historic scenes, Midland

Midland ontario symbol in bronze with blue water, bronze pine trees and yellow sun

Scattered around downtown Midland Ontario are quite a few murals with scenes of bygone days.  Many of these were originally painted by Fred Lenz in 1996 & 1997 and then repainted ten or eleven years later by Terri Milley and Ruth Hurdle.

below: Midland train station and railway yard.

downtown midland ontario, street with reddish brick building, 2 storeys, with a large mural painted on the side

In 1871 the area was the village of Mundy’s Bay.  That year, the Midland Railway chose Mundy’s Bay to be the terminus of a new railway line – the railway already ran between Port Hope and Beaverton and they wanted to extend it to Georgian Bay.  The small community of Mundy’s Bay was renamed Midland City.   By 1879 the railway was completed.

railway mural in Midland Ontario, five panels, train station, two large engines, people,

scene in a mural from Midland train station many years ago, women in long dresses and men in suits

vintage scene, men at railway yard, boy watching

below: Midland is on the shore of Georgian Bay which is part of Lake Huron.  Lumber and grain passed through this harbour and the town prospered.

mural of an historic scene in Midland Ontario, people in fashion of the time, standing on dock looking at a boat in the water and a grain elevator

below: Sewing in the window, with a view of the woolen mill across the street. small mural behind a tree on the upper storey above a store, a woman in a long blue dress is sewing at on old fashioned sewing machine

below: European explorers and their First Nations guides canoeing on the lake.

mural in bad shape (peeling paint) of a European explorer standing beside a lake scene, First Nations people and Europeans in canoes

below: A red and white lighthouse with a brilliant blue sky

along the whole side of a building, painted bright sky blue with some puffy white clouds. A large painting of a red and white lighthouse

below: Maybe when the first car came to town?

mural depicting a farm scene from a porch, with old fashioned car driving through. Barn with horse and child, also horse drawn wagon

below: Above an Italian restaurant is this small picture of horses bringing logs to the saw mill to be cut into lumber.

small mural above an Italian restaurant, horses bring a load of logs to the saw mill to be cut

below: HMS Bee, a schooner

a man with a beard stands with his arms crossed looking at a picture of a schooner with 3 sails, the HMS Bee

below: A portrait of James Playfair.  A the bottom of the pillar on the left: “A successful Midland lumberman turned to shipping in 1896.  In 1901 he formed the Midland Navigation Co.  In 1910 he established the Midland Dry Dock Co. renaming it in 1915 the Midland Shipbuilding Co to build ocean ships”.  At the bottom of the pillar on the right: “James Playfair’s Company completed in 1917 a large new shipyard on the Midland Waterfront to build Government contracted ocean cargo steamers.  The first one launched was the ‘War Fiend’ (1918-1920).”

a portrait of James Playfair in a mural, long with images of some of the boats that his shipyard built

below: Playfair Mills

a car is parked in front of a mural of a man balancing on logs in the water, playfair mills, midland history series murals.

below: Midland’s first post office opened in 1872

picture of man with grey hair, beard & mustache standing outside the post office,

below: A tribute to Canadian Girl Guides

vintage Girl Guides in blue hats tending to a wounded dog, with a sore paw, tent in the background.

below: The cleaners, delivering clean clothes.

car parked in front of a mural showing the interior of an old cleaners with a man working inside hanging up a dress

The murals were funded by Midland BIA & The Ontario Trillium Foundation

Old First Ward murals, Buffalo

The First Ward in Buffalo NY includes the docks along the Buffalo River and was once a thriving industrial area.  Old grain elevators still dominate the area.   The first residents were Irish who came to help dig the Erie Canal (completed in 1825) and who stayed.   A second wave of Irish immigrants arrived in the 1840’s as refugees from the famine.  They settled here and found work in the port.

