North End Neighbourhood Signage Public Art Project

Collection of existing signs for North End Neighbourhood Signage Public Art Project

The North End Neighbourhood Signage Public Art Project was identified as part the North End Traffic Management Plan. The plan identified the development of neighbourhood-specific signage to emphasize the theme of the community and incorporate public art into the transportation system.

Currently there are six temporary neighbourhood welcome signs; this project aims to replace those signs with permanent artistic welcome signage. 

The North End Traffic Management Plan was officially approved by Council in 2007, and was subsequently appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In December, 2012 the OMB rendered a decision in favour of the Council approved plan. Since 2013, City staff have been working to implement the Plan. As part of the implementation, new neighbourhood signs will be designed through a public art process and then printed and installed by City staff.

Public consultation

A jury of volunteer citizens, stakeholders and artists has reviewed six artists’ submissions and have short-listed three artists’ proposals. For the next stage of the process, the selected submissions will be released for public commenting which the jury will take into consideration for their final decision.

Artists were asked to address a goal and theme in their proposals:

  • Project goal: to develop neighbourhood-specific signage to emphasize the theme of the community and incorporate public art into the transportation system
  • Theme: "Welcome to the North End - The neighbourhood by the Bay”

Through commenting, members of the public can assess how well the submissions address the goal and theme and their appropriateness for the sites.

Public Art Proposals

Thumbnail of Matt Fletcher's Proposed Neighbourhood Sign for the North End Neighbourhood

Artist: Matt Fletcher

Vision: My goal with this project was to showcase the North End community of Hamilton. By focusing on the unique aspects of the community, I was able to perfectly encapsulate the beauty of the North End – such as Bayfront Park, and the iconic Liuna Station. I also tried to showcase different housing possibilities, and the landscapes that surround them.

View Matt Fletcher's Proposal (PDF, 123 KB)

Thumbnail of Culture of Small's Proposed Neighbourhood Sign for the North End Neighbourhood

Artist: Culture of Small

Vision: Our design for the North End’s neighbourhood signage references all of these stages: the community has identified that the Bay is an essential characteristic which they identify with, and a part of the story of their cultural heritage they wish to protect. We’ve used that in our central design feature, with a blue wave reflecting between two green shores. 

View Culture of Small's proposal (PDF, 52 KB)

Small works with communities to identify, protect, leverage, and communicate their cultural values: the important elements that define a community and shape it over time. 

We’ve looked to the industrial history of the Bay area, using imagery of the port and associated industrial development. Then we’ve looked at the ways the community wishes to leverage this heritage as it looks to the future: through active recreation, outdoor family activities, walkable streets and independent businesses.

We’ve tied these activities into our design through a vibrant, approachable streetscape, and a neighbourhood park. We feel this enables the community to communicate the live/work/pay combination that defines a truly vibrant neighbourhood.

During our research of the area, several major themes arose which have informed the imagery we’ve used in our design:

  • Worker’s Heritage: this community was founded by people who were not afraid of working hard. We’ve paid homage to hard working families with the land masses in our design literally shaped after traditional boat building proportions, a practice with deep roots in the area.
  • Live, Work, and Play: the worker’s heritage has evolved overtime to reflect active lifestyles that demand the best of recreation, family life and proximity to work.
  • Fierce Pride: there’s a sharp edge to this community that makes people proud to live here, and we’ve respected this in our design with a graphic quality that is straightforward, uncomplicated, and communicates its uniqueness.
  • Diversity: the diversity of this neighbourhood is a great strength. We recognize that symbols and references must be inclusive, and often mean different things to different publics. A collection of shapes and colour communicates this value while maintaining a cohesive whole, just as it is in our diverse communities.
  • Families: safety, support, security and all-ages public spaces are important to the community. Our emphasis on the residential street as the anchor of the imagery shows that this neighbourhood is, at its heart, a home.
  • Opportunity: this neighbourhood presents opportunity at a large scale, in terms of new development, but also on the human scale. Our design speaks to the drive to access personal opportunity implicit in making a home in the heart of the city. 

Thumbnail of Kayla Whitney's Proposed Neighbourhood Sign for the North End Neighbourhood

Artist: Kayla Whitney

Vision: The aim of my design was to convey a sense of communal pride for the North End. Specifically, I wanted to create an image that would foster self-recognition for those of us that call the North End home. My proposed sign includes the businesses of the North End that we frequent, the buildings in which we live, and the people that we call our friends and family. 

View Kayla Whitney's proposal (PDF, 95 KB)

I wanted to show the North End as it is seen and experienced by the North End community.

Integral to my design was the circularity of the composition. I feel that nothing could be more appropriate. When I think of the idea of community, I see it as a circle without a beginning or an end but instead a continuous and equal flow of resources, energy, and support. Though the North End does not literally circle the bay, our community revolves around activities and culture that are often products of our proximity to the water. In this way, our community is like a series of rings that revolve around the circle of the bay. It is the central aspect that in so many ways defines our people, our homes, out shops, and our institutions.

The atmosphere of the North End is very unique in that it possesses the feeling of a tightly knit small town. This comes from the closeness of our community to many amenities that allow us to often live, work, and go to school within our own neighbourhood. The walkability of the area creates recognition of one another that pervades our streets and sidewalks.

The diversity of this part of Hamilton was also a priority to represent. I’ve used bright and bold colours in such a variety for this reason, to make sure that everyone despite their age, culture, ethnicity, and socio-economic status has a place in our sign just as they have a place in the North End.

Readability was also very important in my decisions around the design. It is an image that is legible at great speeds and great distances alike, with the evocation of the rings being clear even when the details are not. The theme of community is represented in the sign in a very straight forward manner so that its message is as accessible as possible. The image of community inhabitants holding hands is a powerful reminder of what we owe one another as neighbours and what we can count on too. It’s also a helpful reminder for would-be speeding cars to see images of children and families as a reminder to slow down.

The theme of “The Neighbourhood by the Bay” is given a loving tribute in my submission for the neighbourhood welcome sign.

How to submit comments

There are 2 ways to submit your comments:

  1. Complete the online comment form
  2. Visit the reception area at  Bennetto Community Centre during regular hours to pick up a hardcopy comment form to complete and submit in person.

Comment deadline: All comments must be received by Sunday, November 25, 2018 in order to be considered.

Next steps

It is anticipated that the successful submission will be identified in late 2018. In spring 2019, the successful design will be printed and the signs will be installed at the identified locations.

Contact us

Megan Salvucci – Project Manager
Neighbourhood Traffic and Environmental Assessments
City of Hamilton
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 4101
Email: megan.salvucci@hamilton.ca