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Light it up #yeg

Light it up #yeg

Posted on: October 18, 2012
Author: Jennifer Sharpe


Okay, here's the idea: let's light up the bridges of Edmonton. Not just functional lighting for drivers and pedestrians and cyclists like we have now, but lighting for light's sake.

The idea for brightness comes from ATB Financial President and CEO Dave Mowat.

"Edmonton is a beautiful city, and the river valley is gorgeous, especially in the summer," Mowat says. "I've had this idea for a bit about trying to figure out how we could light the bridges and make them signature pieces for the world to see. Why don't we do that? Can we do that?"

Mowat took his idea to Edmonton's Pecha Kucha Night 14 Thursday evening in Edmonton and shared it publicly for the first time.

The presentation, at the Myer Horowitz Theatre on the University of Alberta campus, was organized by Edmonton's NextGen, a group devoted to sharing ideas and building community.

Pecha Kucha itself means "chit chat" in Japanese, a term that has spawned the worldwide phenomenon that goes by the same name. At Pecha Kucha nights, presenters explore topics in a series of slides, each of which is on the screen for only 20 seconds.

Mowat shared with the audience slides of illuminated bridges in New York, Vancouver and Budapest, along with the Eiffel Tower, to make the point that monuments look spectacular when lit up. And they make people feel proud. Thanks to some Photoshop touches, he also shared what the Groat, High Level and Low Level bridges in Edmonton might look like with some light added.

The idea was to start a conversation.

There are questions, of course. Environmental factors and light pollution would have to be considered. And funding? Mowat says he'd like to help figure out a way to get the project off the ground by raising money in the private sector.

"This isn't an ATB project in that sense," Mowat said. "But just Imagine if the show-and-tell we present to the world had just a little more show. We just wanted to see if folks liked the idea, if they could make it better, and then we'll see what happens."

Edmonton's Groat Bridge, before and after lighting 

Edmonton's Low Level Bridge, before and after lighting