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Custom-made outdoor furniture installed throughout Old Strathcona

The Old Strathcona Business Association (OSBA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the installation of new outdoor furniture throughout the shopping district.

On Friday, OSBA held a reveal for the new permanent pieces, which include custom, locally made benches, bistro tables and bike racks.

There's also one parklet, a small patio that takes up the equivalent of a parking space, but OSBA says four more are on the way.

"People wanted more public amenities on Whyte Avenue, it’s the busiest walking tourist district in the city," said Cherie Klassen of OSBA.

"We actually know that when people spend more time they spend more money. It comes down to creating an entire experience of enhancing what the user experiences when they come here."

The furniture has been in the works for the past two years.

"OSBA reached out at the kind of height of the COVID pandemic, they wanted to create some more pedestrian room on Whyte Avenue," said Amos Kajner-Nonnekes of Vignettes, the company that designed the furniture.

"What we found really quickly is that people crave that experience, they wanted more space."

"You can come down and you can grab a coffee or a snack and you can actually sit next to someone and have a conversation, and you know, enjoy being on Whyte Avenue."

In addition to the benches and parklets, there are pastel-hued bike racks for cyclists.

"A large portion of the population of Old Strathcona, people who come to visit Whyte Avenue, they ride bicycles. They come in summer, they come in winter, so we actually worked with a number of bicycle groups to design the best bike racks for them."

Kajner-Nonnekes says Vignettes will be in charge of maintaining the furniture, which is made of powder coated metals and hard wood to withstand the winters.

The project was funded by Prairies Economic Development Canada, a federal department created to help diversify business in the prairie provinces, through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.

OSBA says this is a first-of-its-kind project in Edmonton.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk Top Stories

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