The iconic King Edward Hotel sign is back, and better than ever! Thanks to the meticulous restoration efforts made by the National Music Centre (NMC), Facet Group, and Neon Sales and Service, the glowing neon crest has been returned and affixed to the historic hotel. The giant sword and shield hangs at the corner of 9th Ave and 4th St SE, and will welcome music lovers once again when King Eddy’s doors reopen in conjunction with the National Music Centre in 2016.
Heritage building buffs in particular will appreciate the significance of the sign’s return, as it marks the final step of the preservation process for the King Eddy. Both the sign and the building’s façade needed to be preserved to ensure the building’s heritage status. For this reason, the preservation process of the sign was scrupulous down to the last detail; colour matching of the neon was done to guarantee that it was the same as the original.
The King Edward Hotel first opened 110 years ago in 1905, and has garnered a rich history over the years that includes bootlegging and being the first desegregated establishment in the city. In the 1980s, the hotel became Calgary’s ‘Home of the Blues’, with some of the major blues artists of the last 50 years coming through its doors, such as Pinetop Perkins, John Hammond, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Otis Rush. Once, during an infamous gig at the Eddy, Buddy Guy brought his cordless guitar out onto 9th Ave to serenade some ladies, later dropping to his knees to play several songs while cars drove by. Apparently, many witnesses on the street didn't realize the magnitude of this impromptu show.
Serving as the cornerstone of the National Music Centre, the King Eddy will honor its extraordinary musical history by remaining a live music venue. The building will also host a restaurant, bar, and one of the best rooftop terraces in the city. We can’t wait for more legendary performances to be played from this Calgary landmark.
For more information on the King Edward Hotel and the National Music Centre, visit evexperience.com/national-music-centre