Tin soldier to be part of New Westminster's waterfront identity

Is the World's Largest Tin Soldier a guy lurking in the bushes or a prominent figure on the waterfront? That depends who you ask.

In an effort to increase awareness of the city's waterfront vision, promote economic development and create a unique destination in the region, the City of New Westminster hired a consulting firm to develop a visual identity for the waterfront. Council members supported the plan to brand the area as The Riverfront, but they've had mixed opinions on a visual design that would accompany the branding - with the World's Largest Tin Soldier being the sticking point.

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Coun Bill Harper said the tin soldier is a "prominent figure" on the waterfront and should be included in the design. Aside from the inclusion of a small tin soldier, he said the design is identical to what staff and the consultant supported.

Coun. Patrick Johnstone disagreed. He thinks it looks like the tin soldier is staring down over the city.

"I don't see it fits," he said. "It looks a little bit like Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still. I don't think it adds to it."

Coun. Jaimie McEvoy said there's a "pretty minute difference" between the two designs, while Coun. Chuck Puchmayr believes the tin soldier could entice some people to visit the waterfront.

Mayor Jonathan Cote preferred the design without the tin soldier.

"I think it looks a little too cluttered," he said of the design including the tin soldier. "When I look at it, I see a guy hanging out of the bushes."

Council voted three to two in favour of a design including the tin soldier.

Located on the waterfront beside River Market, the 9.75-metre tall tin soldier was listed as the World's Largest Tin Soldier in the 2002 Guinness Book of World Records. Originally erected outside of the Royal Westminster Regiment Armoury in 2000, it was relocated to the waterfront in 2002.

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