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Thread: Churchill Square improvements

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    Default Churchill Square improvements

    http://www.630ched.com/Channels/Reg/...spx?ID=1189462

    Members of Edmonton City Council aren't happy with the lack of activity on Churchill Square.

    They spent Wednesday morning grilling administration over how "dull" things are, and the need to liven things up.

    Other than the six weeks of festival activity, a person can shoot a cannon off, and not hit anything on the square. Councillor Ben Henderson thinks a big part of the problem is the archaic rules put in place. His favorite is a ban on food vendors. He says it works everywhere else.

    "I keep on asking the question, 'what makes your square work?', and the simple is, you have food vendors," said Coun. Henderson. "We're saying no to the one thing that call pull people in during all seasons."
    Here's some ideas I fired off to Coun. Henderson:

    Hi Ben,

    In regard to attracting more people to Churchill Square, allowing food vendors and closing off 102A Ave are great ideas.
    There is more that could be done though.

    1. 102A Ave can be cobblestoned so there's that curbless continuity between City Hall and the square.

    2. How about a large fountain in the middle of the Square? I'm not sure if the technology exists that it can be removed for certain events. Perhaps something embedded inside that can be covered up when needed?

    3. My greatest and most doable idea is to move the statues from Molson Plaza to Churchill Square. Molson Square is unused and the statues are unnoticed as a result. With Molson Square rumoured to be converted into a skate park, I forsee these pieces of art getting damaged. But rather than shunting the statues off to the sides of Churchill Square like the existing statues there, put them within the square itself.

    Please give these ideas some serious consideration for improving Churchill Square.
    What say, people? Let's brainstorm some other ideas on improving Churchill Square in this thread. Send them to your favorite councillor too.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    How about put the grass and trees back like it was! All they did was turn it into a large concrete pad.

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    ^ You mean put the mud back? That's all it will turn into after a short time.

    It's a public square, not a park. Grass belongs in parks.
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    I have always thought there should have been a fountain in the concrete but it would only really run when it needs to be off for festivals so...

    I think some cool public art that is moveable would be nice. Giant statues or sculpture.

    How about a fire pit (gas) with benches (log style)?
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    ^^I agree re the grass.

    I think a fountain doesn't make sense either as there is already a very large water feature in front of city hall. I'd rather build something that is year round usable, the problem with Churchil square is more winter than summer.

    I wouldn't mind cobbles, and perhaps some artistic sculptures or similar (Ian beat me to it).

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    Get some of those amazing 3D chalk artists to do some paintings.

    http://www.impactlab.com/2006/03/09/...lk-art-photos/

    What about a mini toboggan hill in the winter? Maybe even not so mini.

    I agree with the comment about continuity between city hall and the square.

    Would it be such a disaster to have that section of 102A avenue closed permanently?
    Last edited by Chump; 27-01-2010 at 01:41 PM.

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    I used to think Churchill really needed something "else" to make it more interesting, like more water features, flower beds, public art, different landscaping, whatever. But, really, Churchill is designed fine as what it is served to be... a Central Square. Parks like Centennial Plaza, Beaver Hills House Park, Paul Kane Park, and Louise McKinney Park & Promenade should have the earlier stuff I was discussing. But they aren't central squares. Those parks should have stuff in it that makes it a destination, whereas Central squares should have events and non permanent things to attract people.

    I think if a really good amount of street vendors with a variety of cuisine can fill Churchill decently off-festivals, Churchill could be very vibrant. That itself should be enough!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chump View Post
    Would it be such a disaster to have that section of 102A avenue closed permanently?
    Council already voted in favour of doing this.
    Strathcona City Separatist

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    Food Vendors is a no brainer if you ask me. Why do we have hotdog vendors across the street at Stanley A but not on the square?

    Paving 102A is again a no brainer

    Why not host more events on the square? Make it a year round hot spot to be?

    What about a summer farmers market? Anything like that.
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    ^farmers market isn't necessary if your other two points work out for the majority of the year (aka as many festivals as can, and food vendors every ... or almost every day outside that) not to mention there's a good market 4 blocks over .
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    First things first, the more activities at Churchill, the better. So first course of action should be to fill the square with many more EVENTS year round.

    Barring that, fill the square with STUFF. This can be everything from traditional sculptures and landscape elements to temporary exhibits, pavillions, and PUBLIC ART. Commission artists to make original works, invite the UofA, NAIT, etc. to show off their work, hold competitions for designers to build seasonal (and some permanent) installations.

    Some random musings:


    Schuwburgplein in Rotterdam by WEST8. Big goofy lights that you can manipulate.


    Field of Light by Bruce Munro. Art installation.


    Solar Decathlon by students at TU Darmstadt. A model prototype for passiv building technology.


    'Public Farm' for Moma's PS1 in New York by WorkAC


    Crown Fountain, chicago


    Burnham Pavillion in Chicago by UN studio


    Jardin Metis by Claude Cormier

    Some things obviously cost money, while others are painfully inexpensive:

    ad-hoc football lines added to a square in the UAE.


    Reclaimed abandoned lot in Seville.


    Skateable bench in Philly. While other cities around the world are PURPOSELY including skatable elements into their infrastructure and public furniture, Edmonton frustratingly bans skating, blading, and bmxing in most public places, yet also provides them with no legal alternative (ie. a proper park). What gives?

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    ^Like I stated, those are not for Central Squares. Those are better suited for regular plazas and parks. Bring that to the plazas of the Legislature, new urban parks, Louise Mckinney, Victora Promenade and Grant Notley Park, sure, but the Central square should be a big blank slate of concrete, to give room for events, vendors, and most of all PEOPLE.



