Feb. 29, 1988: 'City of Champions!' added to welcome to Edmonton signs

City pride was high as Mayor Laurence Decore unveiled the 'City of Champions!' signs at a city hall ceremony.

Signs meant to celebrate sports beyond the Oilers and Eskimos

From the archives: Edmonton hangs City of Champions signs

5 years ago
Duration 1:37
On Feb. 29, 1988, Mayor Laurence Decore unveiled the city's new signs paying homage to Edmonton's sports success.

City pride was high when Mayor Laurence Decore unveiled 'City of Champions!' signs at a city hall ceremony, even as work crews were busy installing the new signs at highway entrances.

During the 1980s the Oilers and Eskimos were winning championships, but the signs were meant to celebrate more than Edmonton's professional sports teams. 
The Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup for a third time in 1987 contributing to the feeling that Edmonton was the 'City of Champions'. (CBC)

The Edmonton Grads, the Northern Lights wheelchair basketball team and the NAIT Ookpiks hockey team were all badges of honour for the city in sports.

Edmonton also had a history of hosting large sports events like the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the Summer Universiade in 1983.
Mayor Laurence Decore unveiling the 'City of Champions!' sign at city hall. (CBC)

At the ceremony, Decore paid tribute to Calgary hosting the 1988 Olympics and compared the two cities' ability to entertain the world at large events.

"They've shown that southern Albertans are just as great in terms of organization and volunteerism as northern Albertans," Decore said.

The original 'City of Champions!' signs were later redesigned with the exclamation mark removed. They greeted drivers entering the city until council voted in 2015 to scrap them.
The 'City of Champions' sign in 2015. (Scott Stevenson/CBC)

In the video, CBC's Marilyn Lee shows the installation of the newly-minted signs and some of Edmonton's rich sports history.


John Zazula

Associate Producer

John Zazula is an associate producer at CBC and has been with the Corp. for more than 15 years. As a lifelong Edmontonian, John brings that experience to the job.