Place Name: Alex Taylor Road
Feature Type (Year Approved): Road (1958)
Name Origins: Commemorative
English: occupational name from Anglo-Norman French, Middle English taillour ‘tailor’ (Old French tailleor, tailleur).
From: Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland
Cultural Affiliation: British
Naming Edmonton: From Ada to Zoie
A school and a road are named in honour of Alex Taylor (1854-1916), the founder of many of Edmonton's earliest institutions. He was a pioneer newspaperman and businessman who, among many other enterprises, owned the city's first telephone company. Alex Taylor School (built in 1908) is located immediately west of Alex Taylor road.
In 1879 Taylor came west from Ottawa to take the position of telegraph operator at Hay Lakes, more than 30 kilometres east of Fort Edmonton. This was the closest station to the fort at the time. By 1880, Taylor and other local entrepreneurs had extended the line to John Walter's property, located directly across the North Saskatchewan River from the fort. Over this line, he took down news bulletins that went into the Edmonton Bulletin, the city's first newspaper, which Taylor founded with Frank Oliver in 1881.
In 1884 he brought the first telephone to Edmonton and, on November 1, 1887, made the first long distance call, to Battleford, 480 kilometres away. Within a year, there were twelve telephones in Edmonton, all made possible by Taylor's early telephone company later incorporated as The Edmonton District Telephone Company. Taylor was a majority stockholder in the Edmonton Electric Light Company, established in 1891, the post master from 1893 to 1896, and from 1886 to 1909, Taylor was also chairman of the Edmonton School Board.
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