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Home & Garden

Downtown Condo Living

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No lawns to mow, no driveways to shovel, no sidewalks to ice chip and shovel, no outside maintenance. If you forget an item from your shopping list, it’s not that far to drop back to the store and grab it.

Most of the doctor’s offices are located downtown. And more importantly, so is the hospital (now equipped with a state-of-the-art helipad for medevac services like Local HERO).

Most of the shopping and restaurants are downtown. Most of the commerce is downtown, sometimes just steps away. Many of the places of worship are also downtown...

Now how convenient is all that?

Bill de Silva once said that “Our city of Fort McMurray must be the only one in Canada that has totally ignored the value right here on our doorstep.”

De Silva, along with his son Liam, have developed a parcel of land downtown close to the Clearwater.

Downtown living provides residents plenty of different amenities and is slowly developing into a  focal point for the Northern Region complete with increased recreation opportunities for enhanced lifestyles.


The best five things about downtown condo living as listed in no particular order by Liam de Silva, are:

  1. Easy access to restaurants
  2. Heated parking garages
  3. Close to hospital and medical facilities
  4. Close to the river for water activities -and-
  5. All the big box stores are downtown


“Our River Station District has condos with balconies overlooking the Heritage Clearwater River and access to a boat launch area soon to be upgraded by the city.

“Mother Nature abuts your residential condo. With all the necessities on the main floor,” he notes.

Downtown condo living is well suited to everyone from singles to families to seniors and to those of us who totally uninterested in shoveling driveways and mowing lawns.

Urban dwellers opting for all the conveniences of condo living downtown also have the added attraction of Mother Nature at their fingertips, able to enjoy the benefits of active riverside living where they can hike, bike, fish and enjoy winter; in fact, all the seasons.

While life downtown is full of little conveniences, who can resist a walk along the Snye or through Borealis Park or taking the children tobogganing on the hill at Snye Point or using the waterpark at Borealis Park. Don’t forget the trails winding around MacDonald Island Park next to the Athabasca River and a spectacular view of the confluence of the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers.

Some residents are lucky enough to escape the daily commute to work whether at site or not;  able to walk to work.

Over the past decade, Fort McMurray’s core has become more pedestrian friendly. A stroll along Fraser Avenue, for example, can reveal some hidden treasures, giving residents the opportunity to shop at a consignment store, drop next door for a coffee while browsing shelves of used books and a couple of blocks down, wander through rooms crowded with colourful and interesting objects of old at an antique store.

Condo living downtown also offers an opportunity not found anywhere else in Fort McMurray, let alone many Northern Alberta towns: Urbane waterfront lifestyle.

While downtown areas are typically viewed as the busy hustle and bustle centres of cities, Fort McMurray’s downtown core also has plenty of opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment.

These days, developments along the shores of the Clearwater River are offering modern living with easier access to recreation.

Ever notice just how busy Snye Point is, as people launch their jet boats, canoes, kayaks, and sea doos in the warmer weather and snowmobiles in winter?

Such a lifestyle definitely pays homage to the unique transportation methods that helped settle this area. It is also a treat to watch float planes taking off and landing in the Snye.

Let’s not forget all those lazy days of summer as people leisurely float along the Clearwater on a variety of inflatables.

“Our River Station District has a unique heritage of railway lines and barges,” says Bill. “This was the location of a railway line that stopped here and unloaded goods that were rolled into barges that went up the Athabasca. It was the gateway to service the North. The barges are still in the boat museum today.”

With bicycle and jogging paths, a riverside boardwalk for strolls past historic vessels that once cruised the Clearwater River and terraced steps providing access to the water, a public dock and boat launch, LIAM’s waterfront development proves you don’t have to be in a major urban centre to find cultured living in a rural northern city.

“Fort McMurray has an educated population of professionals from all over the world that are looking for a semblance of what they have been used to in their own countries,” notes Liam. “We have all that in this inner city.”

Foodies can satisfy cravings thanks to a growing selection of eateries; coffee aficionados have choices for their java stops; salons, clothing stores, art galleries, car washes ….. “It all adds up to the lifestyle that the inner city needs,” says Liam.

He describes the River Station District as the first real, walkable inner-city project planned and executed in Fort McMurray.

“We are just not building it; we are changing the landscape,” adds Bill.

“The mixed-use for live, work and play has been the basis of the development while trying to capture the breathtaking views of the waterfront and the surrounding hills.”

He regards River Station District as a vibrant neighbourhood of parks, health and wellness, residences, hotels, restaurants, craft beer, lattes … “that will satisfy the appetite of urban dwellers seeking a lively place to call home.”


One of those people who arrived in Fort McMurray for a short time – six months - but eight years later is still here. Love this place, the people, the outdoor escapades and the incredible heart of the community. Work hard, volunteer lots and would rather sit and chat with someone than do housework. Passport always at the ready to jet off to some wonderful global locale. So much to see and do.