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    Renton, brilliant pieces of art showed.

    I agree with the last one a lot! The city poo-poos all things skateboarding. Why? I have never understood it.

    Perhaps install a legal graffitti wall? I think that would be amazing for the square. Much like the one along the LRT tracks going underground?
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    I like this Chalice (in a central square):

    Last edited by moahunter; 27-01-2010 at 03:24 PM.

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    As mentioned in my first post, Molson Square might be turned into a skate park. But that's a different topic entirely.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTA View Post
    ^ You mean put the mud back? That's all it will turn into after a short time.

    It's a public square, not a park. Grass belongs in parks.
    Exactly my point. People go to parks, not to concrete pads! Why do you think they put Central Park in the middle of Manhattan? Because people like to escape their offices and go somewhere different.

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    ^It's not like there are 0 grass filled parks Downtown. The McKay Avenue School, Louise McKinney Park, and the largest urban parkland network in North America come to mind. Go to those for your "grass fix". Central squares are extremely successful if people have reasons to go to them. Parks and reg. plazas can do this with public art, plants, water, etc. and Central squares are supposed to bring temporarily things year round to attract people. Look at General Sam Smith Park in Baltimore, Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, or Union Square in San Francisco. Yes they have some plants and some waterfalls, but so does Churchill. The east side has an ugly placement of grass In my opinion, and the west has EPCOR Waterfall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mi6_ View Post
    Exactly my point. People go to parks, not to concrete pads! Why do you think they put Central Park in the middle of Manhattan? Because people like to escape their offices and go somewhere different.
    The question isn't "why do people go to parks" when Churchill Square isn't designed to be a park, but rather designed to be a public square. The question is "why do people go to public squares" and answer it by looking to other cities where pubic squares are popular as both crossroads and destinations in themselves.

    The solution isn't to go backwards and tear down what we have just built, the solution will be to go forwards and make what we have built work.
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    Some easy ones:

    Summer:
    I'd like to see fitness groups invited to use the space. Perhaps hold morning, lunch, and after-work outdoor yoga in the square. Have downtown running groups start/end there.
    Hold more outdoor trade shows. Perhaps career fairs, youth and rec sports leagues, that kind of stuff.
    Fashion shows.

    Winter:
    Let's truck in some snow (you know, the stuff that we shovel off the streets?) and built a winter-long temporary snowboard/freestyle ski park and let locals hone their skills. You never know, we might even enable some future world champions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mi6_ View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RTA View Post
    ^ You mean put the mud back? That's all it will turn into after a short time.

    It's a public square, not a park. Grass belongs in parks.
    Exactly my point. People go to parks, not to concrete pads! Why do you think they put Central Park in the middle of Manhattan? Because people like to escape their offices and go somewhere different.
    You mean "concrete pads" like Trafalgar Square in London?

    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Default Noooooo!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by mi6_ View Post
    How about put the grass and trees back like it was! All they did was turn it into a large concrete pad.
    NO to the hobo mud pit!
    booo to that ( tomorrow is the future and we dont need the horse and buggy tomorrow)

    Churchill square needs life !,social interaction,music!,food,hot beverages for the winter...
    How about some kinda twist on the Picidilly Circus/Time square Blinking lights kinda thing? a big video moniter with local news or camera views of the rest of our picturesque city.
    Something to attract folks from the new gallery/winspear/city hall/shopping centre ( not the libarary that place has too many violent drug addicts ) draw the happy crowds into the center to sit and marvell at what we have become as a city!
    We need a warm place to sit or stand in the winter months, something to do when we get there,a way to get the folks talking to each other and contributing not hiding under a tree or behind a bush.
    In a world of constant electronic stimulation we need to compete in an intelligent mannor ,art is great ( there is a gallery across the sildwalk from it) but not exactally an ourdoor attraction.
    Tomorrow is gonna be filled with a WHOLE bunch of young people that want to be part of the energy not relaxed with the past!
    We should come up with something to offer them in the way of a future here , something we can be proud to say is OURS !
    I think as a city we need to remain focused on the social interaction that our festivals provide and possibly provide an exciting venue for this here.
    We gotta have more to say to tomorrow than lets go to whyte ave and have a cheap round of shots! lol
    (just a bunch of ramdom thoughts and feelings thanks)

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    Quote Originally Posted by IGNITERS View Post
    How about some kinda twist on the Picidilly Circus/Time square Blinking lights kinda thing? a big video moniter with local news or camera views of the rest of our picturesque city.
    Nonono, anything but this. Toronto tried this with Dundas Square and it comes across as so contrived and copycat it's just stupid.
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    Default ya but ...

    Ya but thats Toronto!?lol
    well , I think you get the point of it though ....

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    Basketball court and an area where kids can be occupied like a park or something with swings ,etc.. also food vendors is good and something that people would want to come and see would help not just a large hunk of cement, pretty boring to look at, kinda exemplifies the deadmonton saying with the way the square is now

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    Quote Originally Posted by IGNITERS View Post
    Ya but thats Toronto!?lol
    well , I think you get the point of it though ....
    Uh, meaning if it isn't going to work in such a big, cosmopolitan city like Toronto, it is definitely not going to in Edmonton. It will probably look too tacky. Only certain types of cities can pull this off, New York and London are some, and Toronto can as well I guess.
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    Got a quick response from Coun. Henderson:

    Re: Churchill Square ideas

    Thanks for your ideas. I wanted to get the debate going and get us thinking about what can be done to make Churchill Sq more active for the casual user when there are no festivals. All are ideas are welcome as we figure out how to make the square the active centre of tour City that it should be.

