McKernan is located in southwest Edmonton. It is bounded by University Avenue to the north, 113th Street and part of the Belgravia neighbourhood to the west, 72nd Avenue to the south, and 109th Street to the east.

McKernan and the City of Strathcona was amalgamated by Edmonton in 1912, but area development was delayed until McKernan Lake was drained in the 1940s. Between 1913 and 1947, the McKernan Lake Streetcar, known as the Toonerville Trolley, operated along 76th Avenue from Calgary Trail to 116th Street. The trolley was replaced with the streetcar in 1948. Low-density residential development in the area was substantively completed between 1947 and 1953.

The first walk-up apartment buildings were added to the neighbourhood in the 1950s, and additional apartments were added in the 1960s and 1970s. The northern portion of McKernan was subdivided in the traditional grid street pattern, but part of the southern portion was subdivided with a curvilinear street pattern. As with many mature neighbourhoods, the residential component in McKernan is predominantly single-family.

A small commercial centre is located in the centre of McKernan along 76th Avenue. The south Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension includes a new LRT station located at 76th Avenue and 114th Street (opened in 2009), providing residents with improved transit access to amenities throughout the city.

This neighbourhood was named after James McKernan, a prominent businessman and citizen of Edmonton’s early rival, the City of Strathcona. The land on which the McKernan neighbourhood now sits was part of the original land holding of James McKernan. The original farmhouse of the McKernan family, demolished in 1940, was located where the McKernan Elementary-Junior High School now sits.

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