Reason #24 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

124th Street

By Emil Tiedemann

Filming of MGM’s iconic The Wizard of Oz began on a lot 2,800 kms away in Culver City, California on October 13, 1938. On that very same Thursday, Edmonton began it’s own cinematic legacy, as the doors of The Roxy Theatre opened up for the first time on the corner of 124 Street & 107 Avenue. 

At the time, the Roxy was considered one of the most luxurious movie theatres around, built by I.F. Shacker of Hanna with spring seating, air conditioning, and plenty of legroom! Designed by Edmonton architect William G. Blakey, the Roxy would eventually screen The Wizard of Oz (1939), but the very first feature lit up on the theatre’s marquee was Deanna Durbin’s Mad About Music, which started at 6:00 that evening. 

Eventually, in 1988, the Roxy became a live performance venue, and by 1989 was the home of the Theatre Network and their Nextfest. It remained one of Edmonton’s most beloved venues for local artists up until January 13, 2015. That day, the Roxy burnt to the ground, forever changing the landscape of 124th. 

The Theatre Network immediately chose to rebuild in the ashes of the old Roxy, but even if they had chosen an alternate location, 124th would have endured. You see, it has become so much more over the years - and decades - than just the Roxy, and it will continue as so for years to come. 

124th is sorta like Whyte Avenue’s mature brother, where culture is more of a focal point than drinks and dancing. There isn’t much of a nightlife scene along 124th (from Jasper to 109 Avenues), but during the day there are cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and nearly a dozen art galleries and studios. 

The Duchess Bake Shop on 124th Street is usually busy as sh*t! But it's so worth it!

A few steps from the old Roxy is The Duchess Bake Shop, which was named one of the best bakeries in the entire world in 2015 by BuzzFeed. Further down the street is local-focused North 53, which was listed as the place to eat in Edmonton by National Geographic. And of course, just off 124th and 102 Avenue is High Street, full of independent shops and exceptional eateries like Violino Ristorante, Urban Diner, and The Manor Bistro

Whatever it is you’re in the mood for, 124th is sure to have it! #yeg124


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