CTA Bus Shelters Transformed Into Summer Campsites

Wisconsin-themed CTA bus shelter

If you mistook a CTA bus shelter for a summer campsite, there’s a good reason. Five Chicago bus shelters have been transformed to promote camping in Wisconsin. A canvas-tent material covers the top, there’s a yellow camp klaxon rising above and faux-wood posts. There are even fall leaves covering the top.

Wisconsin-themed CTA bus shelterThe only thing missing is a roaring fire and the smell of s’mores.

Chicago is the only location for the innovative outdoor advertising campaign, which will continue through October 12. The inspiration for the design was a 1960’s-era camp counselor tent, according to Danielle Johnson from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Johnson explained the biggest challenge to converting a bus shelter to a campsite was, “making the actual arched ‘Camp Wisconsin’ sign out of real trees. In the end, we chose to go with dense foam sculpted and wrapped in printed bark. The biggest factor for shelving the real wood idea was the fact that we wanted to reuse the signs next year and the real wood would be too fragile to survive the seasons.”

The Camp Wisconsin theme, Johnson said, is about the feeling you get at camp – trying new things, spending time with family and friends and allowing yourself to do things you normally wouldn’t do back home – eat different food, try new experiences and just be free-spirited.

This isn’t the first time the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has chosen a campy theme to promote vacationing in the Badger State. Earlier this year, it used the “Airplane!” duo Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Hayes in a series of ads to promote vacationing up north.

“The one thing that differentiates us from surrounding states is that we’re fun,” Johnson said. “And fun is the foundation of the Wisconsin brand.”


Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at bill@ChicagoArchitecture.org.

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