The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) is holding the First Annual Great Neighbourhood Race Saturday, April 30 at Hawrelak Park.
This inaugural event, sponsored in part by the Running Room, kicks off the city’s racing season and promises to be a fun event for the whole family. It will also serve as a fundraiser for an EFCL 100th anniversary project which is to build the Community League Plaza in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park. The completion date is 2021 which will be the century mark for the federation. The plaza will serve as festival space as part of significant renovations to the park and will serve as homage to the 157 community leagues which operate in neighbourhoods throughout Edmonton.
The proposed Community League Plaza will be located on the south eastern edge of the lake and will be part of a complete restoration project which will include fixing up the stream beside the lake and creating a beautiful pathway adjacent to the street. Near the future plaza will be a water/spray park and the playground. Renderings of this five-year project can be seen on the EFCL website and were provided by Urban Systems, an Edmonton design firm.
The Great Neighbourhood Race takes place in the park and will include a 10km, 5km, 3km individual races and a 3km Family Fun Run and Walk. The event is also in need of volunteers and fans along the route to cheer on the participants. To add to the festivities there will be a Community Kids Expo, jump castles, games and lots of fun.
The Early Bird date has already passed with the next deadline for the regular fee of $7 for Community Kids, $15 for seniors, $25 for the 3km family event,$40 for adults which is due by April 12. Registrations past this date will be considered late and subject to a $5 or $10 increase depending on the event and age category.
Registration is being taken online through the Running Room.
Those community-minded Edmonton businesses are invited to be a race sponsor by contacting the EFCL.
About the EFCL
The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues was formed in 1921 because the various communities in the city required a unified voice at City Hall. The first president was Thomas P. Malone, a businessman on Whyte Avenue, but it was an American immigrant named George M. Hall that actually formed the new organization. It was born of a popular post-World War 1 movement to start city clubs or social clubs that got together to discuss local activities and community issues. Hall thought an association would help solve a lot of the problems that many of Edmonton’s new neighbourhoods were facing such as poor infrastructure, lack of housing and more. Hall was president of his own community league in Jasper Place which back in the early 20th Century wasn’t quite in the city limits.
One of the EFCL’s early mandates was to develop and organize sports, social and recreational programs. Individual community leagues were open to men and women, which in 1921 was a concept ahead of its time. Community leagues were also to have no religious affiliation or alignment with any political party.
When the EFCL was founded in1921 there were nine community leagues and of course today, there are 157. One of its founding principles was that each neighbourhood had unique needs but in order to be heard by city officials it needed a stronger and unified voice.