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Giant waterfront 'VANCOUVER' sign draws crowds, and calls to make it permanent


Perfectly placed on the waterfront between Canada Place and the new Vancouver Convention Centre, a light-up sign spelling out VANCOUVER in giant red letters has become this holiday season’s must-have Instagram photo.

Residents and tourists alike are lining up to take their picture with the sign. And for the team behind it, that’s the whole point.

“People love a great Instagram moment, and that’s what this is about,” said Eduardo Ottoni, the owner of Event Lab.

His company designed Liven Up Coal Harbour, a winter festival sponsored by Stay Vancouver Hotels. Ottoni decided to include the Vancouver sign in the festival because photos of large city signs in picturesque locations are so often posted to social media, essentially providing free advertising.

“We are placing it in a high traffic area where people going to want to take photos,” said Ottoni. “Looking at other cities, it’s clear these types of signs resonate with folks.”

There are large city signs in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and many cities around the world, and they’re always a magnet for photo takers.

“It’s a really good idea,” said Jimena Espinoca, who is visiting Vancouver from Costa Rica and dropped by the sign to take photos. “When people visit over here, its really pretty to take pictures and everything.”

Locals are also drawn to the sign. Dawn Dodswell met a close friend at Canada Place for lunch, and they made a point to take photos with the sign.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “Isn’t it about time somebody did that. I wondered why it hadn’t been done, and why I hadn’t even thought of it.”

Julia Leme, originally from Brazil but now living in Vancouver, also loves the sign.

“The sign is great, it’s a great attraction for Vancouver. And I think it should stay here forever,” he said.

But the sign was not designed to be permanent. It’s only temporary, and while it may remain up a few weeks beyond its original Dec. 30 removal date, it’s not made to stay in place forever.

“I know a more permanent sign would cost significantly more than this one,” said Ottoni. “The difference between temporary and permanent is quite significant from an engineering and structural standpoint as well.”

But he thinks the popularity of the temporary sign should be a message that Vancouver needs a permanent one.

“I have a feeling with the type of traction this sign has received, Vancouver and the city and different hotels associations and BIAs are going to be looking at some sort of permanent Vancouver sign, because it’s evidently popular, people love it.”

Dodswell hopes that happens, adding: “This is where the ships come in, people can come to this area, they’re attracted here. So why not? Vancouver is a place to be proud of.” Top Stories

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