New signs to tie in with town’s centennial

With FedNor funding still left over from the two mural projects, a local committee is looking into brightening up the town with a series of signs depicting historical scenes next spring.
“We discussed doing a mural,” said Fort Frances Museum curator Pam Hawley, who also sits on the town’s centennial committee.
“But with time running out to find an artist, and wanting to do something to tie in with the centennial [in 2003], we decided to go with historic photograph billboards,” she added.
Crystal Godbout, project co-ordinator with the Rainy River Future Development Corp., said the conditions of the funding state the project must be completed (i.e., the signs manufactured and paid for) by year’s end—even though they probably won’t be installed until next spring.
“We have some money left over from the grant to do three murals. We figured the signs were a quick, easy way to do it,” Godbout remarked, adding one advantage of the signs is that they can be moved.
Hawley noted the signs will be actual photographs of historic scenes and landmarks replicated onto large signs.
Four of these signs will be put up along the La Verendrye Parkway (Front Street).
Hawley said one sign at the end of Butler Avenue, for instance, would feature a photo of the Shevlin-Clarke Co. while one at the end of Crowe Avenue would feature tour barges on the river where an actual docking area used to be.
Three more signs will be put up in the downtown area, such as one showing the “Welcome to Canada” sign that used to be at border here.
Hawley also noted she’s looking into getting funding for even more signs for next year “to create a common theme.”
Hawley said some details, such as the cost of installation, still is being determined, but otherwise things are looking positive.
“Hopefully, we can get everything done before the centennial [which is officially April 11, 2003],” she added.
The signs will continue the tradition of public visual representations of the area’s history—the first of which was the mural of Edward Wellington Backus on the west wall of the CIBC.
Mural artist Brian Romagnoli painted this in November, 1999.
A second mural, “Fort Frances at the Turn of the Century,” was completed by Toronto artist John Hood last October on the west wall of the Masonic Temple.
The sign project is funded by FedNor, the RRFDC, and the local Business Improvement Area.

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