City of New Westminster Names New Civic Facility

- Theresa McManus, Royal City Record, November 14, 2012  

Royal City residents will be able to attend conferences, visit museums and enjoy theatre productions when the new Anvil Centre opens in 2014.

On Monday, New Westminster city council announced that the new civic centre that's under construction on Columbia Street would be named Anvil Centre.

"The anvil is a symbol of craftsmanship and strength and recalls New Westminster's proud roots as one of British Columbia's original industrial centres," said Acting Mayor Bill Harper. "Naming our new civic facility Anvil Centre is a great way to celebrate our more than 150-year history and pay tribute to the people who built the Royal City literally from the ground up."

Greg Magirescu, the city's manager of arts and cultural development, said the announcement was a "historic" evening for the city, which has been working on the civic centre for several years. He noted that the naming process included input from community stakeholders including Tourism New Westminster, the Arts Council of New Westminster and Massey Theatre Society, who worked with consultants, architects and a number of city departments.

"The result - Anvil Centre - is something uniquely 'New Westminster' that truly captures the essence of this place," he said.

A city press release stated that the name was directly inspired by the anvil's unique place in New Westminster history.

David Martin of Hyphen Communications facilitated the naming and logo design process, which also included development of a brand platform, brand narrative, naming option and graphic standards manual.

"This process was a perfect example of how a brand identity should be created," he said. "The name and identity aren't fabricated or artificial. They came directly from the real, tangible history of New Westminster."

Martin said a building is much more than a place, as it also provides an opportunity to be an icon that people associate with that particular city. He cited the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House as examples. With its "confident, bold face", he believes Anvil Centre has the ability to be that building for New Westminster.

Martin believes that the centre's name captures the spirit of the building, but also tells a story about New Westminster and provides a "window" into the city. He said the anvil's most important quality is that it could "only come from the City of New Westminster," and is attached to one of the most unique and celebrated parts of the city.

Last month, New Westminster city council agreed to consider naming rights inside the civic facility, but opposed attaching a corporate name to the building's exterior.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr said it was "quite a process" to name the building and he's pleased with the final decision. He said the name touches on the city's history, but also speaks to its future.

Coun. Lorrie Williams said some "amusing names" were considered during the process, but Anvil Centre shows the city's strength and history.

"I think we landed on a winner here," Harper said. "I think it will be embraced by the community."

The new name will be featured on signage and marketing materials for the facility that's currently under construction in New Westminster's downtown.

"The Anvil Centre logo is a stylized representation of both the soaring architectural lines of the new multi-use civic facility, as well as an inverted anvil," stated a city press release. "The overlapping layers within the logo reflect the multiple functions and activities that can be found within Anvil Centre itself. The colours in the logo reflect the traditional blue and gold of the city's official colour palette."

"Just as the anvil reflects the energy that is put into it, the name and logo also symbolize the energy that will emerge from the countless functions, events and activities that Anvil Centre will be home to for generations to come," said Magirescu.

Construction of the new Anvil Centre and office tower project is underway at the corner of Eighth and Columbia streets. The civic centre project is being partially funded through a development assistance compensation agreement between the Province of British Columbia, B.C. Lottery Corporation, Starlight Casino and the City of New Westminster.

Anvil Centre will include a 350-seat theatre, conference and meeting facilities, multipurpose rooms, arts studios, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the city's museum, an art gallery and tourist information centre. The eight-storey office building being built above the civic facility will include 139,000 square feet of class A LEED Gold office space.


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