Centennial Park Festival Plaza
In 2018, as part of the Downtown Action Plan, the City of Fort St. John initiated the process to design and create a “Festival Plaza”, envisioned to be a year-round accessible public open space for hosting a wide variety of programmed events, arts, private functions, entertainment and celebration. The site is located on the northwest corner of Centennial Park, at the intersection of 96 Avenue and 100 Street.
Through a series of community engagement sessions, the vision for Festival Plaza was conceived. Over the past two years, the design of Festival Plaza has been refined to meet the needs of many different user groups and to align with available capital and grant funding sources. In Spring 2020, a public tender was released and in June 2020 a general contractor entered into a formal contract with the City of Fort St. John to complete construction of Festival Plaza by the end of 2020.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The design of the plaza has strong influences from local ecology, landforms, culture and events. The following describes the primary design features planned for Festival Plaza:
- Eight leaning wood poles around the main performance oval mimicking the placement of natural wood poles as the skeleton structure of a teepee. Four of the poles will include upward facing lights that intersect approximately 75m off the ground, providing a lit impression of teepee poles converging high in the sky that can be seen from afar;
- An open-air building with a capacity of 300 people that can accommodate a variety of functions such as markets, performances, social events and exercise classes. The building is very transparent with primarily clear glazing around all four walls, with roll-up doors on two facades allowing for free movement of people in and out of the building;
- Artistic paving patterns throughout the site with a variety of coloured concrete surfaces. One feature includes a blue coloured “river” passing through the entire site that, in plan-view, mimics the exact alignment of the Peace River as it passes through the Fort St. John region;
- Bronze paw prints impressed directly into the concrete surfaces, with life-like representations of black bear, moose and wolf prints randomly placed along the concrete river feature. Prints will be placed in precise configurations to exactly replicate true gaits and spacing of each animal; and
- Fire obelisks that include a large gas-fueled fire cauldron within an enclosed steel structure. Bases are constructed of pre-cast concrete and masonry material. Each of the four structures will include black painted steel above the bases, featuring imagery that is inspired by one of four themes.
The City of Fort St. John, with the Fort St. John Art Council, is hosting a public art competition that offers local artists the opportunity to leave a lasting impression in the plaza.
Artists are invited to submit concepts for the creation of the cut-out imagery that will adorn the fire obelisks. Each fire obelisks has four flat metal sides that will have cut-out designs featuring the winning artwork from this competition. Winners will be selected by a three-member selection panel, who will score the submission using a criteria matrix, and each winning submission will receive a $2,000 honorarium.