Three design concepts for a new gateway sign have been released to the public and the Town of Inuvik is trying to decide which will become the next big welcome for visitors to the town.

Council opted to replace the aging “End of the Dempster” sign in its capital budget this year. Tender for the new sign was sent to Fathom Studio in Halifax, who was requested to design a sign more reflective of the town’s current brand and returned the three concepts.

“We looked at the town brand, the symbolism between the harmonization of the many cultural communities here,” said intern architect Nicholas Robins at council’s Nov. 13 meeting. “We wanted to take the physical form of the logo and use that as our starting off point for design.”

While each is focused on a particular concept, all three designs are intended to be stopping points for people, so the sign itself is more of a centrepiece for a larger rest area for tourists.

“Gateway signs tend to offer an opportunity to take photos,” noted Robins.

To that end, council is asking residents to fill out an online survey of how they would like to see the area around the sign used, if things such as public washrooms or picnics areas are wanted, for example.

Anyone interested can fill the nine-question survey out at

Robins said none of the designs are final, but should be used as starting points for discussion between council and citizens to determine what the sign should be.

The first concept design of the new sign is essentially a porous wall designed to resemble the local landscape. (provided by Fathom Studio)

First on the design list is a landscape wall, using steel blades with spaces between to create an image of the local landscape.

“The elements that inspired this design are the Mackenzie River, a key and integral part of this part of the country,” said Robins. “Also the Aurora Borealis and the landscape people have been encountering on their drive up the highway.”

The second design concept uses the town’s logo and creates a 3D sign. (provided by Fathom Studio)

Second, the designers looked at the town logo and tried to create it in an interactive sign.

“It’s a fairly direct representation of the town logo. We also imagine the form could be lit from the inside,” said Robins.

The third concept takes the town logo and turns it into a full sculpture that people could interact with in a number of ways. (provided by Fathom Studio)

Lastly, the third option is to use the sign as a sculptured monument to create an interactive rest area for visitors and residents.

“It’s a sight that more than just a sign. We’re thinking how the forms could sit around the site and how they could be lit,” said Robins.

Councillors thanked Robins for the presentation and expressed their preference overall for the third option. Construction of the new gateway is expected to begin next year.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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  1. I think the third option is pretty cool… a unique take on Northern form. Can’t wait to see the results!

  2. All three options look terrible, why would you not use a local artist to design the sign instead of some company from Halifax?

  3. None of the three options presented are good. Focus should be on a traditional northern design and not a modern art structure as seen in the south. The current sign is far better than any of the three options suggested.