    Thanks

    Ben

    Ben Henderson
    Councillor, Ward 4
    City of Edmonton

    [email protected]
    Ph: (780) 496-8146
    FAX (780) 496-8113
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Some form of First Nations Art, Display, or activity (like First Nations children's games) might be neat, perhaps some modern art take on a tee-pee or similar?. We have a big first nations population, it would be nice to see some positive imagery year around bang in the centre.
    Last edited by moahunter; 27-01-2010 at 05:34 PM.

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    Does Edmonton have somebody like an events coordinator specificly for Churchill Square? If not, I wouldn't mind seeing sombody in place specificly for bringing activities to the square. Doesn't always need to be big festivals. Just somebody in place actively looking for things to make people want to wander through and spend time there.
    Last edited by ZiZiPop; 27-01-2010 at 08:51 PM.

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    Great location for a wal mart!


    Jokes aside, I liked the grass pre-concrete but as mentioned if there was more things to enjoy concrete works. More statuary, I like some of the interactive stuff you see elsewhere and food vendors are a must- not just hotdogs but other foods too

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    Check out CityGarden in St. Louis. There was a great article about it in last month's Landscape Architecture Magazine. Not much picture here, but what an amazing concept. A bit for everyone:

    http://www.citygardenstl.org/

    I do think though it still needs to be functional as a festival space, as a plaza. Lots of plazas don't have activity in them all the time, it's just their nature. It's not a park, it shouldn't be grass.

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    Folks, permanent sculptures and artwork only attracts people ONCE, that's it! The square will still be dead save for the odd first timer looking at the artwork.

    This idea is GUARANTEED to make Churchill Square vibrant year round.
    Allow venders selling almost anything from food to toys on the square, kind of like a garage sale.
    Key thing here folks, a permit should not be needed to sell things on Churchill Square.
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    ^Those are called flea markets and I don't think anyone wants junk strewn about our premier square.
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    How about they, I dunno, FINISH the square and actually upkeep the little touches. IE...LED lights in the concrete.
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Folks, permanent sculptures and artwork only attracts people ONCE, that's it! The square will still be dead save for the odd first timer looking at the artwork.
    Which is exactly why I proposed that there be rotating or temporary exhibitions. Just look at the success of the Works for example. If that same sort of thing could be extended into other times of the year, I think it could do wonders for the square.

    Really though, I just view art as one possible way to get people to actively engage with the site. Other means to the same goal are among other things: live music, public viewings, sports (yes, even skateboarding!), and markets / retail (as you've suggested).

    In an ideal world, the square wouldn't need any overseerer or direct programming; It would just be a natural place for people to congregate. But lets face it, this is downtown Edmonton, so every effort should be made to have the square filled with events year round. That's the only way you'll draw a sizeable crowd of people. As for what to fill it with, everything and anything I say!
    Last edited by Renton; 28-01-2010 at 02:22 PM. Reason: photo removed cause it was way too big!

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    I wonder what 50 or more active ping pong tables sound like. But yes, rotating exhibits I agree with.

    What city is that Renton - I'm quite familiar with Germany.

    Any possibilty of posting a much smaller version of the photo please
    (is there a way to cap image size at, say, 800x600? mods?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Folks, permanent sculptures and artwork only attracts people ONCE, that's it! The square will still be dead save for the odd first timer looking at the artwork.
    So what? Every little bit will help improve its attractiveness.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Folks, permanent sculptures and artwork only attracts people ONCE, that's it! The square will still be dead save for the odd first timer looking at the artwork.
    Not true. If something is interesting enough, people will visit again. Look at the Cloudgate and many other artpieces in Millennium Park (Chi). While not public art, they do have design appeal the same way art would, look at the fountains of the Legislature. I don't think people just go there just once. Public art can give a nice aesthetic to a place. Unless it's really funky, it won't attract people in droves...but it makes a great accent piece.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chump View Post
    I wonder what 50 or more active ping pong tables sound like. But yes, rotating exhibits I agree with.

    What city is that Renton - I'm quite familiar with Germany.

    Any possibilty of posting a much smaller version of the photo please
    (is there a way to cap image size at, say, 800x600? mods?)
    Yeah, sorry bout that. I didn't realize how big that pic was until after I posted.

    Its from the Schwäbisch Metropole Stuttgart
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    I´m not looking to be snarky here but how many of you spend any of your time occupying the square? My daughter loves our visits there. We mess around on the stairs, play hide and seek among the columns, eat lunch and make up stories about people crossing through. We can easily kill a couple of hours. The personal responsibility argument is way too easy to make here in Alberta but in this case maybe people should just sit their butts down on some of the concrete and take in the sights. Sometimes I wonder if North Americans have been neutered by commercial interests and don´t know how public space is supposed to work.

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    Churchill square is not too bad right now. I do like the one idea of moving some of the statues that are located at Molson Square onto Churchill instead. What I wouldn't mind seeing, especially in the summer is a few semi permanent small vendors, hot dog stand, newspaper vendor, flower vendor, businesses that will get people moving about the square. It's too bad there wasn't another cafe/restaurant closer to city hall or right in city hall, that will bring more life to the square.
    Let's all remember too that one major attraction is about to bring more people out to this are, the Art Gallery. Now if we can bring some additional art work around the gallery that could again attract people to move about more from one corner of the square to the next.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
    Not true. If something is interesting enough, people will visit again. Look at the Cloudgate and many other artpieces in Millennium Park (Chi). While not public art, they do have design appeal the same way art would, look at the fountains of the Legislature. I don't think people just go there just once. Public art can give a nice aesthetic to a place. Unless it's really funky, it won't attract people in droves...but it makes a great accent piece.
    Do you realize how many tourists go to Chicago? The ratio of tourists in Edmonton and Chicago is probably 1 to 100. In Chicago on any given time there will be at least 20 tourists taking pictures of themselves beside the sculptures. The same goes for Trafalgar Square, at any given time 75% of the people at the square will be tourists. I know this because I've been there. You are right about the Legislature fountains attracting people attracting people... during summer! There already is a well used water feature in front of city hall that also does a better job of attracting people in the winter because it is used as a skating rink while the Legislature fountains are not.

