Cornwall ON – A big part of this region’s cultural heritage has been reintroduced to the public at the new OPG St. Lawrence Power Visitor Centre. As the centre prepares to re-open for the 2011 tourist season, visitors will have the opportunity to view a replica of the famous Harold Town mural. On display in the auditorium, the new mural has been scaled to about 80 % of the original which which is in the old observation deck of the dam. The area is now out of bounds to visitors due to security concerns.
The decision was made to install a replica since the original could have been damaged during a removal attempt. OPG hired KAV Productions to produce a series of high resolution photographs of the 37 foot wide by 10 foot high mural that would be seamelessly reassembled to produce a digital negative for the printer. Long Graphics were then given the job to print and mount the gigantic photo measuring 28 feet wide.
BACKGROUND ON THE HAROLD TOWN MURAL
A half century ago, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power project was one of the largest engineering projects of its day, and attracted worldwide attention. Visitors who came to the region to marvel at the achievement were welcomed by Ontario Hydro at the panoramic visitor centre atop the R.H. Saunders generating station in Cornwall. Mounted in a location of honour, along the penthouse’s south facing wall, was the Harold Town mural. Began in 1958, the abstract depiction of the power project was painted on a single canvas.
Mr. Town says he chose an expressionistic form of painting because:
“I felt that the intricacies, as well as the over-all grandeur of the project, could best be symbolized and complemented in this way. I also wanted to do a mural in the spirit and the style of this day, so that, in the years ahead, it will age, with the dam, in a manner that will give a true picture of the creative character of our time.”
As he predicted, time has marched on and the mural has come to symbolize the era, like a snapshot frozen in time. Harold Town has preserved, in a style contemporary to the era, the feelings and aspirtiations of many who experienced the upheaval and the promise of a bright future.
Mr. Town achieved great notoriety in the world of modern art through the decades to follow. He has won numerous awards and his works have been acquired by a number of prestigious galleries including: the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Tate Gallery (London), the Guggenhiem Museum (New York), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Alfred Bar, (MoMA director) called Town “one of the world’s greatest printmakers”. Harold Town was born in Toronto in 1924 and died in Peterborough, Ontario in 1990.