If you’ve visited 17th Ave lately, or live around the Beltline, you know that the area is undergoing a major construction project, that will take upwards of three years. That’s obviously having a major affect on the area and the City of Calgary is hoping a some art will bring people back to the area.

The cREative Realm is a new program developed by Blank Page Studio in collaboration with The City of Calgary to support businesses through the creation of artwork along the Avenue that will encourage interactive, playful experiences that will draw Calgarians to the area.

There will be at least four different projects that pop-up along the Avenue this year between Macleod Trail and 4 Street S.W. for Calgarians to enjoy and interact with.


One of the pieces is already installed and ready for you to enjoy.  It’s called Unlock by Joanne MacDonald. The temporary installation uses recycled keys collected from Calgarians and local business owners to form a canopy of dangling, flowing keys over the sidewalk on 17th Avenue between 1 Street S.E. and Centre Street. It feels like a nod to the Paris’ lock loves. The great part is that you can add your own spare key to the installation. It already looks beautiful, I can’t wait to see it as more and more people add their keys to the art.


While you’re checking out Unlock, make sure you take some time to support the businesses no doubt affected.   On either end of Unlock, there’s two great businesses: Naina’s Kitchen and Rosso Coffee. Both are so important to the community and are worthy of a visit, even if you have to navigate a bit of construction.

This was my first time visiting Naina’s and it was incredible. And if the replies to the tweet were any indication, I have to go back to try everything else on the menu.

And if you haven’t had the Thai Chicken soup from Rosso, well stop everything you’re doing and go try some. No matter how hot it is.

As the construction moves down 17th Ave over the next couple of years, try to make a point to support the local businesses. It’s honestly the least we can do. Owning a small business is probably the hardest thing one can do, and while construction is a way of life, it creates an uphill climb and it’s times like these it’s important to help your friend and neighbours.

Mike Morrison