Banners are better than flowers!

Every city in the world is looking for ways to make its downtown streets friendlier. Two of the most common methods are to add colourful banners and hanging baskets of flowers to brighten up what can often be a cold and grey environment.

Calgary's 7th Avenue downtown transit corridor is a very grey, stark place most of the time.

Tacky Plastic Flowers

Flaneuring Calgary’s downtown recently (being the everyday tourist that I am), I was again appalled that someone thought it was a good idea to add hanging baskets with plastic flowers at the 7th Avenue downtown stations.  I was appalled months ago, but I thought it might pass. Is it only me, or do others think this is just tacky?

To brighten up the LRT stations hanging plastic flowers have been added to the station, which is very surreal on a cold winter day.

Banners are better!

I can understand why they did it - the street is lined with rather ominous office towers and there is no light for flowers or plants to grow – especially given Calgary has only 110-frost free days. Also, artificial plants are very low maintenance – no watering, fertilizer and deadheading needed. 

However, there is a better solution - banners.  Calgary has a very active and attractive banner program in other parts of downtown – Stephen Avenue Walk, downtown bridges, 17th Avenue and Kensington Village. 

Stephen Avenue has banners that change with the seasons and help make the street a more cheerful place for pedestrians. 

Where Have All The Banners Gone?

The 7th Avenue LRT Stations already have banner poles and I have seen banners up from time to time.  However, there doesn’t seem to be a strategy or program to hang seasonal banners at all times as there is in other high pedestrian areas.  With over 100,000 people using 7th Avenue every weekday, you would think it would be a high priority area for making it the most attractive place possible.

Currently there are banners are up at the 8th Street LRT Station, sponsored by the University of Calgary (its downtown building close by).  So, it would seem if a downtown business or organization wants to create their own banners, Calgary Transit is willing to will let them use the banner poles.

8th Street Station Banners add much needed colour for those waiting for a train. 

This photo is from a few year back when Kerby Station had banners when it first opened, thanks to Calgary Transit. 

Today the 7th Avenue streetscape has very few banner even though the numerous poles that line the street have been designed for them. 

Love These Banners

And at the same time I was observing the lack of colour along 7th Avenue, I was enjoying the lovely banners on 14th Street as I crossed over the beautiful Bow River on my walk into downtown.  The current banners - with their colourful and playful Impressionistic paintings of downtown – are lovely; they would be a delightful addition to downtown’s 7th Avenue LRT stations, which currently are very barren, grey and industrial.

Many of Calgary's downtown bridges have lovely colourful banners that change on a regular basis. 

Last Word

I have always thought banners are better than flowers, as they add colour year-round and there is  minimal maintenance.  The best banner programs are ones that change with the seasons, to help keep the sense of place fresh.  

If you like this blog, you will like:

Calgary's 10th Avenue SW Renaissance

Window licking in Florence

Peyto: Calgary's Everyday Street Walker

Everyday Tourist Photos: Collage Fun

If it is true that every picture tells a story, what happens when you create a collage of pictures all on the same subject or from the same city.  Recently, I discovered an app for my phone called Layout that let you select up to nine photos and then it collages them into different "layouts" for you to choose.  

I have been playing with this new toy for awhile and thought I'd share some of the results. I have divided these fun little artworks into three categories: Everyday Places & Spaces in Calgary, Other Cities and Day Trips From Calgary. 

This blog will take you from Boise, Idaho to Buffalo, New York and from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Canmore, Alberta; with stops in places like Florence. It includes day trips to Canmore, Lethbridge and Nanton.  Along the way you get to visit some interesting alleys, pedestrian bridges, parks and people. 

I have added a relevant Everyday Tourist blog to most images if you are interested in exploring one or more places in more depth.

Have fun and love to hear your thoughts? 

Calgary's Everyday Places & Spaces 

17th Avenue (aka Red Mile, aka RED District for Retail Entertainment District) is Calgary's longest street of shops, cafes and restaurants.  

A collage of Calgary's many bridges, from +15 bridges that connect downtown buildings on the second floor to pedestrian bridges over the Bow River. Tale of Three Bridges Link

Calgary's mega makeover of East Village and St. Patrick's Island is creating a very bold statement about the future of urban living in Calgary. St. Patrick's Island: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Nice To Have Link

SAIT campus is a hidden gem of old and new urban design. A-mazing University of New Mexico Link

Fort Calgary is another hidden gem that is getting a makeover.  Look for a new major piece of public art being unveiled this summer.  

Kensington Village is a pedestrian's paradise.  The sidewalks are currently being upgraded which when completed will make Calgary's oldest urban village even better.  Kensington: One of North America's healthiest urban villages link

This Inglewood collage captures the eclectic nature of the community.

Other City Places & Spaces 

Mexico City provides an amazing array of things to see and do, from palaces to cathedrals, from museums to public art. It is a "must see" city. Mexico City: Full of fun surprises! link

Boise Idaho is a hidden gem with a great downtown. Boise: Freakn Fun in Freak Alley

Seattle's downtown is full of fun surprises. Window licking in Seattle Link

Albuquerque had many hidden gems. A-mazing University of New Mexico Campus Link

Portland is perhaps more fun! Top Ten Flaneur Finds in Portland Link

Buffalo fun includes a Frank Llyod Wright house, early 20th century mansions, great art and winter ice bikes.Postcards From Buffalo Link

The streets of Florence are charming. Florence People & Places Link

Victoria, BC is one of favourite places for a quickie get-away. Thrifting Fun In Victoria Link

Las Vegas playground, pants, street art etc. Off The Beaten Path in Las Vegas Link

Colorado Springs is a hidden gem for art, animals and urban exploring. Colorado Springs: Funky, Funky & Quirky Link

Day Trips From Calgary 

Lethbridge Alberta (or LA as locals call it) makes of a great day trip from Calgary.

On our last trip to Canmore we checked out Main Street, a Tattoo Parlour/Art Gallery  (don't ask) and their disc golf course. Too much fun!

Nanton's Bomber Command Museum is a hidden gem. Fun for everyone! Nanton's Bomber Command Museum Link

I hope you have enjoyed the show!