Canada 150 murals unveiled at museum

Mosaic includes 3,000 people from Red Deer

The faces of about 54,000 Canadians — including about 3,000 Red Deerians — now smile down from the north exterior wall of Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery.

Six photographic mosaic panels that make up the Canada 150 murals feature a Canadian flag, heart, Cree medicine wheel, a red deer, Metis symbol, and a maple leaf with pride colours along the side.

“I think people will really enjoy it. We’ve been working so hard at incorporating diversity into what do and this is the manifestation of diversity in all its glory,” said Lorna Johnson, museum executive director, about the murals that were installed on Friday.

The museum commissioned Red Deer artist and photographer Tim Van Horn to create the permanent murals funded by a Canada 150 grant from the federal government. Van Horn was unable to attend Monday’s unveiling as he was on the road collecting more photos.

“His ambition was to photograph .150 per cent of Canada’s population so that’s why he’s on another jaunt across Canada trying to finish his collection.”

She said the murals totally transform the look of the building.

“It just sparkles. It’s absolutely compelling and it’s mesmerizing as you look at all the different images,” Johnson said.

Robin Byrnes, of Red Deer, said she was captivated by the incredible amount of planning and vision required when taking the photos to create each mural.

Heather McKinnon, of Red Deer, said the murals are brilliant because it’s the people that make Canada what it is.

“Niagara Falls is awfully nice and you have beautiful photographs of it. Big deal. It’s the couple going to Niagara Falls — that’s the picture,” McKinnon said.

Johnson thanked all Red Deerians who came out in the past and agreed to have their photos taken for the mural.

Acting Mayor Ken Johnston said he respected Van Horn for taking on such a huge project that celebrates inclusion.

“I’m somewhere in here. I’m sure I’m not going to find myself,” Johnston said with laugh as he took a closer look at the mosaic of faces.

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