Throwback Thursdays: The Bridge Banner Project

by Reginald Tiangha · 2 comments

This week’s Throwback Thursday photograph is of Barclay Mall, taken from the vantage point of 3rd Street SW and 5th Avenue SW looking North some time in the 1990s.

While it’s obvious that a lot of retail development has taken place in the area since then (as evidenced by the lack of buildings such as the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire Hotel in the background), this week’s focus is on the banners you see all along 3rd Street SW adorning some of the city lights as you walk in either direction.

While banners have been a part of Barclay Mall for quite some time now, it was in 2008 that The City of Calgary launched the Bridge Banner Project under Centre City as a way to engage local artists to provide artwork that explores Calgary’s characteristics of history, urbanity and natural landscape that Calgarians can enjoy as they enter the downtown core through many of the bridges that lead into it.  The banner sites in Barclay Mall were incorporated into the program.

The themes for these banners change throughout the years and are unique to the artist selected to create them.  The banners are changed every two years with a new look and story to welcome people to the core.

The current set of banners found at Barclay Mall were created by photographer Dianne Bos and were put on display in 2011.  She created them by using a medium format camera with black and white film to create overlapping sequential images of Alberta’s landscape, which were then altered digitally to add the vibrant colours you currently see.  The focus of the work is on the mood certain sites trigger in our memories but rarely can be captured on film.

The complete list of locations in Calgary where you can view these banners are:

  • 14 Street Bridge
  • Louise Bridge (10 Street)
  • Centre Street Bridge
  • Langevin Bridge (Edmonton Trail)
  • Inglewood Bridge (9 Avenue SE)
  • Zoo Bridge
  • MacDonald Avenue SE Bridge
  • Barclay Mall
  • Fort Calgary

So keep an eye out for them the next time you enter or exit the core!

That’s it for this week’s Throwback Thursday.  Tune in next week and every week in 2012 for more glimpses into the past of Downtown Calgary.

Do you have any photos of downtown Calgary from the past that you’d like to share with us?  If so, send us an e-mail [email protected] and it may appear in our weekly segment!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Zoey March 30, 2022 at 9:01 pm

Hi Reg!
Just a note to let people know there are new banners up now (not sure if they’re up in Barclay Mall yet, but on a few bridges for sure), featuring the work of Daniel Kirk. They’re pretty gorgeous: http://calgary.openfile.ca/blog/curator-blog/explainer/2012/explainer-where-do-those-bridge-banners-come


Reginald Tiangha March 30, 2022 at 10:52 pm

Thanks Zoey! You’re absolutely right; I recall seeing some of those new banners in Inglewood. I took the second picture on Wednesday so it looks like Barclay Mall hasn’t been updated yet with the new ones but will probably be done soon; Looks like the main Bridge Banner Project webpage needs to be updated with Daniel Kirk’s bio too.


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