EDMONTON – One year after the ‘City of Champions’ slogan was removed from Edmonton’s welcome signs, a local group is making it its mission to have the slogan resurrected.
“We’re not here to reinvent the wheel. We believe Edmonton has a right to the name of ‘City of Champions,’” Don Clarke said. “Edmonton is a city of champions.”
Clarke is leading a volunteer committee of people passionate about bringing the slogan back.
He said it was a mistake to take the moniker down in the first place.
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“Edmonton, like any other city, is allowed to brag a little bit,” he said. “We want to get it across that Edmonton is a city full of champions, not just the amateur and professional sports… it’s first responders, military, students, volunteers. That all makes up a city.
“It was very important never to have taken them down. And nobody seems to know really why.”
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Clarke said his committee has taken its case to city council. At this point no decisions have been made.
“We’re still prepared to put them back the way they were,” Clarke said. “If there’s a cost, we’ll certainly look at it.”
The committee is made up of several Order of Canada recipients, including entrepreneur Lyle Best, former senator Tommy Banks, news veteran Bruce Hogle and Running Room founder John Stanton.
Clarke said the committee is a well-rounded group that reflects Edmonton’s demographic.
“People from all walks of life; female, male-alike, sports, non-sports, businessmen,” he said. “Everything that makes up a city and makes a city a city of champions.”
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It was in April 2015 city council voted in favour of removing the slogan from Edmonton’s welcome signs.
“We are in a post-tagline era,” Mayor Don Iveson said at the time.
A few months later, in August, council also voted against a proposal to modernize the signs.
There were four options on the table to either replace or renew the brown signs, which sit at seven highway locations. The cost of the upgrades ranged from $150,000 to $2.5 million.
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Clarke believes an honest mistake was made and there’s still time to right the wrong.
“If a mistake is made, that can be forgiven. But what shouldn’t be forgiven (is) if you don’t correct the mistake.”
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