There is no doubt that 2021 was another tough year. The pandemic is not over, and supporting your favourite local businesses remains the best way to make sure they are there when everybody can shop and dine in-person again. Through it all, many have kept their doors open and we also welcomed more than 50 new businesses to Old Strathcona last year!
Here’s a quick rundown on all of the new faces and places you’ll find around Whyte Avenue on your next visit.
And make sure to share all of your new favourites with friends, family and social media followers! Nearly all of the new businesses are on Instagram, and you’ll find them on Facebook and other social media networks too (including Twitter and TikTok).
Retail shops and stores
Retail therapy has never felt so good. As in-person shopping became a regular thing again last year, a dozen new shops opened in Old Strathcona, building on what is already Edmonton’s favourite main street shopping destination.
If you aren’t back to shopping IRL yet, that’s ok. Many stores offer curbside pickup and even delivery.
- Pedego brought the city its first e-bike store and Edmontonians helped make it one of the busiest locations for the company.
- Winners opened in the old Chapters space.
- Alt Vape opened right in the heart of Whyte.
- TGIF Tees popped up in Print Machine’s old spot just off Whyte, bringing all the 90s vibes.
- We upped our vintage and streetwear cred with From Another Flea on the weekends (right across the hall from From Another) New Life Clothing Co opening a studio space.
- The Butchers Son is bringing the meat to east Whyte.
- Boocha opened their tasting room as part of a growing number of back alley businesses.
- Cocktail Culture will make sure your home bar is professional.
- The Artisan Emporium opened a storefront with local food products, and they’re going workshops too. If you’ve ever had Andy’s beef jerky, you know these folks from markets around Edmonton.
- Goth Unite came down from 118 Avenue.
- And to close out the year, ANNMS moved into a new location around the corner from their old shop and on the ground (downstairs from Spotlight Cabaret).
Fitness and health
We may all have a few more treadmills, bikes and yoga mats at home now, but it’s still good to get fit with folks who know what they’re doing. And Old Strathcona is always a great place to find your next fitness class, workout buddy, and the gear to help you feel great.
We were happy to welcome a handful of new fitness and health businesses to the neighbourhood in 2021.
- Yoga Within moved to the neighbourhood, in the Roots on Whyte building.
- Central Edmonton Aerial Performing Arts Club is flying high above Old Strathcona.
- Reach Phsyio is open beside United Sport, offering physiotherapy and specialized hand therapies.
- Pedego – Yes, we just mentioned them above, but you can also rent e-bikes if you’re looking to try a new way to explore the neighbourhood and Edmonton.
Food and drink
Doors weren’t always open in 2021, but kitchens in Old Strathcona have never been busier. Even with public health restrictions closing indoor dining a number of times, 20 new businesses added to our vibrant food and drink scene.
Our current Covid wave makes ordering online and buying gift cards an important way to start the year and help as many restaurants as possible stay open.
- Roasti Coffee Co. came to #WhyteAve.
- Indian Fusion Curry House moved to this side of the river to spice things up.
- Leopold’s Tavern opened in the historic Strathcona Hotel – which itself re-opened!
- Bandits is still slinging fried chicken tenders and beer below Smokey Bear.
- Pablo Cheese Tart had people lined up for days to get their hands on these tasty treats.
- Namaste India opened a new location right on Whyte.
- Lavotti Lounge and The Luxx joined the nightlife.
- Quickly Bubble Tea and Papa Murphy’s opened locations.
- Drizzle Ice Cream added one more ice cream option to your Old Strathcona visits and Woahnuts got their own place (although they’ll be sharing it with Waffle Bird).
- The Woodrack Café returned after the briefest of absences, giving Sugared & Spiced and Boxer some company in the revamped Strathcona Back Street.
- Tanjiang Restaurant quickly moved in after Pizza Hut departed West Whyte.
- Vanak Café is bringing all-day breakfast, and Persian breakfast, to East Whyte.
