“The Canopy”

As a Brand, Will That Cover It?

“The Canopy”

Discussion of the new library-event center at Monday night’s May 14 Commission meeting seems to have raised more questions than answers.

How much will the library-event center cost?

After a dizzying hour-long discussion of design and building costs and possible sources of revenue, City Manager Randy Knight confirmed the total buildout of the Adjaye-designed library and event center, with all the add-alternates – the raked auditorium, the outdoor amphitheater, the porte cochere covering the entrance and a roof-top venue for the event center – will cost $37 million.

The Commission voted to proceed with the raked auditorium, the outdoor amphitheater and the porte cochere. While they did not approve the roof-top venue buildout, they voted to engineer the event center structure so the venue can be added at a later date. There is still no parking structure in the budget – or in the plans.

What About Parking?

Commissioner Cooper pointed out that everything she had read in the agenda packet about the rooftop venue talked about “doubling the amount of opportunity” to lease out the facility. “And what I would say to all of you,” she said addressing the other Commissioners, “the problem we have not resolved is parking. And for us to add on another venue . . . for me parking is a real problem.”

What about Operations & Maintenance?

Cooper also pointed out that, so far, there has been no move to fund the operation and maintenance of the facility. Mayor Leary had suggested that some funds could come from the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and Cooper pointed out that CRA funds could be used both for parking and for operations and maintenance. Apparently the City is also seeking to raise money from state and county tourist development agencies.

Where Will We Get the Extra Money?

To complete the components that have been approved, the City is still around $7 million short, according to Jim Russel of Pizzuti Solutions. That means additional fund raising has become a necessity.

What Shall We Call It?

Majority thought from the dais, with Mayor Leary in the vanguard, was that if you have to raise money to build it, you must first brand it.

Former Commissioner Tom McMacken kicked off the branding discussion. He spoke as a member of the current Library Task Force – which has taken on the task of creating a brand to use in the fund raising effort. Task Force members include Sam Stark, Leslie O’Shaughnessy and McMacken, who also serves on the Library Board of Trustees.

“When we go out to the public to raise money,” said McMacken, “what we hear is ‘Don’t bring us the old library.’” McMacken stated that a brand is so important that the Library Board of Trustees has put its current fundraising activity on hold until the City has agreed upon a brand.


McMacken explained that the Library Task Force had worked with Mark Calvert of Winter Park-based Evolve Design Group to come up with the brand “Canopy,” which was meant to encompass the new library, the event center and the entire campus upon which the facility will sit within Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. The Task Force proposed the various locations would be styled as ‘The Library at the Canopy,’ ‘The Event Center at the Canopy,’ and ‘MLK Park at the Canopy.’

Not So Fast, Says Sprinkel

The notion of including Martin Luther King, Jr. Park under the rubric of the Canopy drew immediate resistance from Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel, who very clearly did not want to rename the park. She said she would agree to assigning the name ‘Canopy’ to the library, event center and the porte cochere that joins the two buildings, but was firm that nothing should happen to diminish the identity of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

Mayor Steve Leary hastened to reassure Commissioner Sprinkel that renaming MLK Park was never the intent, but insisted, “We need a branding, something we can take out there to people to explain what this is.”

Why Not the ‘Winter Park’ Brand?

Commissioner Cooper pointed out that ‘Winter Park’ itself “is an already mature brand that is recognized as excellent.” She suggested the work of the Task Force might not yet be complete, and that before reaching a final decision they would be well-advised to seek further input from people on the name ‘Canopy’ and the accompanying branding language.

How Does ‘Canopy’ Relate to the Library?

“I’m wondering,” said Cooper, “why the recommendation [Canopy] is so generic. I don’t see how it relates to learning, knowledge, reading, education, opportunity, or intellectual curiosity – all qualities associated with a public library. What would differentiate it from any other mixed-use development – in Winter Park or elsewhere?

“I could see where ‘Canopy’ conveys a sense of inclusion . . . one-stop shopping, maybe – but not wonder and learning. That doesn’t resonate with me.”

