Edmonton's Urban Villages
The Community League Movement
How did a collection of neighbourhood volunteer organizations come to influence the development of a major Canadian city? Few other North American cities have embraced the community league movement with the vigour of Edmonton. For 87 years, tens of thousands of volunteers from the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) have often acted as a counterweight to large private and institutional interests, shaping municipal development by providing a voice and a training ground for grassroots civic participation. In its wake, the EFCL has left a host of sports, cultural, and civic initiatives for the improvement of Edmonton, and an important lesson on how to create community.
"Ron Kuban, a longtime community activist has documented the history of our community leagues. .If you have ever worked a bingo for your community, cheered your kids on the soccer field or went to city council with your neighbours to fight a developer, you might want to take a look at this book. ...Kuban describes the growth of the movement, which was borrowed from the city club concept started in Rochester, N. Y., to provide a forum for citizens and be a watchdog over local issues. ...Kuban's book brings to life some of the volunteer characters who have kept the community ideals alive. " Mike Sadava, The Edmonton Journal, July 23, 2005
"Edmonton rightly prides itself on its history of community volunteers. The community league movement plays a central role in this history, and now the disparate pieces of that story have been pulled together into a compelling narrative for the first time. " Ken Tingley, The Edmonton Journal, October 16, 2005
"Having served in many capacities during his more than 20 years volunteering with Edmonton's community league movement, Kuban tells the history of the Canadian prairie city since the early 20th century through the achievements of its ordinary citizens. Each chapter focuses on a period with particular challenges or features, such as the Depression and World War II, the post-war oil boom, growth and immigration, and reinventing and reinvesting in the 21st century. " Reference & Research Book News, May 2006.
"(Kuban) has a sense of how the community view fits into the broader history of Edmonton, [Edo] Nyland [Special Projects Manager, Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues] says. 'If people want to understand how Edmonton works, and why Edmonton works the way it does, I think Ron's book is a great place to start'. " Rachel Hohn, The Edmonton Examiner, August 17, 2005