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East Kildonan is located on the east side of the Red River north of the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. It was originally organized as the Municipality of Kildonan in 1876, taking the name of a Scottish parish from which many of the Selkirk Settlers had originated. It was comprised of river lots, long strips of land laid out along the banks of the Red River. On these lots farmed many members of the original Selkirk Settler families that had first settled on the west side of the Red in the early 1810s. Added to these were retiring fur trade employees and Metis families.

By the early 1900s, the area, similar to Winnipeg and the surrounding communities, experienced a sometimes frantic growth phase that would last until World War I. This growth included all facets of life - new industries and businesses organized, old residential districts expanded and new districts were created and services, such as streetcars, began pushing further and further from the downtown.

In Kildonan, on the east side of the Red River, this expansion translated into a number of significant changes. The southern part of the Municipality became part of the City of Winnipeg as Ward 7 (Elmwood) in 1906. In 1914 the Municipality of Kildonan was divided into the municipalities of East and West Kildonan with the Red River as the dividing line. 

As with West Kildonan, East Kildonan evolved into two disparate regions- the south saw increased residential and commercial development, taking on a more urban character, while in the north, the large tracts of farmland and market gardens continued, with little new development. As a result, in 1925, the northern portion separated to form the Municipality of North Kildonan (the boundary was Oakland Avenue), after agreeing to pay $80,000 as its share of the East Kildonan debt. The City of East Kildonan was incorporated in 1957 and was the only suburban government in favour of the Unicity amalgamation in 1972.