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New Charlottetown crosswalk sign encourages silly walks

Mark Sandiford, executive director of CreativeP.E.I., does his best impression of John Cleese of Monty Python fame on Charlottetown’s new silly walk crosswalk, located parallel to Queen Street across Richmond Street at Victoria Row. The idea came from a woman on the city’s arts advisory board.
Mark Sandiford, chairman of the City of Charlottetown's arts advisory board, does his best impression of John Cleese of Monty Python fame on Charlottetown’s new silly walk crosswalk, located parallel to Queen Street across Richmond Street at Victoria Row. The idea came from a woman on the city’s arts advisory board. - Dave Stewart

Charlottetown’s arts advisory board comes up with a fun way to cross Richmond Street at Victoria Row

There are going to be some funky moves being made as people cross Richmond Street in Charlottetown in the weeks to come.

Charlottetown’s arts advisory board is putting in what will be called a silly walk crosswalk across Richmond Street at Victoria Row.

It runs parallel to Queen Street on an intersection that is closed off to traffic while Victoria Row is restricted to pedestrians only until the end of October.

The new sign runs parallel to Queen Street on an intersection that is closed off to traffic while Victoria Row is restricted to pedestrians only until the end of October.
The new sign runs parallel to Queen Street on an intersection that is closed off to traffic while Victoria Row is restricted to pedestrians only until the end of October.

The sign will cost about $80 and was scheduled to be put up by the city’s public works department last week, but the city ran out of posts. It could be in place as early as today.

That sign will come down once Victoria Row re-opens to vehicular traffic and will go back up next year when the street reverts back to pedestrians only.

The silly walk crosswalk sign was first suggested by Cheryl Wagner, a member of the city’s arts advisory board.

“My secret motto is I believe in mirth on earth,’’ Wagner told The Guardian. “I think that our highest common denominator is mirth on earth, and this embodies it – people being silly and just enjoying (themselves) and feeling good about themselves and making others feel good.’’

Wagner had seen similar silly walk crosswalks in other parts of Canada and across Europe a few years ago. When she got to sit on the city’s arts advisory board she decided to float the idea of doing one in Charlottetown and see how convincing she could be.

Wagner believes the type of tourists who like to come to Charlottetown are the ones who like taking selfies, pointing to the popularity of the statue of prime minister John A. Macdonald, a popular place for people to take goofy pictures. Conveniently, his statue sits on a bench right at the silly walk crosswalk.

“The more big fun we can bring to P.E.I., the more people will come here. This is the first step of my secret campaign for whimsical public art,’’ Wagner said.

Mark Sandiford, chairman of the city's arts advisory board, said Wagner did a great job of convincing him it was a great idea.

Mark Sandiford, chairman of the City of Charlottetown's arts advisory board
Mark Sandiford, chairman of the City of Charlottetown's arts advisory board

“We checked it out with the city to see if it would be possible to do it and, as it turns out, they’re cheap and so we thought it would be a lot of fun, so we put forward a recommendation and the city went for it,’’ Sandiford said. “(Wagner’s) a real character, and she’s the one who really convinced us that it would really be an amazing idea. I think she is the star of this.’’

And Wagner isn’t finished.

“I want more of it around town,’’ she said. “There’s places that do great, crazy things and people want to take their pictures in front of such great things, so this is the beginning.’’


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