Outdoor Murals of Ottawa Canada
Vanier downtown

The Vanier murals began with the Vanier Business Improvement Association. In order to obtain grants more freely, a non-profit group, PubliArt, was formed to receive and disburse them. A federal Millennium Project grant and several provincial grants were obtained.

There are over 30 murals here, with a brochure and map to guide visitors. Vanier murals almost all depict scenes from the history of the community, which began in 1830 as isolated settlements, took the name Eastview in 1909 and became the City of Vanier in 1969 before being absorbed by the City of Ottawa in 2001. Many of them are high up and hard to see, so much so that binoculars are useful for some. Worse, now that the grant money has been spent, there is nothing in place to maintain and protect them.

The Vanier downtown tour begins at the Rideau River beginning of Montreal Road.

[Map]  Eastview Shopping Center, west end, showing Cummings Island, the small island still visible just south of the present Montreal Road bridge. Charles & Frances Cummings, who had recently arrived from Ireland, built a home there in 1836. Later, their son Robert added a general store. Robert and his wife Agnes struck it rich when Carleton County used their island as part of a bridge over the Rideau River: he charged tolls so high they made his fortune. The post office, established shortly after 1879, served the entire region, Quebec side as well as Ontario. The figures shown are (left to right) R&A. Cummings' youngest son (who took over the business later), Raymond Hotte & his wife, the artist, then Robert & Agnes Cummings; the girl on the balcony is Robert's neice who looked after him in his old age. To see this mural, you have to descend into a truck loading bay and peer up, or have stilts to look over the top of a 2 m high solid steel fence. Artist: David Yeatman.

Eastview Shopping Center, east end. Rideau Bank Cottage was built on this site about 1887 for veterinarian James Harris. This view from the west side of the Rideau shows the artist driving the buggy from the barn. Almost all Yeatman murals include a teddy bear somewhere - try to find them! Artist: David Yeatman.

[Map]  Walking east along Montreal Rd, the bingo hall is at 70. Bingo began under the name Beano in England. Beginning in Canada as a rural fair attraction (at left), it evolved to a profitable enterprise during the days when cash prizes were forbidden in Canada (center). Today, of course it is a major fund raising vehicle for charities (right). The artist used family members for most of the models, depicting himself in a bowler hat in the left section. The mural unfortunately is over an entrance canopy that prevents a close look. Artist: David Yeatman.

[Map]  80 Montreal Road, on the wall of the largest supplier of model railroads in the city. The mural shows an engine that regularly crossed Montreal Road at what is now the Vanier Parkway from 1940 until the end of steam. Artist: Robin Burgesse.

Drive to a small side street east of the Vanier Parkway (Olmstead is convenient) where you can park for 3 hours, walk back west to the parkway [Map], where Governor General George Vanier and Mrs. Vanier are shown entering the town that later bore his name over Cummings Bridge in his landau with RCMP escort. The lead Mountie is a member of the RCMP Musical Ride, and was the subject of a Citizen article, "The Mountie Who Got His Mural". The scene is artistically appropriate, but historically inaccurate: General Vanier never crossed a bridge if it could be avoided for security reasons! Artist: David Yeatman.

[Map]  159 Montreal Road. These murals show the inside and outside of the Durocher grocery store, one of only 3 in Janeville at the time. The left shows the interior about 1915, the right the exterior about 1890. Regrettably, city staff's antipathy towards murals led to the issuing of a building permit for a patio structure that has obscured much of this fine mural. Here is what it looked like before that happened. Artist: Karole Marois.

[Map]  These two are on the Scotiabank at 211 Montreal Road. The right one, showing the first Scotiabank of 1832 in Halifax, is by Art Ladouceur. The left is of the Eastview Hotel fire of 1990, by David Yeatman. Originally known as Barnabe's Place after the builder, the 1900 building remained part of the major expansion of 1950: the red brick portion at the rear. At the time of the fire, Ottawa firefighters were switching from the suits shown to the current bunker suits.

