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Learn more about the Benchmark Program with the most commonly asked questions.

What are the Commemorative Programs?

Commemorative programs provide Edmontonians an opportunity to honour loved ones or celebrate special occasions through a commemorative dedication on a bench or near a tree. The City of Edmonton currently has three commemorative programs:

  • Benchmark
  • Commemorative Tree
  • Legacy

All charitable donations received from individuals through commemorative programs are used by the City for the purpose of enhancing and beautifying parkland and public spaces for the benefit of all Edmontonians. 

What commemorative options are currently available for donation under the Benchmark program?

The Benchmark program offers commemoration on benches in City parks and open spaces. Currently, the following options are available:

  • Add dedication to existing bench - $2,500
  • Renewal of existing dedication - $2,500
  • Additional plaque on existing dedication - $600

New benches ($4,200) will not be available for 2020. 

What is the process for requesting a new bench installation? *not available for 2020

Donors may request an area for a new bench to be installed. The City then consults with planners and operations staff to find a suitable location within your requested area. If the location is near residential neighbourhoods, public consultation will be conducted and must receive 66% approval to proceed. 

Why aren’t new benches available at all City parks?

Benchmark program benches may only be installed on City parkland. Some parks and open spaces containing a high number of existing benches will not be eligible for additional new benches to be installed. However, these parks may have existing benches available for dedication.

What should I do if my Benchmark application is not approved?

Your Benchmark application may not be approved if your chosen location for commemoration is not available or doesn’t get approval from the stakeholders during circulation in case of new benches. It is recommended that you contact the Program Coordinator prior to making the application to discuss the available Benchmark options. 

If I make a commemorative donation, who owns the bench and plaque?

The City at all times remains the exclusive owner of all benches, plaques and fixtures associated with the Benchmark program.

How long will my commemorative plaque be displayed on a bench?

All Benchmark plaques are displayed for a Commemoration Period of 10 years from the time of installation. During this timeframe, the City is responsible for the maintenance of the bench and the plaque.

What happens if the commemorative bench or plaque that I dedicated is damaged or stolen?

Within the Commemoration Period, a commemorative plaque that is damaged or stolen will be replaced by the City at no cost to the donor. Within the Commemoration Period, if a commemorative bench is damaged or vandalized, reasonable efforts will be made to refurbish the item in a timely manner, at no cost to the donor. Donors can report such incidents to the City by phoning 311.

What happens to the plaque after the 10-year Commemoration Period?

Prior to the end of Commemoration Period, the donor can submit a renewal application to request that the City continue to display the plaque under the Benchmark program for an additional period of time. An additional charitable donation in accordance with the Benchmark program policies and guidelines in effect at the time of renewal will be required. It is the responsibility of the donor to submit a request for renewal to the City prior to the end of the Commemoration Period. 

If a donor chooses not to renew their commemoration, they may request the plaque as a gift from the City. If the plaque is not claimed, it will be held for a period of one year from the end of the Commemoration Period, after which point it will be recycled. 

What happens if the City can’t get in contact with me during the Commemoration Period?

The donor is responsible to provide updated contact information for themselves and for the alternate contact in a timely manner to the City at all times through the application process, the Commemoration Period and any renewal period approved by the City. If contact information is out of date, the City will not be able to reach out to the Donor:

  • When changes are required to the commemorative item, such as removal for refurbishing, change of location due to construction or other activities
  • Toward the end of the Commemoration Period to check if the Donor would like to renew their commemoration or not

In the event that the City cannot reach the donor at any time during the Commemoration Period, the City will contact the alternate contact listed by the donor.

What will happen to my Benchmark commemoration if there wasn’t a clear Commemoration Period established at the time I made the donation?

The 10-year Commemoration period and renewal option that were introduced to the Benchmark Program in 2016 do not apply to Benchmark donations that were made prior to 2016 and that did not have a clear commemoration period established. Benchmark benches installed prior to 2016 will continue to be maintained by the City as part of the existing inventory without requiring any renewal donation. 

How can I customize the commemorative plaque? What will it look like?

You may use a combination of upper and lower case lettering to suit your message, as well as italics. Some text can appear larger, such as the name of the person being commemorated. In your application form, use an asterisk (*) next to the line(s) you wish to have larger. Some symbols can be added, such as a flower, bird or tree. Usually a minimum amount of text creates a more elegant message.

Please find below an example of an existing plaque. A proof of your plaque inscription will be sent to you for approval along with the confirmation email. Once the proof is approved by you, it will take approximately 4-6 weeks for your plaque to be created. You will be notified when your plaque has been installed along with a photo of the bench.

What is included in my Benchmark donation amount and is there GST?

For new bench installations, the cost includes a new bench, concrete pad and individualized plaque, as well as all related maintenance over a 10-year period. 

For an existing bench, the cost includes a complete rebuild of the bench and individualized plaque, as well as all related maintenance over a 10-year period. 

Prices quoted online are the full donation amount. There is no GST for Benchmark donations. 

How can I make payment for my donation?

The donation can be made via cash, cheque, money order, debit or credit card. Once the City and donor have finalized all details of the plaque and dedication, an invoice will be sent to the donor with payment information. 

Will I get a refund of the donation if I change my mind after payment?

The City will refund the payment if the donor cancels their application on or before 14 days after the day on which their payment was received by the City.

Will I receive a tax receipt for my Benchmark donation?

Yes, tax receipts will be issued by the City to the Donor(s) in the following calendar year in which the donation is received, typically in late February and prior to April. The City will only accept charitable donations to the Benchmark Program which are tax deductible under Canada Revenue Agency legislation and guidelines.

Will a tax receipt be issued to all donors if there is more than one donor?

Yes, a tax receipt will be issued to all donors as long as they are listed in the Declaration of True Donor form. Please indicate on your Application Form if there is more than one donor so that the Benchmark Program Coordinator can send you the Declaration of True Donor form. The minimum donation amount is $20 if a donor wants to receive a tax receipt.

How long does it take for a Benchmark request to be installed?

Each request is unique and installation times may vary. Requests for new benches will require more time to process to allow for stakeholder review and public consultation when necessary. Please contact the Benchmark Program Coordinator for more details on the installation timelines specific to your request.

Typically, bench and plaque installations will only occur between May and October. Benches and plaques are installed in the order the requests are received. The City may not be able to install the plaque in the first May-October period after approval of an application due to constraints such as workforce capacity and inclement weather.

What kind of maintenance is conducted for commemorative benches?

Maintenance for benches includes:

  • Inspection, repair/refurbishment and/or replacement of bench materials every three years or as required 
  • Repair, refurbishment and/or replacement of the commemorative plaque as required
  • Repair and refurbishment resulting from acts of vandalism, as required

Maintenance for benches does not include: 

  • Site maintenance such as snow removal, grass maintenance and upkeep of the overall park/green space
  • Bench cleaning to remove dust, dirt or surrounding debris
  • Any additional staining to change, darken or enrich the coating colour or shade
How can I find GPS coordinates of my preferred location for commemoration?

If you’d like to share the location of a bench you are interested in, you can send the GPS coordinates to the Program Coordinator.

  1. First, open a map app on your phone and search for the location you are interested in
  2. Once you have found the location, zoom in as far in as possible
  3. Press and hold anywhere on the screen and drop a pin onto that location
  4. An info or detail card will appear at the bottom and you should see a 'Share' option on the info card

The sharing method differs depending on your phone and map app you are using.

For More Information

Benchmark Program Coordinator

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

Email benchmark@edmonton.ca

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