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Pembroke Heritage Murals: Reporting from Ontario, Canada

Open Letter to All Friends of Mural Arts...

It’s been another busy summer for us: our 32nd mural Living Our Community Dreams was installed in June and major restoration of the first mural, now twenty years old, Pembroke’s Swallows – Canada’s Capistrano was completed. Several other murals were maintained as part of our annual maintenance and repair program.

To keep up with the times, the Committee decided to provide an Audio Mural Tour directed towards the younger hi tech generation. It was recorded in MP3 format and is now available as a free download at The City continues to produce a Four Season Tourism Guide book that contains a full tour with map and a description of each mural. Pembroke’s website is

It’s hard to believe that we have five murals that are twenty years old and another five that are nineteen. We are proud to say that they are all in very good condition and are often complimented on this by residents and visitors. Various contractors, businesses, organizations and the City of Pembroke continue to support our work after all these years.

The following is a photo and a copy of the storyboard we have mounted next to the newest mural. John Ellenberger airbrushed the work, a scrapbook lying on a table.

Pamela Dempsey, Chair

Living Our Community Dreams

Circa 1950, a group of parents in Pembroke and Petawawa with children, who had learning disabilities, went against the established mindset of post-war North America. They believed that their sons and daughters should have every opportunity to learn, live and grow within their own community.

These visionary parents worked towards the establishment of what is now known as Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley. In 1958, they started the Schillhart School for children which was located in the Pembroke Legion. To say they were way ahead of their time is an understatement.

Jack Minns was the President of the Pembroke Civitan Club in 1958 and also involved with this group of parents. As a result, the first donation came from the Pembroke Civitan Club for $300.00. The Club continued to be strong supporters over the years.

As the children grew, Community Living grew with them and added many programs and support services for children, adults and their families.

click to enlarge image

Courage, Leadership, Service, Vision. Individuals can make a difference, even change the world.

This Mural pays tribute to the Founding Members illustrated here and also speaks to the future of Community Living and family involvement. Members of Community Living, who benefit from their dedication of fifty plus years, are shown here participating in various activities, jobs and events that take place in our community. The idea of an old scrapbook style of mural came from scrapbooks assembled by Members over the years.

Goal: “That all persons live in a state of dignity, share in all elements of living in the community and have the opportunity to participate effectively”.

Artist: John Ellenberger 2010
Sponsored by Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley
Pembroke Heritage Murals ©

Published Date: October 14th 2010

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