McKernan and the City of Strathcona became part of Edmonton through amalgamation in 1912. However, development of the area was delayed until the 1940s when McKernan Lake, located between 110 and 114 Streets and 72 and 76 Avenues, was drained. 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.
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. The McKernan Community League was established in 1932.