Millennium Wall of Canada mural returns to Barriere thanks to Kamloops couple

Welcome home ceremony will take place in the North Thompson Agriplex banquet hall at 11 a.m. on Aug.31 in Barriere

The Barriere millennium mural was created by area artists 14 years ago. After the millennium celebration in Ottawa on Parliament Hill came to a close

By Susan Bondar

Glenn Hilke and his wife Heidi Coleman lived in Montreal when ‘The Great Millennium Wall of Canada’ project was conceptualized, developed and delivered.  Glen was the founder and Executive Director of Montreal’s Open City Productions.

Open City began in 1992 as a local not for profit arts organization.  They had a creative art component at the centre of all their projects.  Eventually they expanded their base of operations to include a Canadian mural making project which became The Great Millennium Wall of Canada.

The concept was developed in 1998.  A proposal was written to the Federal Government and was approved in late 1999.  The idea was to acquire 2,000 murals that would be displayed on Parliament Hill to celebrate the millennium on Canada Day.

The mural making project was to touch all across Canada.

Open City Productions, partnered with public schools, community organizations, governments, foundations, arts and culture groups to get the word out to have communities participate in the project.

The mural was to include the art of three or more people and be returned within three months.  The communities that chose to participate would pay $100 for the kit which included: the prepared canvas, paint brushes and paint, sent to the communities in a cardboard tube.  In the end, Open City Productions received 1,850 murals.

The Great Millennium Wall of Canada was a massive exhibit.  The murals were 8’ x 5’ and displayed in a triangular shape, two high on the lawns of the Parliament Buildings.  There were so many murals that other buildings in the area had to be used for the display.  The murals had several common themes such as; history, nature, wildlife, Aids, landscape, etc.  In all, the mural making project was a huge success.

Open City Productions was overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of the murals they received.  Whenever a cardboard tube arrived at the offices, all the staff would gather around in anticipation of the treasures inside.

The community of Barriere participated in the mural making project.  Glenn said that when the mural arrived from Barriere and was opened, everyone was amazed at the quality of the work and the uniqueness of the collage with leather added into the canvas.  It was by far one of the favourites.

Once The Great Millennium Wall of Canada project ended, the murals were sent back to the communities that had requested them returned.  Other murals were used as a community art bank for groups that wished to borrow them for various events.

The Barriere mural was hung in the Children’s Hospital in Montreal where Heidi worked and where many people could enjoy the mural.

At one time, several of the murals were being prepared for shipping for an event when a fire broke out in the offices of Open City Productions.  Many murals were smoke damaged.  The Barriere mural was saved from that fate as it was still hanging in the Children’s Hospital at the time.

Glenn Hilke and Heidi Coleman eventually moved from Montreal to Kamloops, where Heidi is the Chair of the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation, and the couple brought the Barriere mural with them.

At some point, Glenn and Heidi found out that Barriere was close by and offered to return the mural to the community where it originated.  In investigating the process of returning the mural the couple decided that the best place for the mural to be displayed would be in the North Thompson Agriplex, where people from all over Canada and the U.S. will have an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful and unique work and the history of the valley that it displays.

On Sunday, Aug. 31, at 11 a.m. in the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo event in Barriere, the Barriere mural will be officially turned over to the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association to be permanently displayed in the North Thompson Agriplex.  The ceremony will take place in the Agriplex banquet hall at 11 a.m. to welcome home this wonderful piece of artwork after its 14 year hiatus.  It is expected that a number of the artists who created the mural will be in attendance at the ceremony.


Just Posted

RCMP resort to spike belts to stop vehicle on Highway 5 near Barriere

After numerous complaints were received regarding driver’s behaviour behind the wheel Barriere and Kamloops RCMP use spike belts to stop vehicle

Police search for missing couple in Barriere area

A senior couple from the Lower Mainland have been reported missing

Barriere Secondary School holds Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembrance Day Ceremonies took place at Barriere Secondary (BSS) on Friday, Nov.… Continue reading

Bill Kershaw elected vice-chair of Thompson Nicola Regional District

Barriere resident Bill Kershaw was re-elected in October as the Thompson Nicola… Continue reading

Karpuk is the new chair of the Kamloops-Thompson school district

Veteran trustee acclaimed after no challengers emerged at inaugural meeting

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sunrise ceremony at B.C. legislature honours Louis Riel

Nov. 16 marks the 133th anniversary of the Métis leader’s death

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Federal MPs denounce controversial Facebook post targeting Sajjan

Okanagan Conservatives apologize for controversial Facebook post

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Most Read