City Council Votes ‘No’ on Bringing Back City of Champions Slogan

Edmonton will not be called the City of Champions again.

The City’s Council voted today on bringing back the slogan to the ‘Welcome to Edmonton’ signs on the outskirts of the city. As Elise Stolte of Postmedia reports, bringing back the slogan was voted down, with five votes for ‘Yes’, seven votes for ‘No’, and one undecided. Mayor Don Iveson was among one of the ‘No’ votes.

City of Champions was removed from Edmonton signs back in April 2015. Iveson claimed his rationale was that “we are in a post-tagline era” and that he wanted to move Edmonton into a new era. Instead, the sign now reads ‘Welcome to Edmonton, Alberta’s Capital City.

The issue was resurrected this year by a group called ‘Friends of Edmonton A City of Champions.’ The goal was to bring back the slogan and add City of Champions to the sign again. It didn’t happen, and Iveson had a similar stance on the topic two years later.

Iveson said that of the problem is there’s not consensus on what City of Champions means. “(It) proves the point that it’s hard to tether a civic identity to something that has that ambiguity for people.”

Councillor Michael Oshry echoed the sentiments, saying Slogans are out of date and they don’t work … at the end of the day the city means different things to different people and you can’t encompass what it means to everybody by a slogan.”

There seems to be a lot of confusion around the slogan. Many believe it was coined because of the great success the Oilers and Eskimos had in the 1980’s. In reality, it was because of the city’s response to the devastating Tornado in 1987.

“On July 31, 1987, a devastating tornado (ranked F4 on the Fujita scale) hit the city and killed 27 people. The storm hit the areas of Beaumont, Mill Woods, Bannerman, Fraser, and Evergreen. The day became known as “Black Friday.” Then-mayor Laurence Decore cited the community’s response to the tornado as evidence that Edmonton was a “city of champions,” which popularized the city’s unofficial slogan originally coined in 1984 to promote Edmonton.[15] It was further popularized in a sporting context later in 1987 upon the Edmonton Eskimos winning the Grey Cup after the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup earlier in the year.” History of Edmonton on Wikipedia. 

Well, Oilersnation, what are your thoughts? Who cares? Happy the talk is over with? Or did Council mess up here? Are they lacking in awareness? Or is Iveson right in saying slogans are outdated? I personally thought it was odd they felt the need to get rid of something in 2015, and most people I’ve talked to seemed to identify with it.

  • Explicit

    I don’t live in Edmonton anymore so probably shouldn’t comment, but I’m going to anyways. I didn’t like it when they took it down, and believe they should’ve kept it up. But they took it down and it would be weird to put it back up a few years later. Gotta live with your choices

    • Gravis82

      Agreed. He came in and I was excited, he ran on a transportation platform. I hoping for better bus routes, LRT improvements, sprawl control, effective bike lane placements, traffic safety improvements, building up, not out. None of that occurred. We had LRT mess up traffic, LRT roll out barely functioning, LRT taking up RV walking trails, condos taking up green space when there is plenty of room elsewhere, an entire new roadway through downtown Edmonton built with no dedicated bike paths, rampant photo radar without justification that it decreases COLLISIONS. Sure speed reduces collisions, but I have no faith that they are deploying photo radar in locations where speed related collisions are highest. Maybe they are, but prove it. If you need photo radar at [list of places] because thats where the most injuries occur because of speed related collisions, then yes, by all means, photo radar surveillance there. But to ignore those places and put them elsewhere where more money can be made is horrible IMO.

      • srelio

        Its really no coincidence that almost everywhere the speed limit drops for no apparent reason theres a photo radar. I appreciate you giving them the benefit of the doubt but by now they really dont deserve it.

  • That's My Point

    Pittsburgh Penguins used the “City of Champions” logo on their jerseys this year. Looks like Edmonton lost it; can’t be two Cities of Champions can there?

  • 813.52

    The very brilliance of “City of Champions” is that it means something different to every one who hears it. A song, a painting, even a simple slogan that can inspire differing reactions and interpretations is a rare thing of beauty. Michael Oshry took the very heart and strength of the statement and made it a negative.

    It’s little wonder that the city I call home has the reputation of being a dull, dreary northern outpost. Many of these same visionary “leaders” fought tooth and nail against the new arena. Edmonton has so much more potential. Unfortunately a small number of elected officials seem to enjoy setting their boots upon our collective necks.

    Come to think of it . . . City of Photo Radar and Strip Malls pretty much sums us up. Thanks Council.

  • Lakoustic

    Nobody is saying that Edmonton isn’t the City of Champions. They’re just saying the city won’t put it on their welcome signs. I think we can all agree that regardless of whether we have signs Edmonton will still have that same ‘champion’ spirit in response to natural disasters like Black Friday or the Fort Mac fire. Use the phrase as you see fit, and if there really is enough interest in having it physically stated somewhere, use the city’s own rebranding efforts to stick it to them. Create a Make Something Edmonton project to construct a monument or rename a nameless park to recognize the City of Champions moniker. Include an interpretive trail or centre to highlight the many events and accomplishments which make us proud to be the City of Champions.

  • JudgeDredd

    ” City of champions” Wikipedia page still lists Edmonton as one of the cities to use that slogan, as long as it’s on the internet it’s true, therefore we are still a City of champions no matter what our city council says!!

  • Heschultzhescores

    I like the slogan…but these days the whiners get their way all the time. It won’t be long before they want to give everyone a trophy for competing in the NHL or any league for that matter. I can hear them now, It’s not fair that one team wins the cup and are called champions…everyone who competed is a winner…lol. Stanley cup competitor rings for everyone ;). Guys like Getzlaf & Kesler would love the idea, it’s the closes they’ll get to actually winning in their careers.

    • 813.52

      You aren’t too far off, Heshultzhescores. Success in the NHL is punished, while failure is celebrated. The league’s goal is absolute parity. As a fan, I’m discouraged that teams who patiently develop talent are ultimately penalized for the effort. The Calgary Flames and a few other teams are destined to hockey purgatory. They are the clubs with enough honour to make a run at the bottom playoff spots every year, denying a opportunity to tank for higher draft picks.They can’t get better unless they intentionally get worse. Like or hate the Flames, they always seem to have some gumption in their game. Truculence, as it were. Yes we got Connor McDavid, but we paid for him dearly.

  • It was somehow appropriate in the eighties, but not now.

    @matthew henderson, on hockeybuzz.com: “The city of Edmonton championed environmental initiatives.” Really? This is your reason for bringing the signs back?

  • McPucker

    I’m with Explicit. The sign was taken down with no good reason. I was in the tornado and witnessed a lot of the clean up over the next few days and was a strong supporter of that sign.

    Perhaps Iveson was down with the decade of darkness. This ‘bring it back’ movement didn’t start till after the Oiler’s finally made the playoffs. Bad timing. It seems sports related. Wrong Champions.

  • Spydyr

    The sings were no on any City Counsellors or the Mayors agenda. If it was bike lanes that slow down traffic in the downtown core and are under snow seven months of the year . It would have been approved.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    This is a good decision made by this council. Again – it wouldn’t have bothered me if it city had re-adopted the slogan, but I think we’d all have to admit that it might have looked foolish to outsiders. But opting to continue in a new direction is a sign of the city’s growing maturity, and I think that’s refreshing.