New North Novies mu­ral ded­i­cated dur­ing spe­cial cer­e­mony


Mak­ing a build­ing-sized mu­ral is no small task, es­pe­cially when you know the men it’s ded­i­cated to.

“Old blue eyes, Earl Gouchie. He was one of the North Novies I worked with in 1998,” said Jen­nifer Cormier, while point­ing to the only sol­dier on the mu­ral who is painted with bright, blue eyes. “He was a char­ac­ter. They were all char­ac­ters. They were fun to work with.”

Back in 1998, Cormier was com­mis­sioned to paint a mu­ral in mem­ory of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers on the wall of the for­mer Dun­lop Hard­ware build­ing on the cor­ner of Have­lock and Ratch­ford streets.

She worked closely with about 10 of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers who fought in the Sec­ond World War.

“We brain­stormed for about a year,” said Cormier, who is from Nap­pan. “They told me what they wanted in it, and I did a lit­tle wa­ter­colour paint­ing for them. That paint­ing is at the North Nova Sco­tia High­lander Mu­seum.”

That wa­ter­colour paint­ing was com­plete in 1999.

“Then they had to get the funds, so it wasn’t un­til 2005 be­fore I ac­tu­ally painted the mu­ral.”

Cormier had reser­va­tions about paint­ing on the con­crete wall at the Dun­lop Hard­ware build­ing.

“Paint on con­crete is not the best com­bi­na­tion. When I put the paint­ing tape on to do my lines, the green painters tape, it fell right off the con­crete,” said Cormier. “At the same time, the mu­ral was there and the North Novies were there, and they had their cel­e­bra­tion.”

The ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony was held on Aug. 11, 2005. Since then all of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers mem­bers who fought in the Sec­ond World War have died.

“It was good they got to the cer­e­mony and got to see it,” said Cormier.

The orig­i­nal mu­ral has since de­te­ri­o­rated be­yond re­pair, and in 2017 the town de­cided to cre­ate a replica of the orig­i­nal mu­ral on the side of the town hall build­ing that faces out on La­planche Street.

In Sept. of 2017, Cormier agreed to cre­ate a replica of the orig­i­nal mu­ral.

The new mu­ral, which she started in July, is painted on 24 sec­tions of 8x4 ply­wood.

“Be­ing able to work with wood and ac­tu­ally cut it ver­sus just paint­ing on the con­crete made it a lit­tle more ex­cit­ing,” said Cormier.

Work­ing with wood also al­lowed her to give the mu­ral 3D ef­fects.

“Over­all, I like the pop-outs,” said Cormier, adding it took a lot of hours.

“I re­ally pushed it be­cause I was work­ing as well, so I worked Satur­day and Sun­day and had no days off for about three months.”

She said she was happy to re­visit the project 20 years af­ter its in­cep­tion.

“It’s kind of like my baby,” she said.

She be­lieves this new mu­ral will last much longer than the old one.

“I primed it three times and painted it on good wood. The paint is not go­ing to come off the wood,” said Cormier, adding, “I’m glad peo­ple care enough about it to in­vest enough in it.”

Hold­ing back tears dur­ing the ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony, Amherst Mayor David Ko­gon said:

“The orig­i­nal mu­ral, like the new one, hon­ours the mem­ory of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers, an in­fantry reg­i­ment that was formed in Amherst at the start of the Sec­ond World War, landed in France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and fought with dis­tinc­tion across Europe un­til the end of the war in May 1945. Four-hun­dred and eighty-six North Novies paid the supreme sac­ri­fice help­ing to keep Canada a free and demo­cratic so­ci­ety.”

The new mu­ral cost $25,000, which in­cludes the artist fee, ma­te­ri­als, light­ing, in­stal­la­tion and land­scap­ing.


Amherst Mayor David Ko­gon fought back tears while ded­i­cat­ing the North Nova Sco­tia High­lander Me­mo­rial Mu­ral in mem­ory of the North Nova Sco­tia High­landers. Also pic­tured, Ray Coul­son, left, cu­ra­tor of the North Nova Sco­tia High­lander Mu­seum; and Roy Porter, pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Br. 10 Amherst.

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