In 2021, the City of Yorkton received the Healthy Communities Initiative grant, funded by the Government of Canada, to create and install more bike lock stations in the downtown area. The need was initially identified by the Yorkton Business Improvement District, the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce and local downtown business owners after seeing more people looking for ways to get healthy and be outdoors after the start of the pandemic. A review of parking in the town center was completed in 2021 and one of the recommendations of the review which was also accepted by the city council was to install more bike lock stations in the town centre.
Downtown Bike Lock Stations
Yorkton has several multi-use trails in the community and by providing additional bike lock stations downtown that are safe and secure, we hope to increase the use of our trails and bike lanes. We currently have a few bike lock stations in our town center which were originally designed and installed as a Yorkton Active Transportation collaborative project and with our new designs we wanted to keep a similar style to provide continuity, but we also wanted our new bike lock stations to be designed by an aboriginal artist. In 2022, the City put out a call for Indigenous artists to submit their design for our new bike lock stations and Ruby Bruce was selected by the judging committee with the winning design!
About the artist
Ruby Bruce or Zhaawenoodin (Southern Wind), is a Winnipeg artist and mother originally from the Métis community of Saint-Laurent, Manitoba. Ruby focuses her work on the interconnectedness of plants and wildlife, as well as the natural beauty of the Canadian prairies. Ruby emphasizes traditional ecological knowledge and the preservation of her culture through her art. “I recreate what I see and feel, such as my family, community, heritage and culture, and local flora and fauna.”
About the design
The new Yorkton Bike Lock station design created by artist Ruby Bruce is named after Misâskwatômina, which in Cree means “the fruit of the many-branched tree”. This design depicts transportation and its relationship to healthy living through an Indigenous perspective. The artwork features the tracks of bears, deer, and birds. With Saskatoon Berries to showcase all forms of life; All elements are native to Yorkton and the province of Saskatchewan. The bear represents strength, bravery and good health. The deer represents vigilance. The Bird represents freedom, and their tracks represent the importance of physical movement and activity. Saskatoon Berries pay homage to local flora, while Saskatoon Branches symbolize the journey so far and yet to come. All the elements encompass together creates Mino Pimatisiwin, also known as living a good life.