Ready to go extra Mile

ROB BRODIE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

They're about ready to break out the banners along the Sens Mile.

And not just for tonight's Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final.

Sens Mile organizers got the green light yesterday to move forward with plans to turn the Elgin St. strip into a permanent monument to the hockey team that inspired its name.

"The city seems very receptive to what we're suggesting," said Cameron Bishop, whose Facebook group -- now numbering close to 15,000 members -- sparked the drive to create the party zone that has come alive during the Cup final.

BANNERS ALONG ELGIN

After a meeting with city officials yesterday, Bishop came away feeling good about the possibility of having Sens Mile banners soon erected along Elgin between Gladstone and Laurier avenues.

"Ideally, we'd like to have them up by Canada Day," he said.

Bishop added he'd like to see Senators player names or faces on the banners, much like the roadways that circle Scotiabank Place. But he said "that's something we'd need to talk to the Senators about."

If all goes as planned, charity events will be held year round, most likely to benefit the Children's Wish Foundation or Roger's House. Bishop and fellow organizers Shane Currey and Sarah O'Grady are focusing on children's benefits to honour the memory of Elgin-Alexander Fraser, the three-year-old whose recent death from a rare form of cancer touched capital residents.

Several Elgin St. bar owners, whose establishments have boomed during the playoffs, are already on board with the Sens Mile concept.

NEW TOURISM DRAW

"I feel good about this, the bar owners feel good about it," said Bishop. "We're all gung-ho. Why stop a good thing?"

Bishop envisions a permanent Sens Mile designation as also being a magnet for tourism.

"All of this has done wonders for civic pride," he said. "I'd love nothing more than to have (tourists) say, 'I went to the Sens Mile and it was exciting.'

"This is about getting it to the point where people identify it as a district in and of itself. The fans already have ... they love coming to the Mile."

And yes, hockey will always be at the forefront here.

"We want this to be a defined area that beats for the Senators 365 days a year," said Bishop.


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