Dozens of Edmontonians braved the cold tonight to join Mayor Iveson, Councillor McKeen, Councillor Knack, and Downtown Business Association Executive Director Jim Taylor for the official launch of the Edmonton Neon Sign Museum on 4th Street Promenade. After probably a bit too much talking, the signs were introduced and the lights came on one-by-one.
Here’s an overview of the museum:
The primary purpose of this project is to develop an outdoor historic neon sign museum in downtown Edmonton to celebrate the history of neon signage in the city, and to create an engaging outdoor space for cultural tourism as part of the bustling 104th Street Promenade. This unique museum fosters activity and walking traffic in the surrounding area, acting as a light-based form of urban beautification for downtown Edmonton.
The project has been years in the making. Work began in 2008 and the museum has been consistently championed by city planner David Holdsworth, who originated the idea.
The City of Edmonton Heritage Planning has been collecting the historic neon signs at The City of Edmonton Archives over the past few years, salvaging them from both demolished buildings and from buildings where new businesses moved in and removed the signs. The City has collected twelve signs that represent some of the early signage styles and iconic signage forms in Edmonton. The Museum will continue to grow as additional signs – a goal of 30 total – are added in the coming years. Each of the current signs has an accompanying plaque with text panels that tell the stories of the signs, and by doing so the signs speak to the history of Edmonton.
For more on the history of the project, check out Omar’s piece.
The museum currently features signs from Mike’s News Stand, Canadian National Railway freight-telegrams, Northern Alberta Railway, XL Furniture, W.W. Arcade, Cliff’s Auto Parts, an unidentified drugstore, and Canadian Furniture. Signs still to come are from the Princess Theatre, Pantages Theatre, the Georgia Baths, and a second sign from the W.W. Arcade.
You can see more photos here. Stay tuned for much better photos from the local Flickr group as well!