    Edmonton is not a tourist mecca in the winter time, so adding artwork to Churchill Square even if it changes will be a lost cause.

    Chmilz, I have never in my life seen a stale flea market. Cities all over the world have them, world cities like Hong Kong, London, and Taipei literally brag about their flea markets in travel brochures for a good reason. They are great places to poke around, look for bargains and haggle on an ideal price for things you probably won't find anywhere else. They are clean, safe and cherished by the neighbourhoods that host them. In Edmonton flea markets are seen as a place where only poor, scruffy people shop. Edmonton's middle to upper class would say "You want ME to come with you to a flea market?? Over my dead body..."

    I dare all uppity Edmontonians to check out their local flea market.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

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    I know this is likely not even a possibility, but I've always wanted to see a big concert there. Set up a stage in front of City Hall and have Churchill for the crowd. Vendors at the back or on the road between Churchill and the Winspear.

    It'd have to be a free concert though, since securing that whole area would be a nightmare.

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    ^ That is another excellent idea!
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

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    The owner of the Three Bananas Cafe had some great ideas when they interviewed him on CBC.
    - Allow a year-round farmer's market to use the square so that downtown residents can get local produce on days other than Saturday
    - use the open space for sporting events: an example being a street hockey tournament

    If you combine this with a few more non-festival events during the year, I think you would accomplish a lot
    Change the incentives and our car-dependant city can change too.

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    in my opinion we are going about this all wrong. Churchhill square isnt, and shouldnt be the destination. It should be the pre-destination and the post-destination. It should be the "hey lets meet at churchill square, grab a bite to eat then lrt it to the hockey game" destination. they key isnt the square itself but everything around it and everything that feeds into it. churchill being the lrt nexus will help in a few years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Folks, permanent sculptures and artwork only attracts people ONCE, that's it! The square will still be dead save for the odd first timer looking at the artwork.

    This idea is GUARANTEED to make Churchill Square vibrant year round.
    Allow venders selling almost anything from food to toys on the square, kind of like a garage sale.
    Key thing here folks, a permit should not be needed to sell things on Churchill Square.
    Always require a permit. Trust me on this one.

    I'd like to see some food vendors, maybe some arts & crafts vendors, and perhaps street performers. Do we kick them out when we have other events (like Taste of Edmonton, The Works, Street Performers Festival)? It's not as simple as I'd like. The vendors want to be there when it's busy.

    You need to have a permit system or you'll have anarchy, and no control over who gets in and who doesn't. And, believe me, you want some form of control. I've seen how busking and street performing work with and without a permit system. There are pros and cons either way, but if done right, a permit system is the only way to go, and far preferable.

    But doing it right is the trick.

    I've spoken to someone about the possibility of paid street performers before. Good ones. I know it would work, but you do need some kind of budget. Maybe one of those hated bloodsucking capitalist types would be interested in being a sponsor.

    It wouldn't cost much to have live entertainment in Churchill Square every day, year-round. But it will cost something. Nobody any good would do it for free.
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    Jimbo, it is best to start with no permits required. A permit system will be useful when demand is high, unfortunately we don't know what the demand is like. Starting off with a permit system in place will turn away many potential venders because they have no idea how many shoppers will shop at Churchill Square. The venders I'm thinking about are small time, they are doing it to see what it is like to sell things but are easily turned away when paperwork and fees are involved. You don't need a permit to sell things on the street in China and it works very well. Many venders carry a rolled-up carpet that has their wares sandwiched in the middle, they go to a spot unroll their carpet and are ready for business. Those kind of venders sell clothing, jewellery, toys etc. I don't see why something like that can't work here.

    To illustrate an example, my friend made a book about his experiences in Edmonton when he was growing up. He told me that it was much easier to write the 100 page book than it is to sell the book. He tried to make a deal with Chapters but he would only get a tiny portion (something like 7%) of the proceeds. He even looked at setting up a booth in the Fringe but they were charging something like $200 for a table. On a rare good day my friend can sell 10 books, $15 each making $150 in gross revenue but you need to deduct more than 70% to cover the cost of printing and publishing. If you were in his shoes, would you want to deal with a permit?
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    Not at that cost. Maybe 10%.

    I couldn't agree more in regards to the Fringe. I went through it too. Their greedy approach is reprehensible. For $50 (I think, it may have been more) I was offered a specific 1/2 hour (not in peak time) in a circle for the opportunity to earn my money back. I don't know what it's like now, but then I couldn't help but wish the administrator was forced to pay to dance for their money, and see how well they did. I went around the corner and did ok. They drove the buskers off the site, then tried to have them shut down when they set up off site too. Ask the lady who owned Wee Book Inn, who went to bat for the buskers over this very issue. The police, to their credit, ignored the Fringe people. My experience with the Fringe left me with a sour taste that will never go away. I hope it's better now.

    It needs to be reasonable, even cheap, but it doesn't have to be free.

    There needs to be a permit, or, virtually guaranteed, there will be big problems with vendors in Churchill Square. The fee can be nominal, maybe as low as $10. Maybe it's free. It's the permit that's the key.

