Sentinels to Keep watch over East Village

    · 5 min read

    Even before Calgary became an official dot on the Canadian map, East Village was a notable destination and important gathering place on the southern Alberta landscape. With the establishment of Fort Calgary in 1875 and construction of a CPR station eight years later, the city’s original neighbourhood welcomed visitors from all across the prairies with a grand and unmistakable sense of arrival.

    In keeping with our commitment to transform Calgary’s East Village for the future while celebrating its important past, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – the organization that enthusiastically embraced the challenge of bringing East Village back to life just seven years ago – has been reviving the neighbourhood’s impressive sense of arrival with a heavy emphasis on heritage. And in East Village’s new gateway feature at Fort Calgary, you’ll see a particularly heavy emphasis on “heavy.”

    “Our new landscape feature – The Sentinels – includes five extremely heavy glass and concrete pillars depicting historical city figures, all suspended from a steel framework at the corner of 6 Street and 9 Avenue SE. The installation is part of the extensive landscaping program CMLC has been advancing around the circumference of Fort Calgary since 2007,” says Susan Veres, CMLC’s VP Marketing and Communications. Aptly called ‘The Edges’, the landscaping program has created a respectful delineation between the urban energy of East Village and the natural character of Fort Calgary, a 40-acre open space and designated historical site.”

    “The Sentinels were created to complement ‘The Edges’ park space, which we completed last year,” adds Michael Brown, CMLC’s CEO. “As a gateway to East Village, they’ll extend a welcoming invitation to the area as they stand guard over Fort Calgary and East Village.”

    Each of the five scarlet-red Sentinels includes a fibre-reinforced concrete base and two ½-inch thick glass panels with a ‘graphical interlayer’ (that is, an image between them), all suspended from a hollow structural section (HSS) steel framework and lit by LED lighting strips. The images between the glass panels depict Calgary pioneers Captain Deane, Chief Crowfoot, Colonel Macleod and John Ayer.

    One of the pillars is notably larger than the other four. While each of the “smaller” pillars is 4.5 m (15 feet) tall and weighs in at around 1,600 kg (3,500 lb), the larger pillar – a commanding 8 m (26 ft) tall – tips the scales at nearly 4,500 kg (9,900 lb). Heavy indeed!

    “Fort Calgary is the birthplace of our city. It is the city’s most important cultural landscape – a landscape that expresses the long and intimate relationship between people and their natural environment. ‘The Edges’ define this very special place in our history and the Sentinels, in particular, represent four significant historical people and their contribution to our shared history, said Sara-Jane Gruetzner, President & CEO, Fort Calgary. To complete the design and then manufacture and install the towering Sentinels, CMLC called on Calgary’s Heavy Industries ( – a firm well-versed in the art of designing, fabricating and installing large structures aimed at beautifying the built world.”

    “Needless to say, the structure’s artistry relies heavily on the support of engineering science,” said Ken Heinbecker, Heavy Industries’ VP Marketing. “Executing the concept required extensive consultation and careful alignment between our design group and a partnered engineer, whose greatest challenge was devising the armatures to support some 24,000 pounds of glass and concrete. As the first installation of its kind in Calgary, it’s a landmark project for us, and for the city.”

    Imagined as a mixed-use, amenity-rich master-planned neighbourhood in the downtown core, East Village will be home to more than 11,000 residents upon completion in 2027. With local amenities like RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island Park, the New Central Library, National Music Centre and an urban shopping centre, East Village has become a highly desirable neighbourhood in Calgary’s downtown core.

    For more information about the East Village project, visit us at

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