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City of Edmonton. Office of the City Commissioners fonds Tekst
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External Organizations

There are a number of organizations whose work relates to the areas overseen by the Commissioners or which the Commissioners maintained membership in as part of doing business for the City. The records in this series relate to such organizations, including but not limited to, the Alberta's Urban Municipalities Association, the Edmonton Public School Board, the Separate School Board of Edmonton, and the Edmonton Public Library Board.

Wartime

During the First and Second World Wars the Commissioners took on a variety of duties relating to providing services to Edmontonians, serving as liaison for the delivery of Federal initiatives, and monitoring threats to civilians and the nation. Some post-war activities also generated the records found in this series. Subjects include air raid precautions, civil defense, military matters, rationing, immigration, deportation, and subversive activities, as well as the construction of the Cenotaph and Memorial Hall.

Community Services

This series of records is related to the Commissioners' role of overseeing services for the citizens of Edmonton, from recreation and parks to relief during hard times. This series of records consists of those service branches dealing directly with the day to day needs of Edmontonians. This series contains the following subseries:

7.1 Parks
This subseries consists of records relating to the provision of green space for Edmontonians, including attractions such as the zoos, camping, and cemeteries.

7.2 Recreation Facilities
This subseries consists of records relating to organizations and facilities providing sports and recreation opportunities for the citizens of Edmonton.

7.3 Health and Emergency Services
This subseries consists of records relating to organizations and facilities providing health care services to Edmontonians. Also included are records relating to emergency services: firefighting, police, and ambulance provision.

7.4 Welfare
This subseries consists of records relating to the City's programs to assist Edmontonians who require support for their day-to-day living.

Utilities

This series of records is related to the Commissioners' role of overseeing the City's utilities. For many years the City operated most of the utilities services within the City. Eventually, many of these were sold off into private ownership or arm's length governing bodies. This series contains the following subseries:

6.1 Telephones
This subseries consist of records relating to the Edmonton Telephones System.

6.2 Power / Light
This subseries consist of records relating to Edmonton Power, the power plants, and the provision of street lighting in the City.

6.3 Water and Sanitation
This subseries consist of records relating to the provision of water to citizens, the water treatment plants, dumps, the incinerator, and other waste management works.

6.4 Natural Resources / Fuels
This subseries consist of records relating to gas and oil contracts, coal mining and other provisions for providing heat and fuels within the city.

Engineering

This series of records is related to the Commissioners' role of overseeing the work of the Engineering Department which included such tasks as roadway and sidewalk construction, coordination and construction on City properties, railway spur lines, and subdivision planning.

Transportation

This series of records is related to the Commissioners' role of overseeing all issues of public transportation and mass transportation within the City's limits. The Commissioners were very involved in many issues and projects related to planning and implementing transportation corridors, for railways, industrial, and commercial uses as well as private vehicles. They were also responsible for the public transportation system within, and air traffic into, the City. This series contains the following subseries:

4.1 Airport(s)
This subseries consists of records relating to Edmonton's Municipal Airport (also known as the Industrial Airport, the City Centre Airport and Blatchford Field).

4.2 Public Transit
This subseries consist of records relating to the Edmonton Radial Railway system, and the street car and bus service in Edmonton, later known as the Edmonton Transit System.

Development and Planning

This series of records is related to the Commissioners' role of overseeing all issues of land ownership within the City's limits. Residential and industrial development had to be managed and eventually planned for. Standards were required for buildings and construction and the resulting enforcement duties. This series contains the following subseries:

3.1 Land
This subseries includes records dealing with the purchase, sale, and management of land resources within the city, including subdivision of land, easements, urban renewal, future planning, and land sales, leases and purchases.

3.2 Zoning
This subseries consists of records relating to the restrictions placed on development and changes to that system over the years.

3.3 Architects and Inspections
This subseries consists of the records generated between the Architect's Department and the Commissioners, including records relating to the enforcement of building and zoning bylaws, including the management of civic office buildings (such as the Civic Block).

3.4 Economic Development
This subseries consists of the records relating to the promotion of the City for tourism, conventions and other special events to encourage economic development.

