What has six legs, bears a striking resemblance to a VW Beetle and has now climbed atop a southwest Calgary Starbucks?
Why, it’s Spider Beetle, of course. And it’s found a new home at 14 Street and 25 Avenue SW in the Calgary community of Bankview.
The iconic piece of Calgary public art was removed from a nearby mechanic’s shop after more than 30 years as a part of an area redevelopment. But both the owner, Tony Mangat, and the developer, Certus, wanted the artsy arachnid to stay in the community.
“It’s very recognizable in Calgary. People grew up for years driving past it and as a commitment to the community we said, ‘don’t worry, we’re going to keep the spider, we’re going to refurbish it, and then pop it up in the community somewhere else,” said Certus property manager, Alice Lam.
Lam said they sanded out much of the rust on the bug and then gave it a new lease on life with a couple of coats of glossy black paint. She said it was important to Certus that the Spider Beetle continued to look over the southwest community. Many of the people she knows and work with had known and grew up seeing the art piece.
“It’s definitely an important part of Calgary’s history and so it’s just one of those non-negotiables,” Lam said.
Simone Brindamour, who lives a couple of blocks away from the Spider Beetle’s new location, was walking home from work Tuesday when she stopped to snap a photo.
“I’ve always liked it. I think it’s cool,” said Brindamour, who quipped they could call the coffee shop “Starbugs” now.
She said coming from a small town and moving into the city where she doesn’t always talk with neighbours, it’s a point in the community that can get people talking.
And for the foreseeable future, this is where Spider Beetle will make his home.
“I don’t think his legs work very well, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere soon,” Lam said.