Library and Event Center Are Now ‘The Canopy’

Despite reservations about brand confusion and questionable appropriateness expressed in citizen comments following the Commissioners’ deliberation, the Commission voted 3-2 to name the entire complex designed by British architect David Adjaye “The Canopy.” Leary, Sprinkel and Seidel supported the motion. Dissenting votes were cast by Cooper and Weldon.

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

25 replies
  1. Groundhog Day (again) says:

    This isn’t branding. It’s hopeful and forced acceptance (with fingers crossed–behind the back–in a darkened room). It neither inspires the imagination to climb to greater heights nor conjures confidence and excitement in the product at hand. Normally in these instances, you value your first impressions. The reaction is immediate. In this case, what did I hear from this commission? Nothing but a loud “Meh”. There you go. And the saddest part–we settled for it. This is not a good sign for days yet to come.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here comes the gentrified multi family and townhouse explosion “on the canopy”.

    Good thing we’ve made the roadway single lane.

    They all plan to ride bicycles and walk everywhere I’m quite sure.

    And no parking? Reminds me of…..Baldwin Park.

    Money money money mon-ay. MON-AYYY.

  3. Fido says:

    More thought went into naming the pet dog than three Winter Park City Commissioners gave to naming the residents’ brand new $30 million library and events center.

  4. WPAnon says:

    $37,000,000 plus interest, say $1,500,000 per year for 10 years at 4%, that’s $52,000,000+. My figures may be off some but illustrative of what the real cost of this boondoggle will be.
    I’m still struggling with why the library, which is meant for ALL Winter Park residents, is being skewed way to the west away from the city central corridor.
    Oh, we all know that Rollins wants the existing property for their own and whatever Rollins wants, Rollins gets.
    If Rollins College must have the property, clearly the best location is on the site where the city hall is now, encompassing a new library, parking building and a new, very needed, city hall.
    There is nothing wrong with the existing Rachel Murrah Civic Center at all (sans intended deferred maintenance) and to demolish it is fiscally irresponsible.

  5. Lisa Everett says:

    We join Lakeland (The Canopy at Harper Lake senior living community); Tampa (The Canopy at Citrus Park apartments); Jacksonville (The Canopy at Belfort Park apartments); and St. Petersburg (The Canopy at Birchwood “swanky” rooftop lounge), for example. Even Orlando has an apartment building named “The Canopy.”

    I suggest we refrain from claiming originality or cleverness in our branding effort. 🙁

  6. John Dough says:

    Why not just call it “New Maitland” or “The South Canyon” to reflect the new canyon appearing on Orlando Avenue in our neighboring community to the north? Perhaps “Ravaudage East?” At least Bellows has proven expertise in constructing parking garages…

    How is it that the facility lost the promised parking capacity and 15,000 square feet, but the projected cost has risen by 19%? New math or the same bait and switch?

    • Anonymous says:

      WP has been conned. Rollins wanted the property from the beginning. Take a look at the resumes of the original task force. Only a few did not have a tie in with the college. The square footage we have before us now is far different from the size promised. We have no parking garage. The only constant in this deal is that The Alfond will get our perfectly adequate library and parking lot which is in walking distance of many residents and schools. We’ve been snookered like we were during the “land swap.”

  7. Conflict of Interest says:

    Did former Commissioner McMacken disclose to commissioners that a major client of the firm he works for is demanding the Canopy name?

  8. Ann Saurman says:

    I agree with Commissioner Sprinkel. Don’t change the name of Martin Luther King Park. And don’t change the name of the Winter Park Public Library. It has had its name since 1885. It is disappointing that Mr. McMacken has found people who don’t want to give if he “brings them back the old library, but there are others who will not want to give unless the name remains the Winter Park Public Library. Mayor Leary’s remark about the “need for branding to take out there to people to explain what this is” tells the whole story. “What this is” is a complex that we don’t need in a place that it shouldn’t be and now with a name that makes no sense.

  9. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road says:

    The Winter Park Public Library and Martin Luther King, Jr. Park are already established, strong “brands.”

