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History Of Village At Griesbach

Posted On: 08/15/2016

Village at Griesbach is built on the site of a former Canadian Forces Base. Canada Lands Company, the community’s developer, have made it part of their mission statement to respect and honour the military legacy of every site they are entrusted with. This is achieved through recognition of military heroes, battles, regiments and civilian support groups that made contributions during conflict being honoured in neighbourhood public spaces, street signs, hardware and amenity appointments.

The property had more than 50 derelict buildings and 750 permanent married quarters (pmq’s). more than 1 million dollars were spent on environmental remediation of the site. buildings which were not salvageable were demolished, while those that could be rehabilitated, renovated and retrofitted were rebuilt and sold at market prices to the public featuring modern fixtures and finishes while retaining their historic character.

Major General William Antrobus Griesbach

William Antrobus Griesbach, the seven-year-old son of a local North West Mounted Police Inspector, was among the spectators watching when the Alberta Field Force reached Edmonton in its march from southern Alberta during the 1885 rebellion. Fifteen years later young Griesbach was an Edmonton law student when the call to arms sounded again, this time to support Britain against the Boers in the South African War. Griesbach dropped his studies to join up as a trooper in the Canadian Mounted Rifles. After his combat tour, Griesbach returned home to establish a law practice, and quickly became involved in local politics. 

In 1907 he was elected mayor of Edmonton, nicknamed “the Boy Mayor.” Griesbach remained interested in military matters, and successfully lobbied for a militia cavalry unit to be located in Edmonton. On February 1, 1908 the 19th Alberta Mounted Rifles were established, with Lieutenant Griesbach one of its officers. In 1911, the unit was renamed the 19th Alberta Dragoons, by which time Griesbach was a Major. A few years later he played a key role in what was to become The Loyal Edmonton Regiment.

Formation of the Regiment

The Loyal Edmonton Regiment began in January, 1915 when the 49th Battalion headed by Lieutenant Colonel Griesbach started recruiting soldiers at the outbreak of World War I. With the ranks filled in less than two weeks, the battalion trained for several months before departing to England in May 1915.In Dec 1915, the 49th joined three other battalions- the Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and the 42nd Battalion form Montreal, to form the 7th Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division. There battalions would fight together for the duration of the war.

Today, the Village is proud to recognize the incredible achievement and heroic actions of our namesake William Griesbach, who with the support of his wife Janet Lauder Griesbach  helped make greater Edmonton and to a lesser extent the world and much better place.