As Calgary was preparing to host the 1988 Winter Olympics, a plan was set to enable Canadians to purchase a customized brick to be permanently placed on the concourse around Olympic Plaza. Bricks cost just $19.88 and over 36,044 were purchased by Canadians from cost to cost to coast.
For 30 years the only way to find the location of each brick was to reference a 556-page print-out, available to anyone asking at the Calgary City Hall Information Counter.
In 2012 the effort to create an online and smart phone brick reference began. Unfortunately, there was no longer any digital copy of the database, so the manual recreation of a digital record for each of the 36,044 bricks in the Plaza began. This application and its companion website, www.OlympicBricks.com is the product of over 1,000 hours of painstaking effort.
Consumer GPS devices did not exist in 1987, so each brick was set in a virtual box defined by two Key Bricks, which were placed on the outer edge of the area where a set of bricks were placed. The purpose of Key Bricks was to facilitate the finding of a specific brick in the Plaza. There are 55 Key Brick locations in the plaza, each bounding approximately 700 bricks.
This application has added the GPS coordinates for the location of each brick, as originally defined by its Key Brick identity. This enables users to see a GPS-based map of Olympic Plaza with a pin that marks the centre of the Key Brick box that contains the brick they wish to find.
It is my hope that this application will introduce a whole new generation of Calgarians and visitors to Calgary to Olympic Plaza and give them the thrill of finding a long-lost custom brick with a special inscription.