[Map]  The liquor store, 230 Montreal Road. At the left is a medieval Italian vineyard with wooden stave barrels, at the right a modern Ontario vineyard with stainless steel storage tanks (and more business-oriented owners!) Artist: Karole Marois.

[Map]  240 Montreal Road, the former Action Logement building with the symbols for Ontario and la Francophonie joined with busy bees searching for food symbolizing their work. Artists: Colin McGill & Karen Churma.

[Map]  The Vanier Community Service Center, 292 Dupuis, at the 5th floor level, showing the progress in life supported by the center. A telephoto lens was needed to take this photo. Artist: Karole Marois.

[Map]  237 Montreal Road, showing the history of the Caisse Populaire Eastview in a church basement of 1944, its next home in a community center, and its 1990 home as Caisse Populaire Trillium. It is now part of Caisse Populaire Desjardins. Artist: Karole Marois.

[Map]  270 Marier at Montreal Road, featuring two Vanier hockey heros Denis & Jean Potvin. The rearmost figures are when they were boys playing pickup hockey, the middle ones as Ottawa 67's, the front as New York Islanders. Artist: David Yeatman.

[Map]  270 Montreal Road. This mural on stucco looks west along Montreal Road about 1910, when the Vanier Parkway was a rail route for freight into Ottawa. Artist: Marie-France Hétu.

[Map]  On the way to this First Nations mural at 299 Montreal Road, stop at the Vanier Business Improvement Association office at 287 to pick up their brochure with many details of the Vanier murals. Artist: Daniel Riel.

[Map]  323 Montreal Road. The building in the mural was originally a brothel, then the Janeville Hotel, finally the presbytery of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes parish. Quite a transformation! Artist: Mireille Russo Estirac.

[Map]  329 Montreal Road. The Eastview Theater opened in 1946 and closed in 1958; it was at the site of the General Vanier mural. The Vanier mural committee and the artist are shown in front. (Yeatman's signature teddy bear is in the box office.) The Motel Concorde with its restaurant Le Chateaubriand opened in 1963 and closed in 1970. The original builder M. Landreault is shown at left, the later owners the Malouf's at the right. Chef Albert was renowned for his steaks. Artist: David Yeatman.

[Map]  Notre Dame de Lourdes church, 435 Montreal Road. Artist: C.Danis Jr.

[Map]  The next group are separated somewhat from the Montreal Road murals. The Vanier Legion hall at 294 Cyr celebrates the veterans of Vanier. The ship is H.M.C.S. Eastview, the veterans Vanier residents. You can only see this mural during the winter, as most of it is blocked by trees during the summer. Artist: John Ellenberger.

[Map]  These are on the front of the Pauline-Charron Center, 164 Jeanne Mance and depict the tree of life, the past, present and future of the children and seniors served by the Center. Artist: Marie-France Hétu and children and seniors of the center.

Rear of the Pauline-Charron Center, lauding the work of the center's many volunteers. Front and inside views of the center are shown on the cart together with some of the center activities. Artist: Daniel Riel.

[Map]  A day care at 349 Olmstead, showing children at play yesterday and today surrounded by their church and francophone culture. Artist: Bernard Lévesque.

[Map]  A tribute to the founders of Mario's Food Centre. The business began in 1961 as a door to door, but settled at 381 McArthur in 1964 and has been there ever since. Artist: Shaun McInnis.

[Map]  Ecole Vision Jeunesse, 235 McArthur, a school that focuses on competitive and ethnically diverse cultural activities. This is another mural that you can see only in the winter, due to untrimmed trees. Artist: Yvan Dutrisac.

[Map]  Vanier Parkway at McArthur. This dramatic evening view looks north over today's Cummings' island and bridge, covering Parliament Hill to the Vanier sugar bush dominated by Joe Érable. Artist: David Yeatman.

[Map]  Vanier Parkway at McArthur. This mural celebrates the saving of the Montfort Hospital in Vanier, with the key people active in the battle in the foreground: Gérald Savoie, Michelle de Courville Nicol, Gisèle Lalonde, Michel Gratton and Ronald Caza. Artist: Marie-Hélène Lajoie

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