Construction crews worked into the night to set up the berry-themed structure, created by local artist Manjit Sandhu.
The art piece recognizes Abbotsford’s strong agricultural ties and is located in the roundabout of the Clearbrook Road interchange.
It features five giant raspberries and four leaves mounted to a tall “S” shaped tower.
“The city’s public art component of the Clearbrook interchange project was designed to pay homage to Abbotsford’s title as the Berry Capital of Canada,” said city manager, Frank Pizzuto.
With the Berrybeat Festival opening on Saturday, Pizzuto said it was “a great opportunity” to recognize this sector of the community.
Mark Taylor, the general manager of parks recreation and culture, said the sculpture cost $52,000 including installation.
Taylor said two more public art pieces will be coming in the next two years.
In 2012, a piece designed by the artistic duo Kilvert and Kilvert will be placed by the new fire hall on Blue Jay Street, while Vancouver artist Bruce Voyce is designing a piece for the new library being built as part of Abbotsford Collegiate school. That piece will be done in 2013.
The city’s first public art work was constructed in February by local First Nations artist Raphael Silver. That sculpture, representing the life of salmon, is located in the middle of the southern roundabout on the McCallum Road interchange.
The city created its official public art policy at the beginning of 2011. Under the new guidelines, one per cent, per year, on all new capital facilities projects will go to public art, with a contribution cap of $300,000 per project.
Abbotsford Mayor George Peary said public art is a way to both beautify the area and create tourism.
“Cultural tourism is the leading form of tourism right now,” he said.
Peary called it “good business” and pointed to the downtown Abbotsford art benches as examples.
“People stop and take pictures on those benches. It’s an attraction.”
However, he acknowledged that not everyone agrees with the policy.
“There are some people who will criticize it. Some people will disagree with whatever council does,” said Peary.
As for the piece itself, Peary likes what it represents.
“It’s certainly a tribute to our agricultural roots … Clearbrook Road leads to some of the best raspberry lands in Canada.”