Financial

This series of records is related to the Commissioners' roll of overseeing the financial affairs of the City. Financial matters include taxation and assessment, guarantee deposits for tenders, budgets and estimates, all records relating to accounting (except payroll -see Series 1 Subseries 6) and investments, including debentures, loans and the sinking fund. This series contains the following subseries:

2.1 Taxation and Assessment
This subseries consists of records relating to the setting and collection of taxes for the City.

2.2 Budgets and Estimates
This subseries contains records of the budgeting and accounting processes of the City by the Commissioners.

2.3 Investments
This subseries includes the documents relating to the City's ability to raise and save funds.

Orphaned Material

This series consists of photographs which mostly depict residential and commercial buildings, but there are also photos of individuals, events, civic infrastructure and facilities, and proposed developments. There are also maps and architectural drawings which are predominantly associated with plans for development and construction.

Commissioners' Reports (1906-1965)

Reports beginning in this sub-series date from 1906 and continue through December of 1965. The reports, along with any supporting attached documentation, provide a fascinating reflection of the growth of Edmonton in these formative decades, as well as referencing the broader social milieu. Both World Wars are evident in reports concerning Victory Bond sales and returning soldiers’ assistance while the Great Depression of the 1930s is evidenced in those Commissioner reports discussing the efforts of a local Relief Department and programs such as the Farm Relief settlement scheme, a ‘Christmas Cheer’ relief initiative, and work calls for the unemployed. Throughout the decades, a program of local improvements is undertaken by the City and referenced in detail with reports on paving roads and sidewalks; extending sewer, power, and water services to newly-established and growing neighborhoods; eradicating noxious weeds, staffing local police and fire departments; managing a growing City workforce; and operating the Power Plant and setting up street lighting. Together with countless other topics these reports help illustrate the growth and management of the City of Edmonton. Numerous reports discuss City taxes; the purchase of Hudson’s Bay Company reserve land for City businesses and residential areas; the establishment and extension of hospital facilities, telephone services, and incinerator operations; the Exhibition Grounds and the Prison Farm; and the writing of bylaws to help manage it all. Transportation is often discussed in the Commissioners’ reports, whether it be local systems such as the Edmonton Street Railway, the Edmonton Interurban Railway, and the Edmonton Incline Railway; or nationally established companies including the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern Railways. City department reports and financial figures are regularly submitted as part of the Commissioners’ data gathering for their reports, and business tenders, contracts and equipment costs, and service extensions to all areas of Edmonton are discussed and referenced in the various Commissioners’ reports. Many reports refer to individual Edmonton citizens who may be buying or selling property, challenged for being in tax arrears, applying for various business licenses, or registering complaints related to City management, etc. A section of the Commissioners’ reports are often devoted to answering aldermanic inquiries, reflecting the concerns of the wider Edmonton citizenry. A scan of the file titles listed in the series finding aid will serve to illustrate the breadth and richness of the Commissioner’s Reports in documenting the growth and management of the City of Edmonton.

The reports dating from 1906 to 1918 are sequentially numbered within a calendar year, with renumbering beginning at number 1 (usually in late December or early January) of the calendar year; an annual index to the reports is sometimes included just prior to the first report of the year. The 1906 to 1918 reports are consistently single-topic reports, but several Commissioner's reports may be presented at the same City Council meeting. A reference to the City Council meeting at which the Commissioner’s report is presented is included in the finding aid listing. Note that Commissioners’ reports dated from 1919 and 1920 are located with RG-8.10 as part of the Special Committee reports of the City Clerk. The reports within the 1906-1918;1921-1965 time period are quite complete, with only the occasional numbered report not included.

The Commissioners’ reports in the 1930s and later years are much larger, as several topics are discussed as sub-sections of a single report. These later reports often contain more extensive documentation, with letters, City Departmental monthly reports, and supporting information accompanying the Commissioners’ reports. These reports also often include handwritten annotations noting when the report was presented to City Council, and any resulting actions or decisions taken.

Oversized items included with the reports have been removed and stored separately; these primarily consist of architectural plans and blueprints, and Edmonton lot maps. The files in an earlier accession of Commissioner’s reports (sub series 10.1) should also be consulted; while the reports listed in sub series 10.1 and 10.2 often duplicate each other, the supporting documentation within the files may vary. A researcher wanting as full a picture of the topics named in the Commissioners’ reports, should consult both sub series to ensure they see all the relevant attachments.

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