Campbell Street ramp will soon see a Canada 150 makeover

A portion of the concept design for the Campbell Street ramp.

LITTLE CURRENT—Thanks to funding from the Ontario 150 Community Celebration Program, Little Current will see its Campbell Street ramp near downtown Little Current once again transformed, this time honouring the last 150 years of Little Current.

The ramp has been the site of various art projects throughout the years, from paintings by children in a wave of multi-hued blues to the most recent stencil works by former Little Current artist Marc-Andre Brzustowski.

In its tender, the Northeast Town asked that all bids must have within their works certain elements, including representation of Little Current’s First Nations founding fathers, a nod to Little Current’s sawmill history, a representation of Little Current’s war history, certain landmarks and, of course, the swing bridge.

Council was provided with a look at the preliminary murals of the two bidders with staff noting that council was to keep only the style in mind. After much discussion as to what should or should not be included, council awarded the tender to SA•WAT•SKI Concept Reality based out of Collingwood for $14,900 plus HST. There were no local bidders. The winning bid does have a Manitoulin connection, however, as co-owner Ashley Martin’s father is Wayne Martin, the ‘Stoneman,’ of Ice Lake.

Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson explained that both bidders said the mural would take about one week to complete and that staff would shut the southbound land down during that time. Southbound traffic will be detoured up the Campbell Street ramp.

The winning mural includes the migration of Anishinaabe following the War of 1812, the Picnic Island and Red mills, the downtown dock circa 1920, Little Current’s first car ferry, the steamship Hiawatha, the swing bridge complete with train, the coal docks and the Strawberry Island lighthouse.

“The mural’s finale is on the far left and is in honour of the Anishinaabe,” the designers explained. “Depicted is a Thunderbird rising with the sun with flames forming the back, symbolizing the people of the Three Fires who were Manitoulin’s first settlers.”

Councillor Laurie Cook noted that there were no women depicted in the mural. Councillors Paul Skippen also voiced his concern as to the lack of farmers in the depiction. The lack of war history was also cited as a concern. These items were to be bright back to SA•WAT•SKI Concept Reality for consideration before the final mural is revealed.

The mural painting will be accomplished as soon as weather permits, as the ideal temperature to paint is between 18° and 24°C.