Now you can tickle the ivories up and down 118th Avenue

One year after an outdoor piano set up by Arts on the Avenue was mistakenly given away, it has been replaced — eight times over.

How a 'missing piano' poster turned into 8 new instruments

Arts on the Avenue has placed 8 pianos along Edmonton's 118th Avenue. Shoppers and merchants such as Michael Vecchio say they love being able to play the public instruments. 0:55

What started as a whimsical poster has turned into a musical miracle on 118th Avenue.

One year after an outdoor piano set up by Arts on the Avenue was mistakenly given away, it has been replaced — eight times over.

After a summer in the sun, the piano had been put behind The Carrot coffeehouse for safekeeping last winter. 

But something went awry and the piano was lost. Hoping to recover the missing instrument, Arts on the Avenue took to the streets, hanging posters reading "Have you seen this piano?"

To help spread the word even further, Christy Morin, executive director of Arts on the Avenue, took her plea to the local media. That's where things began to get interesting.

While no one came forward with information on the missing piano, 23 other people got in touch wishing to donate their own instruments to the community.

Overwhelmed with offers, Arts on the Avenue approached Dorcy's Piano Moving Ltd. about getting some of those pianos set up on the street. 

In the end, eight donated pianos were accepted, and all now sit in public spaces along 118th Avenue. The only thing missing, Morin says, is a little window dressing. She's hoping volunteer artists will come forward to help decorate the new pianos.

The project is a partnership between Arts on the Avenue and the Norwood Neighbourhood Association.

Musical makeover

You can find the pianos set up near the following places:

  • El Rancho Spanish Restaurant
  • Optimum Automotive
  • Battista's Calzone Company
  • T & D Noodle House
  • Avenue Theatre
  • Green space at 92nd Street and 118th Avenue
  • The Carrot
  • Myhre's Music

The first six pianos were set up two weeks ago, and the final two were placed on Thursday. 

Local business owners say they are already seeing people sit down to play a little tune, often earning smiles from passersby.

"I think music brings people together. Whether you're a customer or just walking by, I think you hear a nice little tune you'll stop and maybe it will brighten your day," said Michael Vecchio of Battista's Calzone Company. "I think music has that connection with people."

Morin is also hoping the outdoor pianos will help create memories for new generations of residents in the area.