HISTORY OF AVONMORE COMMUNITY LEAGUE

Avonmore Community League Founded was founded in September 1957. 

Two hundred and fifty citizens gathered at Avonmore Elementary School to form a community league as the leaves were turning colour. They hoped to construct skating facilities for their children before the snow flew. Meanwhile, the women of the community had started an arts and crafts group. Community work bees were organized and the rink was readied.

Avonmore Community League had been in the rink operating business for several years by 1960. In September 1961, the new $13,800 Avonmore hall was on site at 78th Street and 73rd Avenue.

Coinciding with ‘Community Week,’ the league held opening ceremonies with guests Charles Simmonds of the EFCL and Alderman McKim Ross.

Avonmore Community League kept its members busy the year round. Some could be found at skating socials or at ladies morning out, at the bridge club or at cake decorating or weaving classes. The children were provided with team sports, a playschool, dancing, magic courses and a jackrabbit cross-country skiing club. Teens gathered for social dance instruction and drama. Adults spent their time square dancing, oil painting or working on needlecraft, basketry and millinery. 

More building plans took shape in the early 1970’s. Avonmore decided to put up a second structure – a sports complex. This was completed by 1975.

The league had worked in tandem with Avonmore and King Edward Park schools in the development of a neighbourhood playground. Using over 200 old tires of all sizes and descriptions, volunteer workers built a creative playground at 73rd Avenue and 79th Street. The monies for the project came in part from a spell-a-thon that reaped $4,000. The playground featured bridges, tire swings, geodesic domes and tunnels. 

By 2012 that playground had become dated and deemed unsafe. Fundraising commenced for a new playground and spray park, which was opened in September 2014. 

The community of Avonmore is named after Lord Avonmore.  He was an adventurer of the Irish peerage who sojourned through Edmonton on an 1897 expedition to the Klondike Gold Rush. 

Being a resourceful, far-seeing member of the First Estate, and no doubt hearing of the Dawson country’s ribald reputation, My Lord Ave-one-more (as he became known to local wags) made a point of providing space in his caravan for one of the largest stocks of liquor west of the Red River! 

Cases of Benedictine, champagne and cabaret; barrels of caret and demijohns of amber brandy were laid in for the insatiable market of the masculine north. Unfortunately for the Sourdoughs, there was one small matter the Lord of Eire failed to account for in his scheme; the fact that the Klondike was under a period of prohibition. Now Lord Avonmore was no real law breaker. He hesitated to make a desperate break through the redcoats’ lines. He decided to get rid of the lot in Edmonton. But the city fathers saw the issue from a different angle and Lord Avonmore was refused a seller’s license. Consequently, Avonmore and his crew, accompanied by local socialites, polished off the booze in a six week drinking bout characterized by “many arguments and flying fisticuffs in a wooly mingling of western and Irish traditions."


 

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