Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton
In 2004 Laurence Decore—former Edmonton lawyer, mayor, Ukrainian community activist, multiculturalism advocate and leader of Alberta’s official Opposition—was honoured with a stretch of road along Saskatchewan Drive from Groat Road to 99 Street. Designated Laurence Decore Lookout, it offers spectacular views of the river valley and downtown.
A city councillor from 1974 to 1977, lawyer and businessman Laurence Decore became Edmonton’s second mayor of Ukrainian origin in 1983. He left municipal politics five years later to lead the Alberta Liberals and in 1993, as the rejuvenated party enjoyed its greatest success in decades, became leader of the official Opposition. Decore’s grandparents (the original surname was Dikur) had homesteaded east of the city, but his father John, who represented the Liberals in the House of Commons, chose law as a profession. Like both parents, Decore involved himself in Ukrainian community life and worked actively on behalf of a variety of Ukrainian causes. They included, in the Canadian context, the introduction in the 1970s of bilingual education in Alberta schools (with Edmonton the site of the pilot project) through the efforts of Edmonton’s Ukrainian Professional and Business Club in which Decore played a prominent role. They included, in the Ukrainian context, after Ukraine’s independence in 1991 and while still an MLA, chairing the Canada-Ukraine Business Initiative. Decore also actively promoted a wider multiculturalism, and crucially one that enjoyed taxpayer support, not only in Edmonton as mayor and as a provincial politician, but also at the national level. In 2004, five years after his death, Edmonton honoured Decore with a four-kilometre stretch of road designated as Laurence Decore Lookout. Extending along Saskatchewan Drive from Groat Road to 99 Street and marked with black-and-white signs, it offers spectacular views of the river valley and downtown, especially at night and especially from the viewing platform constructed at the intersection with Gateway Boulevard in Old Strathcona. For most of the distance, a pleasant walking and running path occupies the narrow space between the natural vegetation denoting the top of the riverbank and Saskatchewan Drive. Laurence Decore is buried at St. Michael Cemetery.