Number of Sturgeon Falls downtown murals continues to grow

When walking in downtown Sturgeon Falls, you might notice several paintings on the side of buildings.

All of these murals have been designed and created by volunteer artists through community donations.

Artist Jessica Somers is preparing for one of her biggest canvases yet: the front of a local hardware store, which will soon be turned into two murals.

“One is honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women. I’m an Indigenous artist and I’ve decided to paint something along the lines of the red dress,” said Somers.

“The other mural will focus on Every Child Matters.”

Somers, who moved to the municipality only two years ago, fell in love with the downtown art and wanted to make her own.

“I create stories with art as a form of connection to community,” she said. “I just picked up the primer today because I needed more and I picked up the paint Monday or Tuesday.”

Paintings of a heron, a bear, musical notes, flowers and much more are painted and spread across downtown. In 2018, there were only two murals. Four years later, there are 30.

“It’s a tourist attraction. People come here and see them and take pictures. In the summer, I see a lot of people who stop and take pictures,” said Sturgeon Falls Beautification Group founder Gayle Primeau.

Primeau came up with the concept in 2017. She is part of various beautification and art-related initiatives in West Nipissing.

“My father showed me a postcard of some of some of the murals in Chemainus, B.C., and from there I got the idea that this could be something that could beautify our downtown,” said Primeau.

She called the project a "walking art gallery," adding that the murals are meant to attract people to visit the downtown.

“They’re vibrant, they’re colourful,” said Primeau. “Every mural has something to offer to everyone and that’s why they’re popular and why people enjoy them.”