WATERLOO — A large mural celebrating Canadian soldiers throughout history will soon be on public display.
The plan for the public art delights Norm Courneyea, executive vice president of the naval association.
“That’s what we need — a little more interest and a little more involvement,” he said.
The mural will feature images of peacekeepers and naval, army and air force soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, Korean War and up to the Afghanistan War. Smith said he plans to reflect the diversity of people involved in the wars as well.
“It’s showing appreciation for all our armed forces,” Smith said.
Smith recently completed a similar mural commemorating the Canadian Forces for the town of Arthur. After seeing that mural, Gary Petker, of the law firm Petker and Associates, had the idea to commission Smith to do a similar work.
“I wanted to honour our vets and our peacekeepers … maybe do something for the community,” Petker said, adding he has seen many outdoor murals in his travels.
“I just happened to be driving through Arthur one day and Cliff was working on a mural. All of the things came together at the same time,” he said.
Petker had no trouble selling his idea for the mural to other tenants in the Weber Street building. Petker and Smith then began discussing what to include in the mural and reached out to the K-W Naval Association, which provided inspiration for the project.
The mural now incorporates the image of the still-active HMCS Kitchener (K-225) to honour the local naval association. The image was among the first to be completed on the wall.
Courneyea said the naval association was “more than pleased” that their neighbour was making the effort to honour veterans.
To ensure the accuracy of the military equipment and personnel depicted in the mural, Smith said he spent a month researching all the details.
“Some of the people on here, I actually got permission to use their images. They’re still members of the armed forces,” he said. “I also got permission from the Department of National Defence to use armed forces logo, too.”
For the outdoor artwork to survive environmental conditions, Smith said he ordered special acrylic paints and plans to apply two clear coats over the mural once it’s complete.
The project will take about another five weeks to complete — as long as the weather remains agreeable.
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