    I'd compare it to a farmers market. Uncontrolled, you'll have fights over who gets what spot, etc. And you'd want some control over what gets sold, too. A vendor selling throwing knives is a ridiculous example, but just to illustrate.

    As a former busker, I can attest first hand to the fact a permit system is preferable. Do we want "Randy the Screamer" screaming "MARIJUANA" at the top of his lungs every day in the middle of Churchill Square during lunch hours? Or one of those guys with heavy duty battery powered amps drowning everybody out? There are some really bad ones I've seen who can best be described as an affliction. I'd rather have nothing.

    Personally, I'd prefer sponsored "buskers" in the square who are paid to perform, and who solicit donations (with a "hat") for heart disease, or junior diabetes research, MS, the Youth Emergency Shelter, or something like that. It removes the stigma of busking, allows for good quality performers, and by soliciting donations, it can discourage panhandlers who can't compete. And a good charity benefits. Free public performances are eligible for some funding from the Musicians Union (MPTF, or "Trust Fund Gigs"). For $100 (or something), someone like Epcor could sponsor a performance(s) and have signage.

    I'm very wary of the free-for-all idea, for the same reason I'd never do a true "open stage" in a club or restaurant. It tends to attract some of the worst, who can drive away some of the best, and the general public while they're at it. That's why I'm a bit of a control freak.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 31-01-2010 at 06:18 PM.
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    In the summer put more picnic tables out so that the office workers can have lunch in the sun.
    Art work or statues would be fine as long as there are benches so people can sit and congregate around them.
    Art work that spouts water usually draws people to it. Have a mid size fountain in the summer. Even a few raised flower beds would be attractive. Fat Frank's would do well and an ice cream vendor in the summer.
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    How about patio tables with umbrellas?
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    Patio lanterns in the summer.
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    who would be the first to dance?

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    - more movies on that giant inflatable screen
    - large group contests and competitions (i.e. if some company is giving away a big prize, get them to do their competition in Churchill square) I don't know if anybody does this type of thing anymore, but a dance-a-thon, or basically any kind of spectacle of a contest. HOW ABOUT THE WORLD'S BIGGEST HOPSCOTCH COMPETITION!? I mean we have enough concrete...
    - someone should talk to the flashmob about doing some spontaneous, twitter-announced events down there. Honestly if we have a good wet snow there should be a spontaneous snowball fight or snowman making contest or something in the square. Water balloons in the summer? pretty harmless I'd think.
    - I'd love to see some creative edmontonians make amateur snow sculptures in the square, but that would require a few rather large snowpiles
    - BMX freestyle one summer weekend? bring in ramps and stuff for 1 weekend?
    - this wouldn't be very feasible, but truck in LOTS of sand and make an artificial beach? We've got a fountain already, make 102a and the area around the fountain a little temporary beach.

    I don't know, I'm just spouting whatever comes to mind. The point is that we could do basically anything in this public space

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    ...

    I'm very wary of the free-for-all idea, for the same reason I'd never do a true "open stage" in a club or restaurant. It tends to attract some of the worst, who can drive away some of the best, and the general public while they're at it. That's why I'm a bit of a control freak.
    i'm with you jimbo, the space has to be managed. not necessarily controlled but managed. the problem with sir winston churchill square is not with the square, it's with a close to complete lack of programming. it should be removed from community services' responsibilities and "given" to someone who (a) is there 24/7 - perhaps sharing tix's space or in chancery place storefront and (b) someone who knows how to program a facility because that's what sir winston churchill square is - a vastly underutilized facility, not a park or a neighborhood community hall waiting to be booked by the next yoga class or bridge club that needs an evening out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    ...

    I'm very wary of the free-for-all idea, for the same reason I'd never do a true "open stage" in a club or restaurant. It tends to attract some of the worst, who can drive away some of the best, and the general public while they're at it. That's why I'm a bit of a control freak.
    i'm with you jimbo, the space has to be managed. not necessarily controlled but managed. the problem with sir winston churchill square is not with the square, it's with a close to complete lack of programming. it should be removed from community services' responsibilities and "given" to someone who (a) is there 24/7 - perhaps sharing tix's space or in chancery place storefront and (b) someone who knows how to program a facility because that's what sir winston churchill square is - a vastly underutilized facility, not a park or a neighborhood community hall waiting to be booked by the next yoga class or bridge club that needs an evening out.
    Outside of city administration? The DBA, Chamber of Commerce, private organization, Northlands (shudder), who did you have in mind?

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    another part of the problem is the east and the south border or rather the lack of anything exciting and architecturally pleasing there (although the CBC street front is pretty nice). We've got city hall, AGA and Winspear. We need to enclose the square with a grand library to the east and a vibrant, street-front presence from the mall. There needs to be restaurants and patios, not bus shelters and walls. I would love a row of nice blues, jazz, wine restaurants and, perhaps, some book stores and cafes. Or, perhaps, a line up of our radio-station street fronts taking turns filling our square with their brand of music. Or, maybe, create some synergy with our schools and universities and create visual displays and galleries of all sorts of arts and projects by the students in edmonton. A hall of fame for the creative, athletic, and academic achievements of our youth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ander View Post
    - this wouldn't be very feasible, but truck in LOTS of sand and make an artificial beach? We've got a fountain already, make 102a and the area around the fountain a little temporary beach.

