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Vanier Mural at 300 Peres Blanches. Photo: Caleb Ficner.

Vanier Murals: Capturing historic paintings in Ottawa’s east-end neighbourhood

By Apartment613 on April 5, 2022

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Introducing #VanierMurals: An Apartment613 x Vanier BIA series capturing iconic paintings set to be removed from the streets of Ottawa’s storied Vanier neighbourhood.

Vanier is home to many iconic murals with vast historical significance, reflecting the Francophone culture of the region. Now, many of these murals are set to be removed. Aiming to preserve the original artworks of local painters and digitize the murals for future generations to enjoy, the Vanier BIA collaborated with local photographer Caleb Ficner and acquired funding from the Association des communautés francophones d’Ottawa (ACFO), a local organization that works with government and community organizations to advocate for francophones in Ottawa.

The result of this collaboration is a Vanier Mural Map! The map captures 20 historic murals, and the Vanier BIA will add contemporary murals later on. Originally, there were 38 historic paintings. They are being removed as the lifespan of the work is at its end. Some of them have already been removed, while others remain. However, some of the properties are scheduled to be demolished and murals are slated for removal (Eastview Plaza, for one). Our project captured what remained at the time. Snce then, some of the works may have already been taken down. Viewers can interact with the digital map to read the story of each mural and easily find its location to discover in person, while still possible. Regardless of the passage of time, Vanier is a place where art has always existed and will continue to thrive.

 

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All of these murals were created either to attract attention or to share a message throughout Vanier’s long history (the community was known as Eastview from 1908 until 1969). For example, a mural at 307 Montgomery St. “depicts two separate, yet equally important scenes of Vanier and Franco-Ontarian history in general. Several elements of French history in Ontario can be seen here under “1910.” This scene takes place under the Flag of Carillon (also called the Sacred Heart) and commemorates the battle led by Franco-Ontarians to ensure their right to French-language instruction.”

In the coming weeks, we’ll share the entire set of mural photos and share associated stories. Join us in discovering Vanier through the eyes of photographer Caleb Ficner, who lives and works in the neighbourhood.

Follow @apt613 on Instagram to see all the photos as they are posted. In the comments, we’d love it if you would share your experiences, memories, and thoughts about the murals and the places that are represented (as well as the ones now gone and all but forgotten). Did you ever notice the scene from 1910 painted on a building at the corner of Palace and Montreal Road? Have you seen the depiction of the Chateaubriand on the wall of Concorde Motel? Whatever the story, we want to hear it. Discover the #VanierMurals in this digital interactive Vanier Mural Map.

We can’t wait to share these photos with you and hear your stories about Vanier, a neighbourhood with a rich history that deserves to be collectively remembered.

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