Two large murals have been painted on Republic Street, both facing the railway tracks.   The first is ‘The Worker’ on the old Brock’s building/warehouse between Tennessee and Kentucky streets.   It was completed just over a year ago.

a long horizontal mural called The Worker, with the words Thw WOrker written in large capital letters and filled in with pictures of working people. Along the side of a wall beside a train track - view of whole mural with tracks in the foreground

The project was headed by ELAB (Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo).

below: Molten metal and flying sparks by Nicole Cherry

a tub of molten metal and sparks flying, as part of a large mural that pays tribute the workers and labourers who lived and worked in Buffalo's First Ward back when it was an industrial powerhouse

below: Nick Miller’s painting, “Brakemen” a tribute to those who worked on the railways fills the word THE.

part of a larger mural called The Worker, with the words Thw WOrker written in large capital letters and filled in with pictures of working people. Along the side of a wall beside a train track

below: W O R K E R with its images

the word worker is written in large capital letters and each letter contains an image of people working, a large mural in Buffalo New York

below: A harbour scene.

part of a larger mural, a dock scene, harbour, ship in the water, lift bridge open in the background, kegs and barrels on the dock, a man working on the dock

below: Honouring the police and firemen.  The boat is  the “Edward M. Cotter”.  This fireboat was built in 1900 as the “William S. Grattan” – named after the first paid fire commissioner in Buffalo.   After a 1953 rebuild she was given her present name in honour of a recently deceased Buffalo firefighter and leader of the local firefighters union.  She is the oldest active fireboat in the world and is a National Historic landmark.  She also acts as an ice breaker during the winter months.

part of a large mural celebrating the workers of Buffalo, this panel is for the police and firemen and includes a red fire boat.

below: Scoopers with grain in the hold of a lake freighter.

part of a larger mural, men hauling a rope and filling a shovel with wheat

The second mural was painted by Vinnie Alejandro and a team of artists.  It is a 5000 square foot painting contrasting the past and present of the Old First Ward.

railway tracks run past the community steel corp building on Republic St., Buffalo. There is a mural on the side of the building.

It is just up the street from ‘The Workers’ mural – on the side of the Community Steel building at Alabama and Republic.

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

The area has many railway lines. The ones that run parallel to Republic Street were in 1903 the City of Buffalo granted private railroad rights to the Quaker City Cooperage Company (they made barrels). These tracks connected to the Erie Railroad.

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

From what I could find, other artists include Tom O’Brien, Amanda Gala Roney, Suzie Molnar Goad, Ed ‘Sparky’ Lawton, Jake Wiles, and Chris Kameck.   Like all community mural projects, many people and organizations were involved. For a short history of the mural, and a list of groups who gave supplies and/or time, see an article in ‘Buffalo Rising‘ (an excellent resource if you’re interested in the city of Buffalo).

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

Photos were taken January 3, 2017

Free Derry murals, Bogside

Free Derry was a zone in the Bogside and Creggan neighbourhoods in the city of Derry (or Londonderry) that existed from 1969 to 1972 when people barricaded streets to keep the British Army out.   To understand the reasons for Free Derry involves understanding the history of Northern Ireland, especially the story of ‘The Troubles’.   The Troubles, or the Northern Ireland Conflict as it was also known, started in the late 1960’s and largely centered around the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.   Although it may be an oversimplification,  Unionists (also called Loyalists) who were mostly Protestant and thought themselves to be British wanted Northern Ireland to remain in the UK while Irish nationalists (or Republicans)  who were mostly Catholic and considered themselves Irish wanted to leave the UK and join a united Ireland.

Three artists, Tom Kelly, William Kelly and Kevin Hasson, aka The Bogside Artists, have created a series of murals known as the Peoples Gallery in the Bogside area of Derry.  There are 12  murals and most are on the sides of houses along Rossville Street.    They tell the story of events that occurred here during The Troubles.
blog_murals_free_derry_flag

below: “The Civil Rights Mural, The Beginning”. The title refers to the beginning of the struggle for democratic rights in Derry by both Protestants and Catholics. On the 5th of October 1968, a civil rights march ended in bloodshed in Duke Street when the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) beat up protesters – televised for the world to see.   Protesters responded with petrol bombs and bonfires. The march was organized with the support of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), a group that had been formed in February 1967 to fight to end discrimination against the Catholic/Nationalist minority.
Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Bloody Sunday in 1972 - civil rights and anti-sectarian, pictures of people with placards who marched in a peaceful demonstration
below: “The Petrol Bomber”. This was the first mural, painted in 1994. A boy wears a gas mask to protect himself from RUC tear gas. He is holding a petrol (gasoline) bomb. It represents the ‘Battle of the Bogside’, August 1969.

Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Bloody Sunday in 1972 - a man wears a gas mask

The problems in 1968 and then the riots in 1969 marked the beginning of the Troubles. At this time, the city of Derry became (or was?) more segregated with neighbourhoods almost entirely nationalist or unionist. In some places, residents and paramilitaries built barricades to seal off and protect their neighbourhoods from incursions by “the other side”, the security forces or both. These became known as “no go areas”. By the end of 1971, 29 barricades blocked access to Free Derry, 16 of them impassable even to British Army tanks.

 

below: Commemorating ‘Operation Motorman’. Also titled, “Summer Invasion”. On 31 July 1972 the British Army with the help of the RUC broke down the barriers that had been built in Derry, Belfast, and other Northern Ireland cities.

Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Operation Motorman in 1971- a British soldier breaking down a door in Derry

below: In the foreground, “The Runner”, a cautionary tale; civil conflict can be deadly. The boy in blue, running from tear gas, is Patrick Walsh. Below him are portraits of two other boys who died in the Troubles, Manus Deery and Charles Love. Deery was 15 when he died in 1972, hit by fragments of a ricochet bullet fired by a British Army sniper. Love was 16 when he died in 1990, hit by flying debris from an IRA (Irish Republican Army) bomb. The deaths of two boys, unintended victims of both sides in the conflict.
Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Bloody Sunday in 1972 - two murals on the sides of two buildings, one is a soldier breaking down a door and the other is people marching in a demonstration but running away from tear gas

below: “The Death of Innocence”. A 14-year-old schoolgirl, Annette McGavigan, was killed in crossfire between the IRA and the British Army on 6 September 1971. She was the 100th victim of the Troubles. The mural was painted in 2000 but was being cleaned up and behind scaffolding when I saw it. According to the plaque beside it, “she stands against the brooding chaos of a bombed-out building, the roof beams forming a crucifix in the top right-hand corner. At the left, a downward-pointing rifle, broken in the middle, stands for the failure of violence, while the butterfly symbolizes resurrection and the hope embodied in the peace process.”

blog_mural_schoolgirl_guns_derry

On 30 January 1972 there was a march to protest the mass arrest of 342 people suspected of being members of the IRA a few months previous, and their subsequent imprisonment without trial.  The marchers were unarmed.  The British Army opened fire on the people, killing 14 and wounding many others.  Many of the victims were shot while fleeing from the soldiers and some were shot while trying to help the wounded.  Two people were run down by Army vehicles.

below: Father Daly, a priest, holds a white flag as he helps a group of men carry the body of Jackie Duddy.   Duddy was the first fatality on Bloody Sunday. This mural was painted in 1997 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Bloody Sunday in 1972 - a priest with his head down carries a white flag as people carry an injured man

Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Bloody Sunday in 1972

blog_murals_free_kells_walk

below: In the background is the Peace Mural, a white dove on a multicoloured background.

Free Derry mural in Bogside, Derry Northern Ireland, in shades of grey, commemorating Bloody Sunday in 1972 - man with back to viewer watches a tank. Second mural in the background of a white outline of a peace dove over a chequer board design in many different colours.

 There are a number of other murals in the area.

below: Che Guevara did have a small bit of Irish ancestry. One Patrick Lynch left Galway in the mid 1700’s. After a short stay in Spain he ended up in Argentina where he married an Argentinian woman. A number of generations later, Che Guevara, eldest son of Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna y Llosa, was born in Rosario Argentina in 1928. He was the 5 x great grandson of Patrick. The quote in the mural, “In my son’s veins flowed the blood of Irish Rebels” are apparently Che’s father’s words.

blog_mural_che_guevara_lynch

below: South Africa and Ireland, side by side.  A portrait of Nelson Mandela.  “Many suffer so that some day future generations will live in justice and peace”, a quote from Bobby Sands (also pictured in the mural).   Sands was a member of the Provisional IRA and a leader of the 1981 hunger strike in Maze Prison.  He was elected as a Member of Parliament but during the strike, but he died along with nine others.

mural with Nelson Mandela

below: “The way we were” and “free Gaza”.

blog_mural_free_derry_gaza

a mural that says bogside, written in celtic text, with a dragon in the center, an older man on the left and a young boy on the right.

a frayed Irish flag flies on top of a post.  A sign that says Brits out now IRA is also on the post
More information on the Bogside Artists and the murals that I missed.