The beautiful symmetry of downtown Edmonton’s newest signs

It’s probably just a coincidence that the signage on Rogers Place went up the same week as Melcor and Make Something Edmonton’s Wall of Encouragement did, but I think there’s a beautiful symmetry in that. With Rogers Place we have a shiny beacon of the megaproject-based transformation of downtown Edmonton, and with the “take a risk” words we see a physical reflection of the many smaller but no less important changes that are taking place. We need both.

Wall of Encouragement

Melcor and Make Something Edmonton collaborated with local designer Clay Lowe to install the new mural on the north facing wall of the 100 St. Place building. It reads, “Take a risk. It’s the most Edmonton thing you can do.” This is straight out of the Make Something Edmonton brand book, and while some see the mural as mere propaganada and a missed opportunity for “real art”, I like it.

“Risk taking is a fibre embedded in Edmontonians. It’s an entrepreneurial tick that each of us has, but only some of us listen to.”

The new mural was installed almost exactly five years after Todd Babiak spoke at Pecha Kucha Night 10 about “the wall” and interventions. He was referring to a different Melcor wall back then (the one behind the Edmonton Journal building) but his intent was always to impact more than the view out his window. Five years later, Make Something Edmonton carries the torch forward with partners like Melcor.

Wall of Encouragement

You can get a great view of the new mural from Churchill Square and the Tix on the Square building.

“Our aim is not only to encourage our citizens to take action on a project of their own, but also to challenge our fellow building owners to join us in treating empty walls as canvases for colour and inspiration.”

I hope this does indeed inspire some building owners to look at their exterior walls differently.

Rogers Place

A few blocks away on 104 Avenue and 104 Street, construction on Rogers Place continues at a rapid pace. This week the “Rogers Place” signage started to go up on the west side of the building. It’s one of many milestones as the September 10 public open house approaches:

“With the letters going up, you can really start to see the building look like it does in the renderings,” said Mike Widdifield, Senior Project Manager for PCL.

I see the new arena every single day and I always feel like it is so much smaller than Rexall Place. But maybe that’s just because I’m used to it. From a distance, Rogers Place does indeed dominate the skyline.

Downtown Edmonton

The Rogers Place groundbreaking took place on March 3, 2014 and although it appears that the arena will open on time this fall, the construction won’t end there. The new Stantec Tower, JW Marriott hotel, Legends private residences, and many other projects will keep the area under construction through 2020.

Downtown Sunset

Fewer blank walls and fewer surface parking lots (hiccups notwithstanding), that is downtown Edmonton’s future.