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QR Codes Show Up on Saskatoon’s Broadway Avenue

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Saskatoon, a city in Saskatchewan, Canada, is employing a different set of historians and tour guides. The new guides are small, monochromatic and pixelated. Yes, they are QR codes.

QR codes have recently shown up at 30 shop buildings on Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon.

When scanned, the QR codes will take users to a special Web page that details the history of the buildings where a particular code was found. Some of the QR codes are found in businesses such as Starbucks and Szechuan Kitchen. One is located at Victoria School.

Broadway Business Improvement District executive director Sarah Marchildon explains that those who scan the QR codes are in for a lot of content. Some buildings have only a paragraph of text, others have stories behind them. Still others have old photographs of the building itself.

You would also learn things such as the fact that Victoria School used to be called the Little Stone School, or that Szechuan Kitchen used to be a lumber yard.

University Project

Amazingly, the whole thing started out as a project of a student at the University of Saskatchewan. Shawn Storry came up with the QR code idea when he was taking a cultural heritage mapping course.

From there, the BBID took it and implemented the idea on Broadway Avenue. The BBID hopes to add more in time.

The Saskatoon QR code project may have been inspired by the QR codes put up by the Castle Rock Historical Society at the town’s historic places. The Society identified 20 sites of interests and used QR codes to make these place come alive. These 20 places were included in the town’s walking tour called: “Then and Now – Holding History in Your Hand.”

This QR code concept is not alien to New Yorkers where QR codes are used from building permits to restaurant inspections. Tourists to the Big Apple can also take advantage of QR codes posted all around New York City where these serve as a tour guide. All they have to do is to scan the QR code and listen to an audio recording detailing interesting facts about the place.

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