    Who cares about feasible that would be sweet!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    ...
    it should be removed from community services' responsibilities and "given" to someone who (a) is there 24/7 - perhaps sharing tix's space or in chancery place storefront and (b) someone who knows how to program a facility because that's what sir winston churchill square is - a vastly underutilized facility, not a park or a neighborhood community hall waiting to be booked by the next yoga class or bridge club that needs an evening out.
    visibility is key. If someone wants to busk there, they should be able to walk into the office, ask if they can busk there for the day, and be told yes or no. give them the equivalent of a Visitor's Pass sticker or something. If someone wants to book a big yoga event, by all means if it's not being used already, they should be able to set up shop.

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    Sorry if someone else brought this to the thread.
    The biggest improvement would be to excise the riff raff that still continues to hover on or near the square at all hours of the day and night

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    ...

    I'm very wary of the free-for-all idea, for the same reason I'd never do a true "open stage" in a club or restaurant. It tends to attract some of the worst, who can drive away some of the best, and the general public while they're at it. That's why I'm a bit of a control freak.
    i'm with you jimbo, the space has to be managed. not necessarily controlled but managed. the problem with sir winston churchill square is not with the square, it's with a close to complete lack of programming. it should be removed from community services' responsibilities and "given" to someone who (a) is there 24/7 - perhaps sharing tix's space or in chancery place storefront and (b) someone who knows how to program a facility because that's what sir winston churchill square is - a vastly underutilized facility, not a park or a neighborhood community hall waiting to be booked by the next yoga class or bridge club that needs an evening out.
    Outside of city administration? The DBA, Chamber of Commerce, private organization, Northlands (shudder), who did you have in mind?
    i didn't necessarily say "outside of city administration", i just said outside community services, just like city hall and the grounds/fountains/rink are outside community services (and perhaps why those spaces are programmed better than the square). hire somebody that knows the task and the business (Jimbo - are you still reading this thead? ) and let them do the job. it won't be easy but it's probably not rocket science to get it right either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline View Post
    Sorry if someone else brought this to the thread.
    The biggest improvement would be to excise the riff raff that still continues to hover on or near the square at all hours of the day and night
    How do you propose to do that? Unless the "riff raff" is doing something wrong, they have as much right to loiter there as anyone else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    ...

    I'm very wary of the free-for-all idea, for the same reason I'd never do a true "open stage" in a club or restaurant. It tends to attract some of the worst, who can drive away some of the best, and the general public while they're at it. That's why I'm a bit of a control freak.
    i'm with you jimbo, the space has to be managed. not necessarily controlled but managed. the problem with sir winston churchill square is not with the square, it's with a close to complete lack of programming. it should be removed from community services' responsibilities and "given" to someone who (a) is there 24/7 - perhaps sharing tix's space or in chancery place storefront and (b) someone who knows how to program a facility because that's what sir winston churchill square is - a vastly underutilized facility, not a park or a neighborhood community hall waiting to be booked by the next yoga class or bridge club that needs an evening out.
    Outside of city administration? The DBA, Chamber of Commerce, private organization, Northlands (shudder), who did you have in mind?
    i didn't necessarily say "outside of city administration", i just said outside community services, just like city hall and the grounds/fountains/rink are outside community services (and perhaps why those spaces are programmed better than the square). hire somebody that knows the task and the business (Jimbo - are you still reading this thead? ) and let them do the job. it won't be easy but it's probably not rocket science to get it right either.
    I am still reading this thread.

    What Ken mentions is exactly what would be best for that facility - a full-time dedicated, on-site programmer/promoter/producer. Definitely NOT "city administration? The DBA, Chamber of Commerce, private organization, Northlands". One mistake I see a lot is when this kind of job is given to someone to do as a side duty. We call them "the nice ladies". I've seen the wrong act hired to do the wrong thing in the wrong place so many times ... In fact I've been the wrong act. It happens all the time, even in clubs and restaurants.

    I know of only a couple of people who would be great at it. I applied for that position (which didn't exist) years ago (to Don Belanger?, who certainly knows what he's doing), though my recollection may be a little off. He/they listened to my "pitch" (which was almost verbatim what you're describing here), but it wasn't really considered, and I was told there was no budget for events in the square. They were looking instead to charge people/groups to put on events in the square, and I said I didn't think that was going to work out too well. The square was still not completed, and nobody really knew what it would really become.

    The budget had to come from somewhere (the City (arts council), Province/Fed (arts grants), sponsors, Edmonton Communities Foundation, other arts grants, etc), but there had to be a budget, and the groups themselves (whoever they might be) were unlikely to bring a years worth of events with their own budgets. But there had to be a budget. And it doesn't have to be big.

    I'm sure I'm mixing up some of the "facts", but that was the gist of it. The entertainment industry is challenging, and one of the biggest frustrations for me was that so many people think it's relatively easy to get the right performers (etc). Everyone likes music, for example, and everyone has an opinion regarding which musicians should be hired. It's worse than opinions about hockey.

    Very, very few people have a real appreciation for what's involved in booking a facility. I grew weary of watching other people get hired over me (or over Kirby, or Brent [both would be an excellent choice], or a small handful of others), and then watching them fail miserably, making mistakes I'd already made years previous, and learned to avoid. Very frustrating. It is relatively easy, but as with most things, you need to know what you're doing, and be aware of all the details and "stuff" involved (contracts, production, setting, security, promotion, market, talent pool, availability, etc). It can get away from you if you don't stay on top of it. I've even had a completely different group show up than the one I specifically hired, because the organization I booked them through replaced who I wanted with their "buddies".

    it really isn't rocket science, but it's not at all what it seems on the outside, as anyone booking an event for the first time will tell you. So much can go sideways if you aren't on top of it. It's more like buying oranges for the produce dept at Safeway - you listen to your customers, find out what they want, and try to get it at a reasonable price they are willing to pay, at the best quality available. Then you let your customers know about it. etc
    Last edited by Jimbo; 02-02-2010 at 07:13 AM.
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    When the riff raff mobs younger persons,accosts, taunts, attempts to engage with the sale of drugs and also tries to intimidate most passers by you have a significant problem.
    Walk by during your business day or when you may be out for dinner, the gallery or attending an event at the Winspear or Citadel you will know what I mean.
    BTW the area hotels now tell their patrons to avoid this area at night

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline View Post
    When the riff raff mobs younger persons,accosts, taunts, attempts to engage with the sale of drugs and also tries to intimidate most passers by you have a significant problem.
    Walk by during your business day or when you may be out for dinner, the gallery or attending an event at the Winspear or Citadel you will know what I mean.
    BTW the area hotels now tell their patrons to avoid this area at night
    If they're doing things that are illegal, call the police.

