Proposal brick: Part of Olympic Plaza carries deeper meaning for a Calgary couple

One Calgary couple whose love story is intertwined with the original construction of Olympic Plaza hopes the aging bricks won’t be completely destroyed under the city’s new redesign plan.

26 years of marriage began with one special brick

Valerie and Laird Salkeld wed in 1990, although the groom purchased a brick in Calgary's Olympic Plaza almost two years before he popped the question. (Supplied)

One Calgary couple whose love story is intertwined with the original construction of Olympic Plaza hopes the aging bricks won't be completely destroyed under the city's new redesign plan.

"I would love to have my brick if possible," Valerie Salkeld told the Calgary Eyeopener Thursday.

It means so much more to her than something placed between mortar.

She and Laird Salkeld began dating in the late 1980s. Around that time he took advantage of a city promotion to buy a brick and have a message engraved for just $20.

Then in 1990 on a cold January afternoon they went to Olympic plaza to watch the ice skaters. She was handed an envelope and when she opened it she read the words "look down." 

And there he was, down on one knee, next to a brick and holding a ring. 

Despite misspelling the word "marry" Valeria said, yes! But the future of the proposal brick remains uncertain, with the City of Calgary's redevelopment plans. (Supplied)

"I thought 'how lucky that he found something like this,'" but unbeknownst to her, her future husband had the plans in the works for more than two years.

The brick, however, was mistakenly etched with: "Will you mary me Val" instead of "marry."

"Spelling error and all, it means a lot to me."

Love story, Part II

The brick proposal wasn't the end of the road.

Laird had always been bothered by the spelling error, so in 2014 he had another brick engraved with their whole names and wedding date. 
This brick for their 24th anniversary features the correct spellings, full name and actual wedding date. (Supplied)

He meant to present it on their 25th anniversary but went ahead and gave it to her on their 24th wedding anniversary.

Every return visit to Olympic Plaza is sentimental.

"We've gone back with our children a few times so they have high expectations for their own stories."

As the bricks have worn over the years, they've wondered what would become of them.

Which at this point is unclear, although the City of Calgary's urban strategy lead, Carlie Ferguson says they "especially recognize the significant connection citizens have with the bricks in Olympic Plaza."

Fast forward 26 years to Valerie and Laird Salkeld holding a brick with proper spelling and their wedding date. The original from the late 1980's had a small typo. (Supplied)

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


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