- Café Bel Air opened a Mauritian tea house where La Boule used to be, making sure West Ritchie is home to delicious pastries once again (and popsicles too)!
- Strathcona Microgreens is offering an easy way to get some greens into your meals.
- And Mr Capy hit the streets, expanding the South American offerings of the Avila Arepa crew.
Personal and beauty services
After too many home haircuts in 2020, it was great to be able to let the professionals do their thing. It was also a good year to treat yourself a little bit, and maybe even get a new tattoo.
Nearly 20 new personal service shops opened around Old Strathcona in 2021. You know every one of them is on Instagram!
- Pansy Poke Collective
- Brooke & Canvas
- Incantations Electric Tattoos & Apothecary is a revamped tattoo shop in a new location.
- Lazybones Tattoo
- Death Omen Tattoos
- Tristen Jenni Art
- Quinntessential Salon
- Anonymous Hair came right back to Whyte in a more central location
- Barber Ha opened a one-chair shop in the Strathcona Hotel.
- BB Hair & Beauty
- Iterum Studio
And for all your other personal care and beauty needs:
When Edmontonians think about Old Strathcona, they likely think about a great night out, things they’ve bought, or even their favourite hairdresser. But with around 600 businesses in the neighbourhood, there’s even more than that!
Take a look at the second floor of many buildings on Whyte Avenue, and plenty of spots just off the Ave., and you’ll find offices, workshop spaces and a bunch of folks who come to the neighbourhood for their 9-5.
Here are a few businesses that opened in 2021 and can offer you their professional advice.
- Soulflame Creative Services
- Perigon Commercial
- Hair Inc. opened a second location just on the other side of the tracks in West Ritchie, to grow their education space.
- Little Bird Image Co. photography studio
Only in Old Strathcona
There are a lot of reasons Old Strathcona is Edmonton’s favourite main street district. And you may have noticed that some businesses on this list cross industries and categories because they do big things, their own thing, and always unexpected things. That’s just how it goes around here.
We had nearly 60 new businesses open their doors and expand in 2021, and here are 4 spots that capture a little of what makes Whyte Ave. the Whyte Ave. we all love.
- Foundry Room opened an event loft space on Whyte.
- The Strathcona Hotel re-opened after renovations and is ready for its second century.
- Sid’s Selfie World is offering a new way to fill your Instagram feed.
- Eyemazy had a short run inside The Quiltbag and is now returning to Old Strathcona on West Whyte.
- SouthBARK is a pop-up dog park across from the new Southpark on Whyte building (the park is open year-round to everyone and all dogs).
What are some of your new favourite businesses in Old Strathcona? Share, share, share! We want everyone to find new places to shop, eat, and treat themselves in 2022.
Coming up in 2022
We’re expecting a big year!
Here are just a few of the new places we’re expecting to open very soon in Old Strathcona.
- Honey Jam is back right now!
- We also just heard that Fuwa Fuwa Japanese Pancakes is opening in Old Strathcona.
- PACT Coffee & Baked Doughtnuts will be opening in February in the former Starbucks on Whyte. Across the street, The MASH is building their first Edmonton location in the former Second Cup.
- Pals will be a sandwich spot from the Next Act crew, as they expand across the street into the former Packrat Louie space (most recently the home of The Woodrack Cafe).
- Bibo wine bar – a beloved micro-bar Culina previously had beside their Mill Creek restaurant on 99 Street – about to make a return to the heart of Old Strathcona.
- Flirty Bird is soon to open on the main floor of the Raymond Block (on Whyte Ave, in the same building as Remedy).
- Watch for Waffle Bird to join Woahnuts just off Whyte on 101 Street.
- Community Taps and Pizza will be moving into the old Have Mercy space above El Cortez – with one of the best neon signs in the city.
- And Eyemazy is coming back after a summer pop-up in The Quiltbag’s space. You’ll find Eyemazy on west Whyte, in the recently vacated Kent of Inglewood shop. (You can still find Kent products two doors down at Knifewear).