Downtown Spark showcases vibrancy in Edmonton’s core

Have you visited downtown lately? 

Many of us have had to trade in our typical coffee shop visits and after-work downtown shopping for working from home and exploring our own backyards. But now’s your chance to get reacquainted with the heartbeat of Edmonton. 

Until the end of May, local arts and food enthusiasts alike can fall back in love with the core during Downtown Spark. Event attendees will catch immersive cultural exhibits, extended outdoor patios, performances and giant art installations, like the inflatable humanoids popping up all over downtown. 

Take a look

We recently had a chance to tour some of the exhibits and speak to the people who brought them to life. Take a look: 

The initiative was made possible through an investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada.

All installations and events were created with public health top of mind, each providing safe outdoor activities that allow for physical distancing. 

A downtown visitor takes in one of the ‘Fantastic Planet’ installations at Churchill Square.

In the works

Downtown Spark is just part of the things to come for downtown.

“As Edmonton’s central business district, a destination for visitors and home to thousands of residents, our downtown is vital to the economic, cultural and social fabric of Edmonton,” said Deputy City Manager Stephanie McCabe. 

The City has introduced several programs and initiatives to support local businesses in responding to COVID-19 impacts. 

And the City continues to invest in our downtown through important catalyst projects, like the Jasper Avenue New Vision project—improving the main downtown street—and the Warehouse Campus Central Neighbourhood Park project, which will bring much needed recreation space to those living, working and playing downtown. 

These projects and much more are in the works for downtown.

A ‘wâpos’ shining brightly among the grass.

Attract jobs, create experiences

“The City and its downtown partners are committed to working together to attract jobs and create great experiences and public spaces for the people who call Edmonton home,” said McCabe. “Initiatives like Downtown Spark increase the vibrancy and livability for the core of Edmonton.”

The City will continue its work with Explore Edmonton, the Downtown Business Association, and the Edmonton Arts Council to bring art into our spaces, support businesses as they shape our places and encourage exploration throughout our city. 

A ‘Winter Bird’ atop of CO*LAB at 9641 102A Ave, courtesy of Explore Edmonton.

Bridget Ryan is the creative director for wâpos, an installation of rabbit-themed arts from the imagination of artist Jason Carter. Here’s Ryan’s take on Downtown Spark: 

“Downtown Spark is this terrific initiative to bring people downtown, to literally illuminate how exciting, how vital, how alive, how creative, how artistic, how invigorating, how culinary, awesome the downtown core is.”

See you downtown. 

Editor’s note: the picture at the top of the post shows one of six giant ‘humanoids’ that have popped up across downtown thanks to Artist Amanda Parer.