    “The Canopy” is a indistinctive name that sounds like it was conceived by a C-student as an exercise for an introduction to marketing class at a mediocre college.

    It misses major points of “branding” outlined in textbook cases of “branding” successes and failures.

    1. Never forget what makes your brand distinct

    Make sure branding continues to reflect preferences of original, established clientele as well as new targets (Mr. McMacken’s donors).

    2. Never neglect public perception

    Gather feedback, conduct research to see what clientele and potential clientele (not just a few donors) prefer.

    3. Don’t think of a “brand” as a quick fix (i.e. to attract donors).

    Before altering the name of your brand, be certain the name is an accurate reflection of the base of your brand. Otherwise, there will be a credibility problem.

    4. Don’t undertake change that undermine emotional connection with established, loyal clientele.

    3. Examine “the proudness factor.” Will your clientele feel proud (or embarassed) to be associated with your “brand.”

    (However, perhaps Mr. Winton’s suggestion of a “Canopy” launch featuring Metallica might overcome the meh-factor of the name, rendering the change an unforgettable “creative shock” in the WP community, especially if city officials simultaneously unveil the digital X-mas tree where the mature trees once stood.)

    • Naming Committee says:

      OK Smart Aleks. For your information, The Canopy was carefully selected in a process that evaluated over 1,000,000 possible names!

      Some of the most legendary marketing experts in the world were consulted before making the final decision.

      The Committee spent literally years of selfless sacrifice pouring over voluminous market research reports to find the very best name.

      This led to three finalist names that were brought to The Committee last month for a final vote:

      1) The Warthog
      2) The Flu
      3) The Canopy

      After an all night meeting, resulting in several tie ballots, the Committee dropped a super ball, a tennis ball, and a bowling ball, at the same time on the site of the proposed new library to see which would hit the ground first.

      Then an idea to draw straws was made, but rejected due to the plastic impact on the planet.

      Finally someone came up with the idea to flip a coin, but nowhere was a three sided coin to be found. So, that didn’t seem fair because selection # 3 wouldn’t have a chance with a two sided coin. So that’s how it was arrived that selection # 3, The Canopy, would be the one.

      • Big Yellow Taxi says:

        Thank you for sharing details of the painstaking market research, analysis, and strategy behind the rebranding process.

        However, some of your information is incorrect. The other potential names were not “The Warthog” and “The Flu,” with a total of 3 choices.

        Instead, the other candidates were “Exchange,” “LENS” (Library, Entertainment, Nature, Sports), “Deco” and “Canopy, with a total of 4 choices.

        Hence, the problem must have been that they were unable to find a 4-sided coin, on the probable assumption that the super ball, tennis ball and bowling ball all hit the proposed site at the same time.

        Giving all this effort, this name truly belongs in some kind of branding hall of fame. It’s amazing that it meets not one single branding success criterion, especially what David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising” said about keeping people’s desires and pain points at the center of messaging.

        • Canopy Convert says:

          Well I can understand that. “The Exchange” would have really let the cat out of the bag that MLK Park is planned to be developed into retail and apartments.

          “The Canopy” will fool the residents long enough to make the switch from Library to its real intended use.

          “Deco” would have been a dead giveaway that the new buildings will be an art museum complex, not a library.

          And “LENS” doesn’t fit with the intended purpose at all. Nature? They must have been kidding with “LENS.” Who wants nature when you can have CONCRETE?

          I don’t feel bad anymore about “The Canopy” name. When they get done knocking all the trees down in MLK Park, we can all be proud that we still have “The Canopy.”

  10. CJ Williams says:

    Reminder: We just hired a world-class architect to design, and yes “brand”, a library.That’s a $1.7 million design and branding exercise. Sir David is not designing a canopy. What’s more our own “City of Winter Park” brand continues to rise after decades of steady nurturing and investment. It is recognized and honored for what it has become. A unique community with features often missing in other cities..The same could be true of one of our city’s largest parks–if investments continue to be made:: MLK, Jr. Park. Are we now hearing the marketing gods can’t work with the facts, as simply stated:: Winter Park Library at MLK Jr Park”? Shame on us.


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