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Roddickton-Bide Arm unveils Canada 150 mural


Mural depicts town’s culture

RODDICKTON-BIDE ARM, NL – Roddickton-Bide Arm’s Canada 150 mosaic mural captures the essence of the Great Northern Peninsula town that calls itself the “moose capital of the world.”

People, wildlife, forestry, community lifestyle and of course, the moose itself, are represented within the 500-plus tiles comprising the town’s mural.

The community’s pride in the artistic piece was also on display during the ceremonial unveiling March 19.

The momentous occasion for the small town of 999 people took place at the Cloud River Academy gymnasium. It almost looked like Canada Day with the entire room and local people dressed in the signature red and white of Canada.

The proceedings were introduced with a speech from Roddickton-Bide Arm Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald.

“Our council embraced the opportunity (to take on the projecrt),” she told the crowd. “We thought, ‘why not show the rest of Canada and the entire world that we are important and we are Canadians?’”

Speeches were also given by the town’s Canada 150 ambassador Earl Pilgrim, St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows Christopher Mitchelmore, Active Energy CEO and project donor Richard Spinks and Cloud River Academy principal Hollis Cull.

Artist Lewis Lavoie, who helped oversee the mural’s completion, and Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings, who also provided a donation, contributed speeches by video.

The unveiling was then conducted by Mitchelmore and Pilgrim, with the town council.

With it was revealed at last, locals stared with awe and pride at the town’s achievement.

Roddickton-Bide Arm and Torbay were the two Newfoundland and Labrador towns among 150 across Canada to complete a mural for Canada 150.

The national Canada 150 mosaic will depict a train consisting of murals from participating communities in each province. It will connect coast to coast from British Columbia to the territories to Newfoundland and Labrador. Roddickton-Bide Arm’s mural will be near the tail end of the train.

Townspeople of all ages worked on the mural at the town’s fire hall on Oct. 27 and 28 last year. They received assistance from two professional artists – Lewis and Paul Lavoie – who helped oversee and complete the project.

Fitzgerald felt that event brought the community together, from all ages and all different backgrounds.

She added that each tile on the mural tells its own story of Roddickton-Bide Arm.

“When you stand up close to the mural, you see what’s important to people,” she said in her speech. “There’s things like boats, ski-doos, boil-ups, jams, icebergs, the Sleeping Giant, flags – all the things that make this place a paradise.”

Due to sponsorships from Spinks, the office of MP Hutchings, the Northern Regional Wellness Coalition and the provincial government, the project did not cost the town’s council any money.

The mural will be kept permanently at the Green Moose Interpretation Centre in Roddickton-Bide Arm. A copy of the mural will be used for the Canada 150 mosaic.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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