• Stephanie O’Hanley

Hudson prepares for Canada 150 mural


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

With the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre renovations underway, a designated wall has been primered in preparation of a mural project based on input from members of the community.

At a June press conference Peter Schiefke, Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, announced the Town of Hudson was receiving a $15,000 federal grant for a new community mural project called We are Canada – Nous sommes le Canada.

With the town matching the grant amount, the 17,000-square-foot mural now has a total budget of $30,000. Weather permitting, this October the town plans to invite current and former residents to participate in painting the new mural on the exterior wall of the Hudson Legion. The goal is to unveil a completed mural by November 11.

“What we’re doing is we’re reaching out to all residents of Hudson, whether they be former or current, to get their input on what type of content they would like to see on the mural,” said Laura McCaffrey, Tourism, Culture, and Communications Coordinator for the Town of Hudson.

“When we wrote our grant proposal we wanted to make sure that the project was as participatory and inclusive as possible so that’s why we’re reaching out to our residents,” McCaffrey said. “We’ve got this online form that we ask people to use to submit their ideas so that everything is logged and we don’t forget anybody. But it’s ongoing and I suspect it will be ongoing for another couple of weeks.”

With the wall repaired, primed and “ready to go”, she said Kent Thomson and Daniel Gautier, two “internationally renowned artists who we‘re fortunate enough to have here living in Hudson” are taking all of the ideas to put together a concept drawing. Upon town approval, Thomson and Gautier will put the drawing up on the wall of the legion. “Then we’ll invite all of our residents to help in the painting and creation of it,” McCaffrey said.

She said Hudson chose to name its Canada 150 mural project We are Canada – Nous sommes le Canada because the story of Hudson closely parallels that of Canada’s.

“When you take a look at the First Nations occupying the shorefront, to the immigration of the initial French settlers who not only settled the land but did fur trading with the station across the lake in Oka, to the arrival of the English settlers and farming and manufacturing, all that really closely reflects the growth of Canada,” McCaffrey said. In keeping with Canada 150 goals, the mural will “reflect not only the past, present and future of Hudson but also the past, present and future of Canada.”

While she can’t say whether a majority of Hudsonites know this history, she said so far many submissions revolve around the iconic buildings in town or the landscape, for example Sandy Beach or Pine Lake and buildings such as the library.

“So even though people don’t know the history they certainly understand that those things have historical value,” McCaffrey said. “But it’s also about the present and sort of visioning for the future, which is why not only do we want to get input from residents but also younger, school-aged children, for them to have wild and crazy ideas about how they see Hudson in the future.

“We can’t possibly fit everything in,” she said. “The challenge is to edit things but that the mural still be representative and that’s where our artists come into play. “

It’s a project the town hopes Hudsonites will appreciate well into the future, McCaffrey said. “We really want people to be able in 10 years to bring their kids and say, ‘You know what, I painted right there! I painted that little animal right there.’ A real sense of ownership.”

To submit your idea, visit www.hudson.quebec and click on the “We Are Canada” banner to access the online form. Or email Laura McCaffrey at lauram@ville.hudson.qc.ca

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