Artist weighs in: Peterborough gateway sign emulates the city

Pictured is the concept art for the proposed Peterborough Gateway Sign.


In collaboration with local landscape architecture firm, Basterfield and Associates, Peterborough is in the process of creating a new gateway sign along Highway 115. Basterfield handed in their submission to the Peterborough City Council on March 18, however councilors were not sold on the design, and wanted Basterfield to go back to the drawing board. They wanted the sign to be a representation of the Peterborough community and capture what the city is really about.

The submission featured the name PETERBOROUGH in large bold letters, with a cool stainless steel background, separate from the base, which was black, and the negative space was intended to be the ripples of a moonlit lake, reflecting off each letter.

I’m not personally from Peterborough, however my grandparents have lived here for most of my life. I remember the odd summer weekends, or March breaks with a few of our cousins and taking the tour of Peterborough.

I’m not saying that I think the memory of us each getting a few dollars and buying as much candy as we can is worthy of going up on a new sign to emulate some of Peterborough’s greatest assets, although we did buy that candy and go to Del Crary Park to camp out, listen to some music, and maybe get a caricature drawn of us in the summer. Or we laced up our skates and joined a pick up game of hockey at the locks to pass the time in the winter. Peterborough has a lot of stunning features, as long as you’re not around Whistle Stop past 2 am on the weekends (yikes).

I asked local graphic designer and illustrator, Jason Wilkins, on what he would envision for the gateway into our city, “I actually like the original concept by Basterfield. I’m not sure if with things like this you want something specific, it wouldn’t make any sense to put a landmark on the sign if it’s for tourists, plus the ripples in the water are a great way to capture a lot of what Peterborough is all about.”

Wilkins then went on to explain how he, as a resident of Peterborough and creative mind, would present the sign, “My first thought is something that would incorporate the arts, for which there is a lot of ways to do so. Whether it be through music, architecture, or pieces featured in the Art Gallery of Peterborough. Although admittedly, I would like to keep true to Basterfields concept of water.”

Further to Wilkins’ points, a number of the Peterborough city council members were quoted in saying that they actually liked the concept.

We are lucky enough to be able to share a view of Little Lake downtown, hear the clock tower chime, and watch the lift locks do their thing. And how could you leave out the 50-year-old relic of Peterborough, Trent University, bringing thousands of new residents each fall, pumping out academic minds, and conducting research.

We may also be amiss if we don’t stop to think about our earlier history. Beginning in the late 1850’s, Peterborough became one of the country’s largest manufacturers of canoes, and to commemorate this, we have the Canoe Museum.

The truth is, every city has their own distinct identity, and when you really look at the core of Peterborough, I think the common denominator in most of the memorable Peterborough landmarks is in fact water.

It’s the backbone of Peterborough’s economic life, bringing in dozens of large manufacturing companies, as well as its recreational life, whether it is by bringing the community together at Little Lake, or for a game of hockey at the locks.

About Jordan Porter 49 Articles
Jordan Porter is a third year political studies student at Trent, and minoring in philosophy. This is Jordan's third year writing for Arthur, and is now a senior writer while also serving on Arthur's Board of Directors.