    But in my experience, the vast majority of the "riff raff" you describe are doing little more than standing around, which they are entitled to do. The best way to counter them is simply don't let them intimidate you. More people on the square means less riff raff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rta View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mi6_ View Post
    exactly my point. People go to parks, not to concrete pads! Why do you think they put central park in the middle of manhattan? Because people like to escape their offices and go somewhere different.
    the question isn't "why do people go to parks" when churchill square isn't designed to be a park, but rather designed to be a public square. The question is "why do people go to public squares" and answer it by looking to other cities where pubic squares are popular as both crossroads and destinations in themselves.

    The solution isn't to go backwards and tear down what we have just built, the solution will be to go forwards and make what we have built work.
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    ^along the same lines, these places are mean to draw people out of their homes, apartments, offices to just sit, watch, eat, chat, sun tan, shoot the ****, etc.

    Problem is for the most part we have not figured that out in this city unless you place this in a mall, food court, or olive garden. Only real exception being Hawrelak Park.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTA View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline View Post
    When the riff raff mobs younger persons,accosts, taunts, attempts to engage with the sale of drugs and also tries to intimidate most passers by you have a significant problem.
    Walk by during your business day or when you may be out for dinner, the gallery or attending an event at the Winspear or Citadel you will know what I mean.
    BTW the area hotels now tell their patrons to avoid this area at night
    If they're doing things that are illegal, call the police.

    But in my experience, the vast majority of the "riff raff" you describe are doing little more than standing around, which they are entitled to do. The best way to counter them is simply don't let them intimidate you. More people on the square means less riff raff.
    Truth. Since when did a couple of drunks in baggy hoodies scare people? Toughen up people!
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    I recall that the city hired some peace officers to patrol the square.
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    past tense
    zero evidence = 100% tolerance

    This is way beyond your machismo statement of "Toughen Up" when it affects the attendance of your events, business traffic and guests of this fair burg that are being dissuaded from venturing out.

    These are the origins of negative comments about our city

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    ^ As I said before, the best deterrent to troublemakers is having more people around, and the best way to do that is for us all to collectively suck it up and stop living in fear of our own city and our own public spaces.

    If all the good people avoid the square because of a few potential troublemakers, then who will be left but the troublemakers?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTA View Post
    ^ As I said before, the best deterrent to troublemakers is having more people around, and the best way to do that is for us all to collectively suck it up and stop living in fear of our own city and our own public spaces.

    If all the good people avoid the square because of a few potential troublemakers, then who will be left but the troublemakers?
    Bingo

    The reality of the situation is people are not being beaten and mugged everyday on Churchill Square. That is where the 'toughen up' attitude comes into play. Do I care about these 'riff-raff' when I see a movie on the square? No! The Food Festival? No! Street Performers? No!

    There will always be 'riff-raff', espically downtown. Stop being so wimpy, suck it up, bring some friends, stop living in fear and enjoy!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Komrade View Post
    There will always be 'riff-raff', espically downtown. Stop being so wimpy, suck it up, bring some friends, stop living in fear and enjoy!!!
    Tell that to the three people attacked in the Corona LRT station simply because they didn't give the punks any change... Getting stabbed because you don't give some kid a couple bucks? Apparently having friends isn't enough of a discouragement for some.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/...994/story.html

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    ^ I'm not sure your point in posting this article. Security was on the scene, the perpetrators were nabbed...what else should have been done? Or should we board up the LRT and all of downtown with it and give up on these places altogether?

    I don't mean to blame the victim here, but dudes don't tend to get stabbed for simply refusing to give change...I'd be willing to bet dude was rather belligerent about not giving change. I don't know the facts, no, but I can't help but thing maybe a lack of civility helped sparked this incident.
    Last edited by RTA; 03-02-2010 at 11:39 AM.
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    I mentioned the article because Komrade seems to think the best way to protect yourself is to "stop being so wimpy, suck it up, bring some friends." What a ridiculous statement.

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    ^ Do you have an alternative recommendation? No, having more people around isn't going to solve all problems, but it can go a long way in making the core safer through having more eyes, ears, and urban buzz about.

    The timing of the statement may have been poor given this incident, but it doesn't negate the idea altogether.
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    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    I mentioned the article because Komrade seems to think the best way to protect yourself is to "stop being so wimpy, suck it up, bring some friends." What a ridiculous statement.
    And the best way is then what? To avoid the place all together? Stop trying to take an isolated incident and make it seem like every person every day on Churchill is exposed to this. So yeah as my pops would say 'Suck it up buttercup'
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    I still state that altough you can suck it up the visitors and most of the population of the city that venture into this city's core do not like it and will not put themselvs (potentially) in harms way.
    Put yourself in the position of business' bordering this area and the overall negative affect that this creates for this city

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    Thread split from EPCOR Tower thread -- Mod8

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmcowboy11 View Post
    That angle does look great, hmmmmm, now we need another building on the other side of city hall (from this perspective) to help fill in the skyline a bit more. Oh I wish we could have a reason to start a Stationlands Phase 2 thread.
    Actually what we really need are more boots on the square. You couldn't find a more empty place unless you put construction fencing around it. I heard that City Council is looking in to this. Now that the view from the square has improved, perhaps we can get some hot dog vendors or something, anything to attract some people there.
    Last edited by Moderator8; 08-02-2010 at 01:20 PM.

