New home

North Novies mu­ral will soon be un­veiled in its new lo­ca­tion.

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAR­RELL COLE dar­rell.cole@amher­st­ Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

The North Nova Sco­tia High­landers Mu­ral is about to re­ceive a new home.

The mu­ral, be­ing re­painted on pan­els that will be af­fixed to the east wall of Amherst’s town hall, will be un­veiled on Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. dur­ing a cer­e­mony cel­e­brat­ing the com­ple­tion of the project by Jen­nifer Mor­ris Cormier, who painted the orig­i­nal mu­ral on the south wall of the for­mer Dun­lap’s Hard­ware Build­ing on Have­lock Street in 2005.

“We have a num­ber of mu­rals around town to hon­our and de­pict his­tory, but one of the chal­lenges is these mu­rals were painted on build­ings that weren’t owned or con­trolled by the town,” Amherst Mayor David Ko­gon said. “One of the is­sues is longevity when you don’t have con­trol of the build­ings and the other is how the weather im­pacts them.”

The High­landers’ mu­ral that was orig­i­nally painted 13 years ago has be­come faded and the paint is peel­ing. Mor­ris Cormier re­painted sec­tions of the mu­ral soon af­ter it was un­veiled, but it didn’t take long for the paint to be­gin peel­ing again, but the Down­town Amherst Re­vi­tal­iza­tion So­ci­ety dis­banded in 2012.

“By putting the mu­ral on pan­els and putting it on town hall it solves both of those is­sues,” Ko­gon said. “In the win­ter the mu­ral can be brought in and it’s also on a build­ing owned by the town.”

It’s ex­pected the orig­i­nal mu­ral will be painted over.

Ray Coulson, of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers Reg­i­men­tal Mu­seum, is look­ing for­ward to see­ing the fin­ished prod­uct. He said the orig­i­nal mu­ral was one of the fi­nal acts of the for­mer reg­i­men­tal mem­ory club that dis­banded as its mem­bers grew older.

“This is great news,” Coulson said. “When CRDA was there, the agree­ment was they would fix it. When CRDA folded it be­gan to de­te­ri­o­rate and there was no way to fix it.”

Coulson said it’s im­por­tant to pre­serve the mu­ral be­cause it rep­re­sents the his­tory of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers, a unit that fought with dis­tinc­tion through north­west Europe from D-Day in June 1944 un­til the end of the war in May 1945. The mu­ral is also a memo­rial to the 486 North Novies who were killed dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

“Amherst was the only town of this size across Canada to have its own bat­tal­ion,” Coulson said. “They brought all these peo­ple into Amherst to train. Its head­quar­ters was in the ar­mouries and its bar­racks were in the old Bai­ley Arena. They all went over­seas to­gether from Hal­i­fax and 486 didn’t come back.”

Ko­gon said the mu­ral is about more than the North Novies but also Canada’s war and peace­time legacy. He said it’s im­por­tant for young peo­ple to know about the sac­ri­fice made by Cana­dian sol­diers and how they have con­trib­uted to the well-be­ing of oth­ers dur­ing two world wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan and countless peace­keep­ing mis­sions since 1945.

“This is such a proud his­tory that I think Cana­dian chil­dren need to know. It tells us where we have come from and we can take enor­mous pride in how we, as a peo­ple and a coun­try, can in­ter­act with oth­ers,” Ko­gon said.

Coulson said the town is to be ap­plauded for tak­ing a lead­er­ship role in pre­serv­ing the mu­ral and hav­ing it re­painted.

While the High­landers mu­ral is be­ing re­painted, the town has yet to de­ter­mine what it’s go­ing to do about other mu­rals in­clud­ing the Aca­dian Mu­ral on the John­son In­surance build­ing, the Mu­sic Mu­ral on Princess Street, the Women’s Mu­ral on Prince Arthur Street, the Trans­porta­tion Mu­ral on Sta­tion Street and the Great Amherst Mys­tery Mu­ral on LaPlanche Street. The Sig­na­ture Mu­ral was lost when the Bird Build­ing was de­mol­ished in 2011 while the craft as­so­ci­a­tion mu­ral at Vic­to­ria Court was taken down sev­eral weeks ago.

A study last year by recre­ation di­rec­tor Bill Schur­man and hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist Chelsea Baird found some of the mu­rals are in poor con­di­tion. The hockey mu­ral at the sta­dium and the Dayle’s mu­ral were found to be in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion while the Aca­dian mu­ral, Man­sour’s mu­ral and the trans­porta­tion and mu­sic mu­rals were in good con­di­tion.


Ray Coulson, left, of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers and Amherst Mayor David Ko­gon look at a photo of the orig­i­nal High­landers mu­ral on Have­lock Street. The new re­painted mu­ral will be un­veiled on the east wall of Amherst’s town hall dur­ing a cer­e­mony on Nov. 10.

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