Eat and Seek patio opens at Calgary's Southcentre Mall

Visitors to Calgary’s Southcentre mall can now enjoy the wide variety of food court offerings in a brand new outdoor patio space designed by two local Alberta artists.

Changes to provincial restrictions regarding public spaces and retailer/restaurant capacities came into effect Tuesday. 

In support of the many mall retailers and restaurants who’ve struggled though the yo-yo of changing health restrictions, Southcentre Mall partnered up with Calgary-based muralist Nicole Wolf and Edmonton creative Chris Provins to create Eat & Seek.

Boasting seating for 60 plus guests and with lots of space to play, the expansive outdoor art installation is a self-serve patio space meant to encourage Calgarians to support the local foodservice businesses at the mall by safely enjoying a takeaway meal outdoors.

Alexandra Velosa, Southcentre's marketing manager, said she hopes that Eat and Seek will rally support from the community while bringing awareness to local creative talent.

“We wanted to do more than just put picnic tables outdoors in the parking lot. We wanted to do something nice that will encourage people to come here, enjoy, go in the mall, do some shopping, get some food out of the food court and then come and enjoy the outdoors," Velosa said.        

The unique outdoor dining experience features interactive designs and wordplay that inspire visitors to hunt for hidden messages and symbols in a larger-than-life word search, attempt an unconventional hopscotch, and more.

CTV Calgary caught up with Nicole Wolf as she was painting some of the finishing touches.

“Chris and I were inspired by topographical maps and landforms, then I brought in my illustration and drew lines on top of the islands.” Wolf said. “What we wanted to do is provoke playfulness with children and the young at heart, the space is one that you can zoom around and find hidden symbols and messages, and there's blobs of color you can jump from and there's an adult difficulty level hopscotch in the corner. So I really hope this sparks joy for people.”

Wolf said the giant word search is filled with good intentions, "There's a few words hidden in there that we kind of dreamed up, I'd say that they're kind of like, a wish or a blessing toward people who are coming into this space."

According to a press release Southcentre also partnered with Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) to showcase the work of emerging student artists. Eat and Seek includes original artwork from first-year student Jayden Manzara and design submissions from five additional students will also be part of the digital component on the Southcentre website.

Eat and Seek will be open to the public from June 1 until fall 2021 and is located by Southcentre Mall’s North Entrance near Starbucks.