The Wayne Gretzky statue is hidden under a pedway. Here are five better spots for Edmonton’s most famous monument

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I know, I know, ramp concrete’s super expensive … but right now it’s a gravel lot there, so existing plans for development could adjust, and from OEG’s point of view, we would take photos of bronze Gretzky with the whole rink in the picture.

At least on this corner Weaver’s Gretzky would be out in the open near some trees. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia

A little to the left — 104 Street, 104 Avenue

Even better, perhaps, would be a nudge on the map to the west, with Gretzky hugging the side of the arena the way he used to at the Coliseum. There’s another high-traffic scramble cross here, and at night the statue would absorb the warm neon glow of the Local Failed Businesses — ahem — Neon Sign Museum, kitty corner across the street to the southwest. We’d still have that “in front of the windows” issue for ol’ Wayner, but at least they’d reflect something interesting at night instead of the current underground parkade vibe, where he now resides like a petrified bat.

If you want to feel an artwork with impact out in the open as proof, just head one block north from here to Essential Tree with the sky as backdrop at the northwest side the rink, an honest-to-goodness destination. If it weren’t standing there, it wouldn’t be a nothing place.

It almost feels like Gretzky skated away from here. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia

Back where it was — at Northlands Coliseum, 7424 111 Ave.

This will never, ever happen, but the argument bears repeating that a pretty good place to put a war memorial for Normandy Beach would be … on Normandy beach. This might surprise you, but Wayne Gretzky never played a regular season game, broke a record or skated a just-won Stanley Cup around the ice of Rogers Place. What he did and where he did it — literally in the rough, unshaven, working-class north side I grew up in — is metaphysical Holy Ground. Fingers crossed that however they develop the area when the old Northlands Coliseum finally meets the wrecking ball, there is some great landmark honouring the absolutely mind-blowing work done there. Frankly, monumental Gretzky should have never left that spot — but as the most famous temporary Edmontonian in history, his symbolic landing should feel a little more victorious, if only to better inspire the current building’s renters.

FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2010 PAGE A2
EDMONTON JOURNAL FILE PHOTO 2005- The Wayne Gretzky statue outside Rexall Place, home of the Oilers. Photo: Rick MacWilliam/Edmonton Journal
The Wayne Gretzky statue outside Rexall Place. Photo by Rick MacWilliam /Edmonton Journal/File

fgriwkowsky@postmedia.com

@fisheyefoto

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