Proposed 'Hamilton' sign shows council's lack of vision in city's artistic community

Opinion Jul 20, 2017 Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s brisk acceptance of the Toronto-esque 3D sign for the city hall forecourt may be a form of flattery, but for some, it just seems like a lack of imagination on display.

Toronto’s popular structure was initially planned as a temporary addition to Nathan Phillips Square for the 2015 Pan Am Games. However, the sign has become, as Toronto officials have put it, “a significant Toronto landmark,” so they have made it a permanent fixture. City officials said it had received 109 million social media impressions on Facebook and Twitter in 2016. Those are the type of numbers Hamilton councillors and business people are hoping to replicate with the city’s new LED sign.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger has defended the sign, arguing it wasn’t based on Toronto’s sign. He points to Amsterdam, where Eisenberger was born, that developed its own signature two-meter sign “I Amsterdam” in 2012 as a wildly successful marketing campaign for the city. Brisbane, Australia, installed its own temporary sign in 2014 when it hosted the G20 leaders and quickly had to make it permanent after it became a popular tourist attraction. And Cancun, Mexico, has installed a colourful sign on Playa Delfines public beach for tourists to enjoy.

Hamilton’s LED sign is then a crass copycat attempt at a tourist draw, with P.J. Mercanti of the Carmen’s Group promising that it will become the most photographed structure in Hamilton.

Eisenberger said he has championed for such a sign since earlier this year, but the idea has been kicked around since 2007 when some people wanted a gateway sign for the city to promote tourism. However, council balked at the $230,000 price tag.

Hamilton, as chamber of commerce representatives have repeatedly stated, used to be known as the Ambitious City. In that sense, why didn’t the business community and the mayor promote some sort of artistic competition to actually create a truly iconic symbol for Hamilton rather than a corporately-sponsored photo shoot? Hamilton’s inspired artistic results are already sprinkled across the city from the truly photography-friendly Rafaga-Unleashed on the waterfront, to the Eagles Among Us at Battlefield Park to the mural hidden at city hall that depicts Hamilton life.

Art has always played an important part in a community’s development. This Hamilton sign is only an icon for the dearth of courage and creativity from its elected leaders, insecure in its development and oblivious to an opportunity lost to create an actual symbol of the city’s distinctive history and culture.

Proposed 'Hamilton' sign shows council's lack of vision in city's artistic community

Opinion Jul 20, 2017 Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s brisk acceptance of the Toronto-esque 3D sign for the city hall forecourt may be a form of flattery, but for some, it just seems like a lack of imagination on display.

Toronto’s popular structure was initially planned as a temporary addition to Nathan Phillips Square for the 2015 Pan Am Games. However, the sign has become, as Toronto officials have put it, “a significant Toronto landmark,” so they have made it a permanent fixture. City officials said it had received 109 million social media impressions on Facebook and Twitter in 2016. Those are the type of numbers Hamilton councillors and business people are hoping to replicate with the city’s new LED sign.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger has defended the sign, arguing it wasn’t based on Toronto’s sign. He points to Amsterdam, where Eisenberger was born, that developed its own signature two-meter sign “I Amsterdam” in 2012 as a wildly successful marketing campaign for the city. Brisbane, Australia, installed its own temporary sign in 2014 when it hosted the G20 leaders and quickly had to make it permanent after it became a popular tourist attraction. And Cancun, Mexico, has installed a colourful sign on Playa Delfines public beach for tourists to enjoy.

Hamilton’s LED sign is then a crass copycat attempt at a tourist draw, with P.J. Mercanti of the Carmen’s Group promising that it will become the most photographed structure in Hamilton.

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Eisenberger said he has championed for such a sign since earlier this year, but the idea has been kicked around since 2007 when some people wanted a gateway sign for the city to promote tourism. However, council balked at the $230,000 price tag.

Hamilton, as chamber of commerce representatives have repeatedly stated, used to be known as the Ambitious City. In that sense, why didn’t the business community and the mayor promote some sort of artistic competition to actually create a truly iconic symbol for Hamilton rather than a corporately-sponsored photo shoot? Hamilton’s inspired artistic results are already sprinkled across the city from the truly photography-friendly Rafaga-Unleashed on the waterfront, to the Eagles Among Us at Battlefield Park to the mural hidden at city hall that depicts Hamilton life.

Art has always played an important part in a community’s development. This Hamilton sign is only an icon for the dearth of courage and creativity from its elected leaders, insecure in its development and oblivious to an opportunity lost to create an actual symbol of the city’s distinctive history and culture.

Proposed 'Hamilton' sign shows council's lack of vision in city's artistic community

Opinion Jul 20, 2017 Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s brisk acceptance of the Toronto-esque 3D sign for the city hall forecourt may be a form of flattery, but for some, it just seems like a lack of imagination on display.

Toronto’s popular structure was initially planned as a temporary addition to Nathan Phillips Square for the 2015 Pan Am Games. However, the sign has become, as Toronto officials have put it, “a significant Toronto landmark,” so they have made it a permanent fixture. City officials said it had received 109 million social media impressions on Facebook and Twitter in 2016. Those are the type of numbers Hamilton councillors and business people are hoping to replicate with the city’s new LED sign.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger has defended the sign, arguing it wasn’t based on Toronto’s sign. He points to Amsterdam, where Eisenberger was born, that developed its own signature two-meter sign “I Amsterdam” in 2012 as a wildly successful marketing campaign for the city. Brisbane, Australia, installed its own temporary sign in 2014 when it hosted the G20 leaders and quickly had to make it permanent after it became a popular tourist attraction. And Cancun, Mexico, has installed a colourful sign on Playa Delfines public beach for tourists to enjoy.

Hamilton’s LED sign is then a crass copycat attempt at a tourist draw, with P.J. Mercanti of the Carmen’s Group promising that it will become the most photographed structure in Hamilton.

Related Content

Eisenberger said he has championed for such a sign since earlier this year, but the idea has been kicked around since 2007 when some people wanted a gateway sign for the city to promote tourism. However, council balked at the $230,000 price tag.

Hamilton, as chamber of commerce representatives have repeatedly stated, used to be known as the Ambitious City. In that sense, why didn’t the business community and the mayor promote some sort of artistic competition to actually create a truly iconic symbol for Hamilton rather than a corporately-sponsored photo shoot? Hamilton’s inspired artistic results are already sprinkled across the city from the truly photography-friendly Rafaga-Unleashed on the waterfront, to the Eagles Among Us at Battlefield Park to the mural hidden at city hall that depicts Hamilton life.

Art has always played an important part in a community’s development. This Hamilton sign is only an icon for the dearth of courage and creativity from its elected leaders, insecure in its development and oblivious to an opportunity lost to create an actual symbol of the city’s distinctive history and culture.