City of Cornwall recognizes early history through mural

August 30, 2021
Museum mural
Alexandra MacDonald in front of her new mural in Lamoureux Park

The City of Cornwall and the Cornwall Community Museum unveiled a new mural in Lamoureux Park today.

‘The First Steps To What Came Next,’ designed and painted by local artist Alexandra MacDonald, features a historical celebration of the diverse groups and activities present in the region from 1784 -1820. It is located on a wall at the rear of the Cornwall Community Museum over looking the Riverside Trail and the St. Lawrence River.

“Designing and painting this mural was a big learning experience for me,” said MacDonald, who was chosen after the City issued a call for artists this spring. “It involved hours of research to get the historical details right and I learned a lot of new things from staff at the museum and the local historical groups.”

The mural was designed to present the historical period of early settlement in the region and was created though consultation with the Cornwall Community Museum, local heritage and culture groups, and cultural advisors with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

“We are grateful to the City of Cornwall for inviting us to partner in this historical mural project,” said Don Smith, Associate Curator and Manager for the Cornwall Community Museum and the SD&G Historical Society. “What used to be a simple fire exit for the museum, is now a beautiful and educational piece of art that compliments the museum exhibits and our work in the community.”

Alexandra MacDonald completed the mural over several weekends while being home from Montreal, where she studies visual art at Concordia University. She will be returning to the Cornwall area after she graduates and is looking forward to establishing her artistic career.

“The positive feedback from the community while I was painting this mural was incredible,” said MacDonald. “So many people would stop to talk with me about it which has really boosted my confidence as an artist. I am so grateful, and I am looking forward to more projects like this in the future.”

The mural design presents elements representing those peoples living in the regions during the historical period of early settlement (1784-1820):

• Haudenosaunee peoples, Mohawks of St. Regis and Akwesasne,
• Bateaux people (French-Canadians),
• Loyalists including Sir. John Johnson, the colours of the 2nd Battalion of the King’s Royal Regiment of New-York, and late period imagery of Loyalist wives and families,
• The slaves who came with the Loyalists,
• Those who fought in the War of 1812 including ex-slave John Baker in his uniform, which is the basis of a new museum exhibit,
• Various native flowers, plants, rive waves, fish, agricultural activities, basket making, and beading, and
• A central peace tree represented with a white pine tree.

The new mural is the latest in a series of new outdoor art installations completed in the city this year. Others include the new pop-up container on Pitt Street (by J.K. Van Noy), the Seniors on Wheels seacan at Marina 200 (by Joe McNamara), the Cornwall Tourism visitor information centre kiosk outside the Cornwall Civic Complex (by Naomi Wang) and the Diversity Cornwall mural at the steps to the clock tower in Lamoureux Park (by Kathleen Tuck).

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We all have a part to play in combating the spread of COVID-19. Residents are encouraged to wear masks, practice frequent hand washing and physical distancing, and stay home if not feeling well. For the latest guidelines and restrictions related to COVID-19, please visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit website.


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