Placemaking Projects in Old Strathcona

What is Placemaking?

Placemaking is defined as creating places and focuses on transforming public spaces into areas that people love and feel connected to. To us, placemaking is about creating spaces and places that inspire a sense of belonging; where visitors enjoy meaningful time spent in our vibrant shopping and entertainment district.

In 2020 and 2021, our business association piloted placemaking projects to increase pedestrian spaces (2020) and temporarily expand sidewalks (2021), to enhance public spaces and encourage people to spend more time in Old Strathcona. Placemaking is a large focus for our business association. It includes many of our projects, like murals and painted crosswalks, expanded sidewalks and increased seating, and now, permanent street furniture!

Here are some examples of past placemaking projects carried out by our business association.

Why Do We Invest in Placemaking Projects?

Simply put, placemaking is an important part of the work our BIA does because it enhances the visitor experience by creating and improving public spaces. Over the last two years, we’ve heard from Edmontonians that additional public space increases the enjoyment of their visit, which then encourages them to stay in our district longer, resulting in a positive economic impact.

A Strong Towns article: “Why Walkable Streets are More Economically Productive“, found that streetscape enhancements, like placemaking, add value to an area and are associated with higher rents and the attraction of new businesses. In fact, that article goes on to share that people-oriented streets are often more financially productive per acre than auto-oriented streets.1

As a Business Improvement Area, we invest in placemaking projects like street furniture and expanded sidewalks, because it adds vibrancy, improves walkability, and encourages business activity. With these benefits in mind, we decided to level up our placemaking projects and in 2022 we took on our largest placemaking project to date. Keep reading to learn more about that project!

Our New Permanent Street Furniture

Our Largest Placemaking Project to Date

In 2022, we initiated our largest placemaking project yet, with a $250,000 investment into the creation and installation of permanent street furniture, like bike racks, benches, bistro tables, and parklets. This investment into the community was made possible through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF), which is administered by Prairies Economic Development Canada.

“The CCRF project will allow us to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and enhanced visitor experience in Old Strathcona,” said Cherie Klassen, Executive Director of the OSBA.

Our two-year project was officially completed in April 2024, marked by the installation of five colourful parklets; four on Whyte Ave, and one in West Ritchie. The completion of this project allowed us to add 50 pieces of permanent infrastructure to Old Strathcona, resulting in the addition of 70+ places to sit, and increasing our bike parking to 40+ spots!

Experience our new street furniture for yourself using our handy map below!

2022-24 Placemaking Project Milestones

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out our placemaking survey. Your feedback will help inform where we place new benches, bike racks, and parklets and some of the design elements that could be incorporated. Everything is still on track to be installed by spring 2023!

If you would like to read the report on survey and stakeholder engagement, click on the image below.


Read the report: What We Heard Report

Here is a look at some renderings showing the design of the new benches, bike racks, and parklets - all being designed and manufactured locally! These are renderings only, and the final design, color and material specifications may differ from what is pictured here.


Our bike racks, benches and parklets will be rolling out soon! The bike racks are ready to be installed this spring, and benches and bistro sets should follow before summer. Parklets will be installed this summer too, adding some extra vibrancy - not to mention seating - to the business district.

Check back here or follow us on social media for updates this spring and summer.


Supply chain issues have proven to be a bit of a struggle but the sidewalks of Old Strathcona are beginning to be filled by the furniture! All of our colourful bike racks were installed near the beginning of the summer along the main street, in the Back Street, and in West Ritchie as well. The first bench has also been placed this week with the rest waiting to be installed very shortly.

Parklets are approaching the final stages of their construction and are expected by the end of the month.


With the first parklet finally installed in front of Village Goods at 4am on a brisk autumn morning, we were ready to invite media and key stakeholders for a public announcement conference in the new parklet. Read more about what CTV and Global had to say about the new announcement!

There are four more parklets that are continuing construction and installation and we are looking forward to everything being finalized in a few weeks.

We are thrilled to share that the four remaining parklets were successfully installed and our two-year street furniture project is complete! Thanks to support from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF), administered by Prairies Economic Development Canada, we installed about 50 pieces of street furniture, which includes bike racks, benches, bistro tables, and parklets around Old Strathcona.

We couldn't be happier with how this placemaking project turned out. Thank you to the local businesses Vignettes and Forge 53 who supported the design and manufacturing portion of the project, and to the businesses in our district who saw the opportunity in this placemaking project and welcomed these permanent furniture pieces to the streets and sidewalks around their shops.

This two-year project was fueled by feedback from our community asking for more public spaces on and around Whyte Ave to enhance the visitor experience, and create meaningful places for people to gather. In effort to keep our new street furniture clean and welcoming, we've partnered with social enterprise Hire Good Edmonton to keep the parklets snow-free, clean and inviting. We hope you enjoy a coffee, ice cream, or conversation on our new parklets, benches, and bistro tables on your next visit to Old Strathcona!

How Placemaking and Beautification Come Together

Placemaking is one of many tactics BIA’s use to beautify and improve the visitor experience in commercial districts. Along with these efforts, we take on projects like public art and murals, Bloomin’ Boulevards, and employ a Clean Team. Visit our Beautification and Cleanliness page to learn more.

This project is funded in part by the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) and administered by Prairies Economic Development Canada.


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