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Pembroke Murals Action 2004

“The Timber Raft”

Wouldn't it be neat to have a free-standing mural? That was said in 1997 during a brain storming session to chart our long and short term goals. Now Pembroke has a free-standing mural with three-dimensional components as a grand entrance to our beautiful waterfront. The Murals Committee could not have accomplished "The Timber Raft" without the contribution of knowledge, skill and time of many local professionals and without the financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The City of Pembroke, past and present Councils, were our Partners in this exciting project. All Partners names are engraved on the commemorative boulder.

Click on image to enlarge

For residents, you only saw us in action from April 27 to June 28. In actual fact these two months of installation were the culmination of two years of meetings and planning. We relied on our many Partners’ expertise as we wound our way through: power source and lights; angle of structure to withstand high winds; angle of the painted image as it would relate to the real timbers and rocks in the berm; planting of full grown pines to protect against wind and at the same time enhance the mural. These were but a very few of the challenges before us. The Ontario Trillium Foundation asked us to track the volunteer hours: we submitted upwards of 1200 hours. It was a great deal more as our Partners gave more than their contracts. There were at least seventy people who physically worked on site that includes: the Algonquin College Forestry Technician students who constructed the square pine timber to match the painted timbers; the Landscape Team who spread topsoil, mulch, river rock and planted shrubs. Pierre Hardy, Mural Artist, worked many extra hours with the Committee as the angle of the painted timbers coming out of the chute was quite difficult to plan. We had a critical path to follow and through their commitment we were ready for July 1st Celebrations. [Canada Day]

Maintenance and Repair

Maintenance and repair are a primary concern. It is important that we keep Pembroke’s largest tourist attraction in very good condition. This season, we repaired “Pembroke’s Swallows” and “The Great Fire of 1918”. General maintenance was applied to: “Champlain Trail”, “Thomas Pink 1841-1925”, “Pembroke Hydro”, “Pansy Patch Park”, “The Hockey Players”, and “Spring Harvest – an Artist’s Sketchbook”. The only mural that requires some repair is “The Ice House”: this will be completed in 2005. The Committee is very appreciative of the donation of labour by Ernie Fougere Painting to clear coat murals these past two years.

Tour Services

The francophone community in Canada is gearing up to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s explorations through this and other regions in 2015. Pembroke Heritage Murals is included in tour information packages of Destination Nord and coach tour companies: the project is known as Circuit Champlain We have one trained francophone guide in place and are in need of at least one other French speaking person who would be interested in conducting Step-On Tours. These guides conduct tours on a coach. We offer this service for a fee with an honorarium to the guide. We also offer Armchair Tours, which are suitable for welcome receptions or as an activity for conferences.

Memberships and Promotion

We formally became a member of the Global Mural Arts and Cultural Tourism Association earlier this year, which we all know is very reasonable with its one-time payment of $100. This is the international network of mural communities with a web site among other services.

Mapping the Murals of Canada is a project of Mural Routes in Scarborough [since 2000] and we maintain this membership for $50 a year. Visit

The Renfrew County Museums Network has produced an attractive Guide that features all fourteen museums in the County and Pembroke Heritage Murals. Together, we hope to develop greater awareness of this historic region that we are privileged to live in. The booklet is free: please pick one up and visit your community museums next season.

New Murals

In March of 2003, Pembroke Heritage Murals asked the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan if they would be interested in working with us to develop a First Nation mural. Since then we have met several times and are pleased to announce that this mural concept is moving forward. The site will be the east wall of the Champlain Trail Museum: the size is planned at 12 feet by 88 feet long. The concept is to illustrate community life of the Algonquin First Nation before European contact. We are now at the budget and mural design stage of planning.

There are other mural ideas being discussed. The challenge for the Murals Committee is locating new murals. It is much more difficult now with twenty-nine murals, than it was with ten.

On behalf of the Pembroke Heritage Murals Committee, I would like to thank our numerous partners and supporters during 2004.

Pamela Dempsey

Published Date: February 25th 2005

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