It didn’t take long for a set of murals depicting street scenes in the early days of Penticton to find a new home.
City council approved a heritage and museum advisory committee recommendation that the three murals be installed on the street side of the old bus barn on Ellis Street, which is now home to FitKidz Gymnastics.
“It will certainly break up the massing of that wall we have along Ellis Street,” said Anthony Haddad, director of development services. “The tenant in the building is supportive of the murals going in that location.”
The murals, which formerly adorned a wall of Guerard’s Furniture, were taken down in November and donated to the city to prevent them from being obscured by any development on a neighbouring lot, which was sold recently.
Created by artist Larry Hunter in 2007, the murals depict scenes like the Empress Theatre, Penticton’s first movie theatre, which was built in 1912. The others show a Front Street store, and the Centre Garage, also in the early 1900s. At the time they were donated, it was hoped they would stay in the Front Street area they depict.
Coun. John Vassilaki still felt Front Street would be the best place for the artworks.
“They represent a certain part of Penticton,” said Vassilaki. “Why aren’t we putting them in the area they represent rather than moving them away to where they have no content?”
Chuck Loewen, the city’s facilities and recreation services manager said owners of appropriate properties on Front Street had been approached.
“The original intention was to move them down to Front Street,” said Loewen. “None of them came forward to say they would like them on their buildings.”
According to Penticton museum curator Peter Ord, the murals were painted on plywood then framed using 2 x 4s so they were very sturdy and attached to the walls using lag bolts.
The murals have been stored at city yards since, but Ord said the process of reconstructing them might be a little more work because there might be prep work on the new hanging walls and they will need a new coat of protectant.