Painting for the Sesquicentennial

Above: Haley Berard, Emily Berard, and José Chevalier paint their tiles at the cultural centre Tuesday afternoon. Below right: Murray Knight of the Historical and Cultural Society paints railroad tracks as his contribution. – Stephen Dafoe Photos

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville residents gathered at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Monday and Tuesday to take part in the Canada 150 Mosaic mural, a national project celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday.

Mural criteria required a landmark Morinville is well-known for, that is historical in nature, and still existing today. Artists for the project include Lead Artist Lewis Lavoie, Paul Lavoie, and, Phil Alain, all based out of St. Albert.

The artists consulted the Morinville Historical & Cultural Society in the design, and Historical Society members were on hand Tuesday afternoon to paint some tiles for the project. Also in attendance were members of the Morinville Lions Club and ACFA.

Artist Phil Alain said he was pleased with Morinville’s efforts over the two days. “The community of Morinville has really shown their excitement for the project,” Alain said. “The community did not disappoint. The energy was fantastic and the enthusiasm was beyond that.”

Morinville’s mural of St. Jean Baptiste Church on a rail car will form one of 150 murals that will be made up of 80,000 individually painted tiles. If connected, the national mural would be more than 365 meters wide (4 football fields) by 2.5 meters high (8 feet).

About 350 tiles were made available to complete Morinville’s portion of the national project. Some of those were painted by professional artists to create the backbone needed to be able to create a finished mosaic with the community-painted tiles.

Morinville Public School, Ecole Notre Dame Elementary School, G.H. Primeau School, and Morinville Community High School participated in the project.

Fifty tiles were set aside for Morinville residents to paint Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.

Just what the assembled mural looks like was to be kept secret until Canada Day when it will be unveiled during celebrations in St. Jean Baptiste Park. In a press release to local media, reporters were asked to not share or publish photos of the completed piece; however, policing that request fell short with participants – as the completed mural made its way to Facebook Tuesday night. The Canada 150 Mosaic website will not publish Morinville’s contribution until after the public unveiling on Canada Day.

Emily and Haley Berard show off their tiles prior to placing them in the mural.

Some of the tiles placed with spots for those yet to be painted.

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