's market building and couldn't see us," he added. "Now we are right down at Whyte Avenue."

The project cost more than $1 million, with the City of Edmonton contributing $293,500 and the province $250,000. The remaining funds came from the radial railway society through streetcar fares and fundraising.

Ashdown said it took the society 11 years to complete the extension due to the project's "complexity," as it introduced new city street crossings and used an old abandoned railway right of way.

"Although this extension is not very long, we are able to increase our visibility and to bring our passengers to the very heart of Old Strathcona," Ashdown said.

"As a living transportation museum, we're a major tourist attraction for the city," he added. "With the opening of this extension, we hope to provide an even better experience for our passengers."

The High Level Bridge Streetcar opens to riders on May 20 and runs Friday through Monday to Sept. 5, and then Friday to Sunday until Oct. 5.

Cherie Klassen, Old Strathcona Business Association executive director, said the streetcar expansion makes Edmonton's best business district even better.

"It's a great connection," she said, adding it helps bridge Whyte Avenue to downtown Edmonton.

"The streetcar just really adds to the buzz of Old Strathcona as a celebration of history."

High level street car Whyte ave stop is now officially open! This is one of the best tourism attractions in the city. Come down this weekend to check it out! ��#streetcar #highlevelbridge #oldstrathcona pic.twitter.com/utsgELbjXx

— Cherie Klassen (@cherlk) May 19, 2022