North Vancouver icon Lonsdale “Q” sign replaced

Brent Richter - North Shore News

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Crews prepare to install the next generation Q sign at North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay. photo Mike Wakefield, North Shore News

It’s out with the old and in with the Q.

Lonsdale Quay has taken down its original rotating Q and replaced it with a next-generation model. The original had been turning at two revolutions per minute (just over a million rotations per year) since the Quay opened 32 years ago.

But routine maintenance done last year showed the sign had reached the end of its life and needed to be replaced.

The new sign looks largely identical at 5.5 metres tall and 5.7 feet wide, although it’s now lighter and brighter, fabricated from aluminum and outfitted with energy-efficient LED lighting.

The original architects designed the Q and its 18-metre-tall tower so it would be visible from downtown Vancouver. More than a landmark, the Q denotes a turning point in Lower Lonsdale, said Taylor Mathiesen, director of operations for Quay Property Management.

“I think the Q is an icon for the North Shore and has certainly become quite recognizable and known,” he said. “In the ’80s, when the market was first constructed, Lower Lonsdale was a very different area. The Q represents, I think, the beginning of the transition period of what we’re now seeing come to life in the area.”

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The old Q is now in storage and will likely be put on permanent display at ground level as part of series of major renovations planned for Losndale Quay, Mathiesen said.

“We’re hoping we can incorporate it somewhere in the property as an artifact and hopefully in a way that people can interact with it and just see a piece of the history and really the mass of it. It’s huge,” he said.

The renovations include a facelift for the building’s exterior, an improved dining area, renovated washrooms and entrances, substantial changes to the second-floor restaurant space, and revitalized public plazas.

“Not a lot has been done to these areas for the last 32 years so we’re looking at ways to better utilize the space and revamp it and give it all an improvement,” he said.

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