Churchill square is Edmonton’s prime downtown public space. However, it still has the capacity for exponential growth regardless of season. For the many Edmontonians who do not live, work or visit downtown, I decided to visually investigate just what Edmonton’s busiest public square looks like during the summer months.
The City of Edmonton has worked hard to successfully program the square on a daily basis from giant checkers and chess games to lunchtime Zumba classes and visits from exotic zoo animals. But the truly exciting events held in Churchill Square are the festivals. Whether it is a weekend or an entire ten days, this is when we see Edmontonians take pride in their urban square. According to Gordon Kent, there was approximately 1.1 million people using Churchill Square in some capacity in 2006.
Yet, this pride is still in its infancy. Unfortunately, since the buildings contiguous to Churchill Square are largely commercial rather than residential, the square does suffer a large population drop-off when the work day ends. This lack of amenities and services only compounds the ghost town evenings at Churchill. The City seems to be trying to address this situation in the form of developing the Arts District as well as The Quarters a few blocks away; however, until more people live near Churchill Square, it will not reach its full year round potential.