Street Sign Blades in Highlands

The Fall 2018 streetlights campaign for Neighbourhood Renewal received a massive amount of support and positive feedback. Thanks to the campaign’s success, the Highlands Community League (HCL) Board and our partners at the Highlands Historical Society (HHS) were particularly excited about the opportunity to add a custom sign blade design for our new posts.

The HCL Board loved how Bellevue’s sign design turned out, and decided to give our community (residents and honorary Highlanders alike) the chance to get creative and design our our own signs. We gave Highlanders two weeks to submit an idea that would adorn our street signs and tell one of our many neighbourhood stories. We were not disappointed!

We received many quality submissions that our Sign Design Selection Committee pored over. The Committee was made up of HCL Board members (President Andrew Clark, Civics Director Andrea Allen and Communications Director Nicole Muhly), HHS representatives (Enessa Habib and Dustin Jussila), Jeannette Gysbers (representative from Bellevue Community League, and member of Bellevue’s streetlights and sign campaign), Graham Johnson (HCL Communications Committee member, and graphic designer of the sign blades) and two members from our 112 Avenue business community: Lianne Traynor (Mandolin Books) and Kathy Prosser (Be-A-Bella).

“It was important to use our street signs to capture a story that might not last a generation. A story that needed to be told.” – Andrew Clark, Highlands Community League President, on the opportunity to choose a design for our street signs.

And so, after much deliberation on how to best represent our historic neighbourhood with signs that will last for years, the committee decided that the theme which resonated the strongest was one shared by two submissions: Paula Shyba and Allan Macdairmid both submitted ideas showcasing the story of Eda Owen, Highlands’ weather-woman.

Eda Owen was a dedicated women who served the region well for nearly 30 years making daily weather readings and reports. The story highlights the significant contributions women made during the early days of the community and complements the more routinely stated contributions of men like Magrath, Holgate and Gibbard. While the weather tower has been taken down, the house remains and serves as a representative historical home that helps give Highlands its identity.

We have such an incredible history which is showcased in our historical homes. I feel that using an image of the rooftop from Eda Owen’s home would be suitable as it’s of a house with a wonderful history and it’s reflective of the more modest homesteads in the area. Using tree imagery highlights our tree-lined streets, which are one of the most iconic elements of our neighbourhood.

Full disclosure: Allan is our current HCL Membership Director and though we judged the entries independent of their sources, we awarded Allan bragging rights and a sign mockup for his participation, but Paula took home the $50 prize. 

Design concept for the Highlands community streetsign blades. Design by Graham Johnson features our canopy of trees and the top of the Owen residence complete with weather apparatus.

Graham Johnson on the design process: “Despite the wide mix of selection committee members, Eda Owen’s story was a clear winner as the subject of the street blades. Designing the blades was a fun opportunity to tell Eda Owen’s story on such an unusual canvas.” 

Our sign blade design was unveiled at the 2019 Annual General Meeting on May 28 and will be appearing on our streets over the next few years as revitalization ramps up. 

More about Eda Owen:

Edmonton City as Museum Project: The Weather Woman of the West

Alberta Register of Historic Places: Owen Residence

Highlands Walking Tour – pg. 5 [pdf]

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