It’s been a long time in coming, but the wait is finally over. The Gibbard Block in my old (historic) neighbourhood of Edmonton Highlands is now open. The Gibbard Block was built in 1912, at the same time as entrepreneurs William Magrath and Bidwell Holgate were beginning their development of this new area.
Thomas W. Gibbard, who never did live or actually do business in this building, was an important investor in the building. In 1913, the bottom fell out of the Edmonton real estate market, and this was followed by WW1. This put anyone who had speculated in the hot real estate market in this city at serious risk. Gibbard fared better because he had a large furniture making business in Napanee, Ontario. As a matter of fact, it isn’t uncommon for me to still come across Gibbard furniture when I do antique appraisals and this attests to the quality of the furniture that was manufactured there.
In its heyday, the Gibbard Block was a bustling center of apartments and commerce but over the years, it suffered many changes – and not all of them good. My tenure as vice president of the Highlands Historical Society was fraught with questions about what would happen under new management, but it’s all good now!
I love that the large glass windows and doors at street level have been part of the restoration. The businesses suit the neighbourhood too. I’ve eaten at Fox Burger and my burger was very tasty. I’ve bought wine at the wine store just around the other side of the building – they have wines you won’t find everywhere else. I have yet to go to June’s Deli but that will be for another day!
Have you been to the restaurants in the Gibbard Clock? What about the Air B&B that is upstairs on the third level? What did you think?