Coffs Harbour has the Big Banana, Goulburn has the Big Merino, and now Canberra has the Whopping Great Big Welcome Signs.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was on site on Pialligo Avenue in his capacity as Minister for Tourism this afternoon to officially launch the first pair of eight major new gateway signs coming online in the lead-up to the first Singapore Airlines direct international flights next month.
Similar signs will appear on the other three major road routes into the city, with two each alongside the Barton, Federal and Monaro highways, later this week.
Mr Barr, looking somewhat smaller than usual alongside the towering signs, emphasised their size.
“These signs are six and a half metres tall and three and a half metres wide, so they’re very difficult to miss,” he said.
“[They’re about] capturing some of the tourism experiences the city has to offer, on a massive scale.”
He said he felt it was important to mark the entry to the city with “signs of this quality”.
“It’s a more contemporary look for our entry signage, reflecting the new city branding, our new sister city relationship with Wellington and also a significant new look, focusing on the work of local artists,” Mr Barr said.
The ACT Government has spent $610,000 on the signs, with the Commonwealth Government pitching in $250,000.
Visit Canberra executive director Ian Hill said the signs offered great exposure, with Pialligo Road alone carrying 25,000 cars per day.
“Millions and millions of people are going to see these signs through the traffic across these major gateways,” Mr Hill said.
The “skins” on the signs currently featured images of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the Arboretum, Lake Burley Griffin, the National Museum and cycling at Stromlo Forest Park, but could be changed to promote specific events such as Floriade or Enlighten as required.