Art in the +15s

June 9th, 2010 by Leah Wong

When the unpredictable Calgary weather takes a turn for the worse, Calgarians in the downtown core head indoors to the Plus 15 system. Created in the 1960s by city planners, the system is presently made up of 57 bridges and 16 kilometers of walkways.

The +15s provide a comfortable, indoor environment to trek around downtown, connecting office buildings, hotels, and even some downtown attractions.  Though they are mainly used by people working in downtown offices to move from building to building, there are many mini-attractions around the system, which can easily be turned into a self-guided walking tour.

In the east end of downtown, near Olympic Plaza, check out the City of Calgary’s Public Art Circuit - now complete with it’s own tour app!  For those without the technological capabilities for this informative application, you can also print out a brochure from the city’s website.  This set of public art pieces cover a very small portion of downtown; there are many more pieces of art to check out in the +15 system.

Through the whole system there are many fun and interesting installations to check out.  For people anticipating the reopening of the Devonian Gardens, the Winter Garden in Jamieson Place (308-4th Ave SW)  has over 17,000 plants.  Other places for those with a green thumb are: the Downtown Calgary and Standard Life (639 - 5th Ave SW) +15 level community garden and the Nexen building (801 - 7th Ave SW), where some of the turtles and fish from Devonian garden were relocated.

With many restaurants located in buildings connected to the system, or even a wide variety of food courts to choose from, there’s many places to grab a bite to eat.  There are many shopping options located at this level - there are stores located in some of the office buildings,  and the CORE shopping is also connected to the system.

While touring the +15s searching for art, be sure to check out Art Central which is one of the starting points to the system.  There are studios, galleries and shops showcasing works from many talented artists - many of which are based in Calgary.

If you’re ducking under cover from the rain this summer, look out for the HOSTs - they might be protecting their hats from the precipitation.  They’ll be happy to point you in the right direction, and provide a map if you need one.


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