Wreck City update

WreckCityAug2013 (1024x683)

Last night was the final walk-through for a new large-scale arts project forming on the horizon – Phantom Wing.

Phantom Wing is a project that was initiated earlier this month by cSPACE projects – the good folks connected to the Calgary Arts Development Authority that are developing the 100-year old King Edward School into an arts incubator scheduled to open sometime in 2014.  The Phantom Wing project incorporates a physical space slated for demolition.  It is large addition to the King Edward School built in 1967 including the library, approximately ten classrooms and offices, all enveloping a small private open-air courtyard.

cSPACE contacted the people who put together the Wreck City project to coordinate this project as well.  Calls for submissions will be accepted until the 26th with the event to take place around the time of year that ArtWalk has traditionally taken place – the official dates for Phantom Wing are September 24-28.

This prompted me to make a visit to the Wreck City location, since both projects involve physical built spaces slated for demolition.

After the Wreck City event ended, very little has been heard from or about it.  Wreck City was an event held between April 19-27, 2013 and because of the nature of the project this is not surprising.  Once the project is over, and outside of an annotation in a peer-reviewed history paper or a line entry on a curriculum vitae for those artists involved – most people will forget the event even existed.  This is unfortunate, but more often than not – a reality.

Approximately 80-90 artists/performers/arts practitioners of various stripes converted nine residences (and/or other built spaces attached to the properties) out of a row of eleven old homes, that were slated for demolition – into temporary exhibition spaces and performance venues.  These eleven houses or small apartment blocks, dated mostly from the early 1900s, were all located along one street facing the base of McHugh Bluffs in Sunnyside, close to the C-Train station.  It is a bit of an awkward place to find when driving, as there is only one way in and the same way out.  This makes for a quiet location with a small park across the street.

No doubt, this quiet location close to amenities was appealing to a developer. In the typical Calgary way of progress, the developer purchased all the properties and is looking to build a new beige four-storey, 115 unit, residential condo project scheduled for occupancy in fall 2015.

So what has happened since then?

All the eleven buildings have been razed and the debris removed.  There are a few divots left in the ground, where homes once stood and the grass has been allowed to grow.  There is a construction fence surrounding the site and beyond that, the developer is probably waiting for enough deposits to come in so that they can start building.

It is now a quiet memorial to what once was.

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