The west side of the downtown core is where Oliver is located, overlooking the North Saskatchewan River valley at the southern part of the neighbourhood. The river valley which is located directly below Oliver houses Edmonton’s Royal Glenora Club, Victoria Golf Course, and Victoria Park, which is largely used by people in Edmonton. The residents of Oliver can access the south side by using both the Groat Bridge and High-Level Bridge. The Victoria Promenade is part of Edmonton’s Heritage Trail and offers unrivalled views of the river valley towards the western end of Oliver. The Canadian National Railway once had a rail yard and right of way at the north of the neighbourhood. The yard has given way to redevelopment and now includes Oliver Square and Oliver Square West strip shopping centres, apartment buildings, warehouse converted shops and a carpark for the MacEwan campus situated downtown.
The City of Edmonton recorded 19,135 people in 13,914 living in the community in its 2014 municipal census. This was a 3.0% increase in its 2012 population of 18,580. The land area of 1.72 km2 (0.66 sq mi), made its population density of 11,125 people/km2 in 2014.
As far as density goes, Oliver is one of the most densely populated communities in Edmonton and West Edmonton is considered Alberta’s most densely populated location. It also has the highest population of any neighbourhood in Edmonton of 18,203 as recorded in 2009.
Edmonton’s early West End was Oliver. While the city grew, Oliver started to feature more as a central neighbourhood and this resulted in a significant amount of redevelopment. In the 2001 federal census, the majority of the residences in Oliver were constructed in the 1960s or later, and only one residence in seven (14.5%) dating from 1960 and earlier.
Starting in the 1960s, Oliver undertook a significant redevelopment plan, with many high-rise apartment buildings getting built. High rise buildings started to dominate the city skyline. Around one in three (30.4%) of residences were built between 1961 and 1970. Then approximately one in three residences (31.9%) were built between 1971 and 1980. In the early 1980s another one in seven (13.7%) residences were built. The speed of redevelopment started to lose pace after 1985.
According to the 2005 municipal census, the most common type of residence was rented apartments. The style of these apartments were buildings with five or more stories, known as high rise apartment buildings. These buildings account for two out of every three (66%) residences in the area. Roughly seven out of ten of these units are leased. Of the remaining residences, most are low rise apartments with fewer than five stories. The majority are rented and make up around one out of three (31%) of all the residences in Oliver. The number of rentals approximate to four out of every five buildings.
There are a smaller number of duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, row houses and single-family homes.
In the 2014 municipal census, the City of Edmonton recorded that nearly two out of ten (17.1%) residents located to Oliver in 12 months or less. The number of residents that had been in the same dwelling between one and three years was one in five (18.1%). A little over one in four (28.1%) residents had lived in the same address for five years or more.
Queen Mary Park is to the north of Oliver, to the northeast is Central McDougall, and to the west and northwest is Westmount. The boundaries are 124 Street to the west, the north is bounded by 105 Avenue, and to the east is 110 Street.
One of the best-known places of worship in Oliver is St. Joseph’s Basilica. It was originally named St. Joseph’s Cathedral, but when Pope John Paul II visited Edmonton in his visit in 1984, the name was changed to what it is known today.
Other places of worship in Oliver are the Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Evangelical Mission to Ukraine, Christ Church (Anglican), Beth Shalom Synagogue, Jesus is Lord Fellowship, Evangelical Mission to Ukraine, Jesus is Lord Fellowship, House of Refuge Mission, Grace Lutheran, The Oblate Missionaries Secular Institute, St. Joachim Church and Robertson Wesley United Church.
The Beth Israel Synagogue relocated to Oleskiw from Oliver.
Shopping and services
The Oliver area houses a significant number of commercial units.
Most of the rail yards of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways made way for redevelopment. Largely making way for strip shopping centres. including Oliver Square and Oliver Square West that locates itself along the norther boundary of the community. The Canadian Pacific rail yard, that is located to the immediate east of Oliver, has also been redeveloped and is now a strip shopping centre.
Jasper Avenue snakes through Oliver, and most of this street houses shops, restaurants, and other commercial services. The west edge of the neighbourhood line the street of 124 Street, which also includes shops and businesses. To the west of Oliver, is the neighbourhood of Westmount, are several shops and services and is a location for the High Street, another strip shopping centre.