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    ^ Imagine then that everyone else stops visiting the core altogether because they deem it to be "too scary." How much better off will businesses and events be then? What kind of a solution is that?
    Strathcona City Separatist

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    It's a square...in the winter.....

    No chip vendor in their right mind would be out there in -20
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

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    no, maybe not -20, but -5 could be done...

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    Then where are my Fat Franks???
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

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    There was an instance a couple of years ago in Leduc where there were people loitering and making a general nuisance of themselves outside a strip mall. The solution that store owners came up with was to play classical music constantly over speakers mounted along the roofline.

    In the brief moments it takes to go into and out of a store then, no matter your musical tastes, the music would barely be noticed. But for those whose musical leanings are probably more toward Gangsta Rap than Greig, it soon becomes a sonic hell. Result? The loiterers accelerando'd right outta there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MylesC View Post
    It's a square...in the winter.....

    No chip vendor in their right mind would be out there in -20
    Sure, when it hits below -20C they would not be busy, but for the majority of the winter days that are between 0 and -12C they'd have steady customers. It works in Toronto where vendors have heated tents set up along Union Station and Nathan Philips Square.
    Last edited by ChrisD; 07-02-2010 at 10:57 AM.

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    ^ I know, Chris. I was pointing out that it's a rather unusual time of the year to be commenting on lack of people in the Square.

    Summer...hells yeah. Bring on the vendors.
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

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    ^but that is a HUGE issue that I have with this issue...

    "summer" runs from june 30-aug31 with lots of things to do and see

    the rest of the year it seems as though this city packs up and says "see you next summer"

    we ignore the "shoulder seasons" and winter is only now being better organized and enjoyed.
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    ^Yes...we need to start embracing our winters like other winter-countries do.

    Such as this festival in Sapporo Japan. Imagine these types of sculptures in Churchill...yes please.





    Last edited by ChrisD; 07-02-2010 at 01:38 PM.

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    winterlude in Ottawa

    winter enjoyment in Scandinavia

    northern china lantern festivals
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    But you have to fill out this permit. And pay City hall. And strike a committee that will provide the community adequate time for feedback on your proposal.

    Unfortunatley the old lady with a cane felt the giant snow temple was a waste of money and the lights hurt her eyes. REJECTED.
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

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    Permits and paying is fine, they do in other jurisdictions. It's the red tape and 'outdated' policies / rules that break everything down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisD View Post
    ^Yes...we need to start embracing our winters like other winter-countries do.

    Such as this festival in Sapporo Japan. Imagine these types of sculptures in Churchill...yes please.


    Some extensive winter festival would be great, although what would be greater was a grand corridor like the one in the picture, but here in Edmonton.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    The old lady with the cane still doesn't like it.

    Nor does she like the darn-fangled fancy glass on the Epcor tower.
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

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    ^Can someone buy that old lady a one way bus ticket to Florida!
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    we ignore the "shoulder seasons"
    No kidding. We get good weather for outdoor activites in both May (heck, even in April) and all September, yet there is nothing really organized for any outdoor events anywhere.

    It's a struggle to even find an outdoor table anywhere outside of July and August, which is ridiculous (and rightfully has it's own "thread in "Rants").

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    ^but that is a HUGE issue that I have with this issue...

    "summer" runs from june 30-aug31 with lots of things to do and see

    the rest of the year it seems as though this city packs up and says "see you next summer"

    we ignore the "shoulder seasons" and winter is only now being better organized and enjoyed.
    I'm not luck enough to be in education where I get a summer holiday ,my summer starts when the street cleaners get around to sweeping up all the rocks and gravel....that is generally I think in april-may?
    By the actual first day of summer ( june 21st) I'm waaaaay outta the winter blas!,I have my classic car outta the garage ,and all is good!
    until the snow falls again and then yes....it's back to spending the weekend in City centre mall ...hard not to let the winter in Edmonton get ya down .We dont really get too much of a spring /fall season it is warm and then one morning FREEZING!
    A winter festival would help , really ANYthing would help!

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    Some posts have been moved here from the EPCOR Tower thread, sorry if it throws off any continuity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisD View Post
    ^
    I wish we could get the Japanese ice carvers somehow, what they produce in Sapporo is amazing (totally different league from the little ice carvings here), and draws tourists from throughout the world. Perhaps we could piggy back on Sapporo's festival somehow?

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    Harbin does an absolutely incredible ice festival every year (google image it up and see). They just so happen to be our sister city too.....why not use the connections we already have?

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    I've noticed this winter that every time a blizzard hits New York or Washington DC, large groups of people come out for a massive snowball fight. Thinking about adding more winter activities here, it would be something to do in Churchill Square.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    I've noticed this winter that every time a blizzard hits New York or Washington DC, large groups of people come out for a massive snowball fight. Thinking about adding more winter activities here, it would be something to do in Churchill Square.
    they see it as a fun novelty whereas because we have to 'deal with it' we often fail to embrace it.

    i simply cannot get over how many Edmontonians fail to take advantage of winter and go skating, skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, etc. etc. etc.
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