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.