Thousands of manhole covers dot Vancouver, but these heavy cast-iron disks often go unnoticed. Designs submitted by artists of all levels from across Vancouver could change this! Ironclad Art is an opportunity to showcase creative contributions to Vancouver and have artwork immortalized in iron on city streets for up to 100 years.

Turn our streets into dynamic public art sites.

We received over a thousand submissions of artwork that will help us distinguish sanitary from storm sewer manhole covers. The designs we received express Vancouver’s spirit, values and a vision for a sustainable future. The submissions are viewable online on the Submission Gallery page.

The Ironclad Art Challenge winners were announced on Saturday June 1st.

Nigel Dembicki (storm) is a Vancouver based artist and designer. He is a contributing partner of studioCAMP, a design/build collective studio. Nigel is entering the Master of Architecture program at Arkitektskolen Aarhus in Denmark this fall. The jury appreciated the clarity and technical execution of Nigel’s slightly abstract and very contemporary-looking work.
Andrew (Enpaauk) Dexel (sanitary) is from the Nlakapamux Nation and is known for how his prints and paintings often fuse graffiti and North West Coast Art. His playful work masterfully uses the circular shape of the manhole, and the jury felt this piece would have an enduring public fascination.


Storm and sanitary sewers play an important role in keeping local waters healthy. Anything that enters the storm sewer (including fertilizers and the pesticides used in gardens and the soapy water from washing cars on streets or driveways or garages) can harm Vancouver’s important water ecosystem.


The separation of sewers, increased environmental awareness, and careful practices by citizens are improving our water quality.

Each year, the City replaces about 14 kilometres of old sewer mains with two new pipes, one for stormwater run-off and one for sewage (sanitary sewer). Upgrading sewers to two separate pipes will eliminate the overflow of sewage into Vancouver’s waterways. Wherever you see two sewer manholes in the streets you know that the neighbourhood’s sewer system is up to date and contributing to a greener Vancouver.

For More Information:

Phone: 3-1-1   TTY: 7-1-1

Twitter: @VanCultureBC

Public Art:
Our City Our Art
Arts and Culture
Public Art

Separating sewage from rainwater
What manholes and water valves do

Project Contact: Derek Simons at 604-673-8330 or
Media Contact: or 604-871 6336.