Canal Construction Mural
Description of Property
The 27foot x 17foot mural titled “Canal Construction” is affixed to the north wall of the Welland Historical Museum (former Welland Public Library) at 140 King Street, Welland, facing the parking lot off Young Street.
Statement of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest
The mural “Canal Construction” depicts the construction of the Welland Canal bypass in the 1970’s and expresses the relationship between man and machinery. It is the work of well known local artist Bas Degroot. Degroot created many monumental artworks in the Netherlands and North America, including two large murals in Welland “New World” and “Canal Construction” and the bronze figures of beavers at the Welland Bus Terminal.
This mural was part of the “Festival of Arts”, a project started by the “Promote Welland Task Force”, a non-profit organization whose mandate was to promote economic growth and prosperity. Based on an idea borrowed from Chemainus, British Columbia, the Festival of Arts saw 26 giant murals created in the downtown and north end of the city between 1988 and 1990. Artists were selected to complete the murals from entries received from across Canada. The themes chosen for the murals were taken from local history.
It was hoped that the murals would bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the City and inject millions of dollars into the local economy. Funds for the project were provided by all levels of government, local businesses, industry, organizations and citizens.
Description of Heritage Attributes
Key attributes of this structure that reflects its cultural heritage value to the City of Welland include:
- The location of the mural on the Welland Museum in the downtown core across from Merritt Park and adjacent to the recreational waterway and Welland Canals Parkway Trail.
- The mural’s theme, “construction of the Welland Canal bypass – machinery” relates it to the 200-year history of the Welland Canal which was central to the inception and growth of the City of Welland.
- It’s size (27foot x 17foot) and central location make the mural a familiar landmark in the downtown core
- The mural is one of a series of giant murals in the downtown core and contributes to the continuity of the display of Festival of Arts murals in the downtown area, some of which have already been lost
- The mural is a bold and striking artistic creation that expertly illustrates its theme and has retained most of its original colour and vibrancy
- The mural is the work of an artist, Bas Degroot, who is well known for his work across North America and in Europe