Locks of love

After moving from Lebanon with her family at the age of three, Sarah Hbeichi has happily made Calgary her home, and wants to demonstrate how much she loves the city.

In November, Hbeichi applied for a grant by pitching an unorthodox way for Calgarians to show their love for the city – love padlocks.

It’s a tradition popular throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia: Two sweethearts lock a padlock to a public fixture, usually a bridge or fence, to demonstrate their everlasting love for each other.

Often, one lock spawns a trend, causing the bridge to become completely covered in locks, to the point where the original structure is unrecognizable.

It has happened at Korea’s North Seoul Tower, Serbia’s Most Ljubavi Bridge (named after the phenomenon), and even on the Wild Pacific Trail in Vancouver Island, and  Toronto’s Humber Bridge.

Moscow’s Vodootvodny Canal has sculptural iron trees built for the expressed purpose of having their branches covered in “lock leaves.”

After seeing a friend’s photo from a vacation in Europe, Hbeichi was taken with the idea.

“I thought it would be something that would fit Calgary well,” she said.

Hbeichi, who is 29, wants to find a place in the city where people can affix locks to symbolize their love.

Hbeichi works for the city in new community planning.

While she has no artistic experience herself, she’d love to find someone to partner with on this project, so she can find another way to beautify Calgary’s public spaces.

Unfortunately, Hbeichi did not win the grant from the city for her project

. But now she’s looking at next steps – putting out a request for artists who might make the idea a reality with her.

“I want people to bring their own locks. I want it to be something totally welcoming, where people can show a love for Calgary as I do.”

About Sarah Pynoo 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Sarah Pynoo worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.