City plans to upgrade the look of Civic Square - provide some shading.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2019


The city has plans to upgrade the look and feel of civic square and they are asking artists who have an interest in making the city a nice place to live to submit their ideas.

Upgrading the Civic Square has been one of those things the city hasn’t asked the citizens of the city to chime in on. They will get a chance to get their views in between May 13th and 27th.


The flag poles will be moved further up Brant Street opening up Civic Square.

The overall design has been determined and artists are being asked to come up with some ideas on what kind of shading there should be and what it could look like.

The competition closes on March 15th – for those that are artists there is all the detail you will want right here.

There is a fee of $115,000 for the artist(s) chosen to do the job.

In the two diagrams that follow the city sets out what will be put where in terms of the flag poles – the six are going to be upgraded to eight.

There will be additional furniture and some tidying up around the fountain.

Fig 2

The objective is to create a shade structure(s) to complement planned upgrades to the small gathering place in front of City Hall.

The creation and installation of the artwork is a two phase process. First phase is a look at what has come in in the way of ideas; phase two will be narrowing down to a short list of artists who will be asked to provide a preliminary art work concept.

Fig 3

The city describes Civic Square as a small yet vital gathering space located in the heart of downtown Burlington and acts as the front entrance to City Hall. In addition to providing residents and visitors a space to stop and rest, Civic Square is also home to a variety of arts and culture events.

Civic Square will be undergoing a renewal project to improve the quality of Civic Square as an extension of Burlington’s downtown main street. The primary objectives are to improve accessibility and overall character and to better support the community and local downtown businesses.

o Addition of lighting and moveable seating,
o Replacement of existing clay brick pavements and drainage system,
o Overall grade to be raised to eliminate steps and improve accessibility,
o Perimeter concrete planter/seat walls to remain but seat caps will be replaced,
o Addition of new trees, moveable planters and other plantings,
o Relocate existing flagpoles and adding two (2) more for a total of eight (8),
o Existing clock and decorative water fountain to remain in place.

In the instructions to the artists we learn that: “The overhead shade structure(s) will be installed on the south side of Civic Square. Ideally, this shade structure should be comprised of two to three (2-3) separate canopies, each supported by an independent foundation. The shade structure(s) will complement other site amenities including the concrete planter/seat wall, moveable seating, lighting and custom paving to create a space that is welcoming and open to pedestrians. It is anticipated that these amenities will further encourage the casual use of the space.”

Under a separate tendering process, the City will procure the contracted construction for Civic Square and Brant Street renewal in June so that on-site work can begin in late June.

The Civic Square tender project will not include the construction of the shade structure however it will include a lump sum cash allowance for the construction of the shade structure footings. The cost for the construction of the footings is not part of the $115,000 for this commission, as it will be paid for out of the construction budget for the Civic Square Project.

The contractor for the Civic Square project is anticipated to be complete and off-site by end of September. The artist will be expected to install the shade structure in October/November 2019.


Estimated Project Timeline (2019)

Civic sq timeline

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7 comments to City plans to upgrade the look of Civic Square – provide some shading.

  • Stephen White

    A frivolous waste of money for a plan that yields only modest benefits. There are other more pressing priorities that are deserving of attention. This is project isn’t one of them.

  • CMG

    Not to worry. With all the high rise development coming to the downtown core, there will not be a speck of sunlight on the square. Infrastructure, we’re not so sure about.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Upgrading the civic square should be put on hold and should be part of the budget process where each and every expenditure is scrutinized and prioritized. The city may want to took at how condo corps are legislated and how they go about spending the unit owners money. (i.e. the Condo Act specifies that a reserve fund can be used only for replacement and major repairs, not maintenance, upgrades or regular repairs that result from normal wear and tear. These have to be covered in the regular budget. Why is the public consultation taking place in May, 3 months into the project, why not ask us before Feb 11?

  • Penny Hersh

    Why would this upgrade been done now? Before we spend this money I would think it prudent to get a 3D model of the area to see how the 2 new buildings on Brant and James Street will impact the size and scale of what should be located in an updated civic square.

    I live across the road from the Bridgewater project and the size and height of the Pier looks absolutely ridiculous beside this development.

    Were we not led to believe that part of the Section 37 benefits were that the developers would be participating in the upgrades to enhance civic square?

    I wonder what is going to happen to the Elgin street promenade area beside Kelly’s Bakeshop when construction starts on these 2 developments?

    I agree with Roger – “no public transit to speak of, no money for clearing icy sidewalks and let’s not forget eliminating leaf collection” and this is where the city wants to spend money. What ever happened to we need to concentrate on “Needs not Wants”?

    Once again it seems that the city is putting the cart before the horse.

  • ROB

    roger is correct she hasn’t been mayor for 2 months and destroying it

  • Diane

    How is this a priority? 8 flagpoles?Do we need more than 1? Meanwhile an email to City Hall about the crumbling Port Nelson Park shoreline goes unanswered. Funds earmarked for repairs are apparently no longer sufficient. This locally historic site was one of the main ports of Burlington dating back to the early 1800s. Pioneer Hugh Cotter had flown a three by six foot red ensign flag in July 1, 1867 on this land. Perhaps City Hall would give up one of theirs for the Park. Don’t install too close to the shoreline though.

  • Roger

    Lets see – no money for clearing icy sidewalks making the city unwalkable – double inflation sized tax increases – no transit to speak of – can we really afford this – is there not a better place to spend money