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Thursday, February 19, 2015

New banners brighten downtown bridges

The next time you’re in Calgary’s Centre City, look up. Seven of the downtown bridges and Olympic Plaza have recently been outfitted with colourful new banners by local artist Karen Klassen.

The banners, commissioned through The City of Calgary’s Centre City Banner Program, and in partnership with Public Art, highlight moments of discovery as told through six of Grimm’s fairy tales.

“In each of these fairy tales there is an epic moment of discovery for the characters that changes the course of their lives,” Klassen says. “I see the bridges that span our rivers as opportunities for discovery within the neighbourhoods they lead us to.”

Klassen’s fascination with the fairy tales began at an early age. For this project, she chose to focus on six specific tales: Ashputtel, Briar Rose, Iron Hans, The Golden Bird, Snowdrop and Jorinde and Joringel.

“The richness, texture and detail included on the banners can be viewed and appreciated from a variety of scales, whether a person is walking, cycling or driving into downtown,” says Graham Gerylo, Project Manager, Centre City Implementation.

Since the Centre City Banner Program began in 2008, a dozen local artists have been commissioned to provide artwork specifically for use on the Olympic Plaza pergola and key gateway bridges leading into the greater downtown area. You can find the banners on the 14 Street, 10 Street, Centre Street, Langevin (Edmonton Trail), Zoo, Inglewood (9 Avenue) and MacDonald bridges.

Visit for more information and to view past and present artwork. More of Klassen’s work can be seen at

About Calgary’s Centre City

Calgary’s Centre City is the economic, cultural and social hub of our city, home to more than 6,000 businesses, 39,000 Calgarians, 25 public parks and hundreds of events and festivals. In 2007, City Council approved The Centre City Plan, a comprehensive and strategic long-term vision for the future of this area. Calgary’s Centre City includes the Downtown Core, Downtown West, Eau Claire, Chinatown East Village, Beltline and Stampede Park.

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