Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chinatown gets a makeover to celebrate centennial year

As one of The City-led projects for the Chinatown Centennial Celebrations, beautification and restoration efforts are underway to highlight the history of the people in Chinatown as well as to make it a place where Calgarians feel welcome and safe.

The City’s beautification efforts were already planned and budgeted for in existing Centre City revitalization work plans. The timing of these improvements has been streamlined so they could be tied into centennial plans.

“We’ve taken the work that we already had on the books and said ‘How can we leverage it to maximize the improvements during this time of celebration in Chinatown?’” said Deb White, Community Resource Services Coordinator with The City,

In addition to vivid banner-art waving on red lampposts and planters full of vibrant flowers, new recycling bins will be installed to discourage street litter.

Beautifully wrapped signal boxes and and a number of commuity-led murals will adorn walls.

In addition to aesthetic changes, Calgarians will see improvements to major infrastructure in the area.

“This fall, you’ll see improved lighting to the Centre Street Bridge that will accent the historical structure while increasing visibility,” said White.

“Also, along the riverfront, the popular River Walk pathway project will be extended from 3rd Street to Centre Street to improve bike and pedestrian access and make it safer for everyone to enjoy.”

Sien Lok Park is the main green space in Chinatown and it will also be redeveloped to enhance its role as a community gathering place.

Like all Centre City improvements, these beautification efforts are intended to improve Calgary’s core.

Flower planters:
  • The flowers in the planters are mainly red and gold - traditional Chinese colours for celebration. Bamboo adorns the flower pots as a cultural symbol of longevity.
Street Banners & Signal Boxes:
  • “I created this series (of banners) to celebrate the struggle of citizenship for the individuals who occupied this space and made it what it is today,” says award winning Canadian artist Christine Cheung about the vivid banners she designed for Chinatown’s lampposts.
  • Other street banners show colourful images of bamboo and blossoms, which will also be used on signal and electrical boxes in Chinatown to discourage graffiti.
Recycling bins:
  • Through The City’s Clean to the Core initiative, recycling bins in Chinese and English, marked with the centennial logo, will be added to Chinatown’s streets.
  • Large murals expressing a number of cultural themes and images will be painted on many of Chinatown’s blank walls. 
Sien Lok Park Improvements:
  • As Chinatown’s only park, improvements are planned to maximize the green space. A stakeholder engagement process will start in the fall to hear from community members on how the park functions and what the design should be.
For more about the Chinatown Centenary efforts visit or call 3-1-1.

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