Artist Tyler Toews on the 3D lettering featuring the Christina Lake tag line “Come home to the Lake.” (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Christina Lake 3D mural gets an update

The Welcome Centre mural will be officially unveiled next week.

Balance your way along the trestle, take a dive into Cascade Falls and swim with the salmon – all are features of the updated and improved three dimensional mural being painted on the floor of the Christina Lake Welcome Centre this week.

The mural is being redone and updated by the original artist Tyler Toews, who painted the mural with his company Canadian Murals in 2011. Christina Lake Gateway coordinator Donna Wilchynski said the original mural had wear and tear from the years – the moving of tables and chairs, foot traffic and weather – so the decision was made first to repair, then replace and update, the mural.

“The existing floor was fabulous and an incredible tool and asset,” she said. “There was quite bit of wear … since 2011 when it was unveiled.”

The project is funded by a Phoenix Foundation grant, with support from Christina Lake Gateway and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Area C/Christina Lake. The project also includes interpretive signage for the welcome centre, as well as mounting and framing for a historical quilt done by quilters from across the Boundary that will hang in the foyer.

RDKB Area C/Christina Lake Director Grace McGregor said that the mural is part of the bigger picture of welcoming people into the building, and by extension, the community.

“We know how many people have had their picture take with that floor, we know the we factor, when you do take a picture, the spin-off has been good since we unveiled it,” she said. “It is out there and a draw [for people] … we are just so excited.”

This mural will contain some of the old elements as well as some new designs, McGregor said; the idea is to showcase both the current happenings and the history of Christina Lake. Visitors should look out for Cascade Falls, the railway trestle, key figures from Christina Lake history –including Christina herself – and depictions of the kokanee.

McGregor said the community came together to help get a jump start on the project, including scrapping and sanding the floor to ready it for a new coat of paint.

Toews, who was on site this week working on the mural, said his company Canadian Murals, based in Nelson, has done over 100 such murals in the last 20 years. He said he likes that the artwork physically engages views, especially when done on a floor.

“I like the public and community engagement, working with the 3D aspects, it is really engaging to the viewers, I like seeing that playfulness and how the art engages them physically,” he said.

Toews will be available at an unveiling event on Dec. 10, when he will do a short tour of the floor and show off key vantage points to get the best 3D effects.

“When people walk through the door we are told how warm and welcome they feel, people come back, and go ‘now this is a community I want to belong to.’ Is is not just welcoming tourists, but welcoming people to how does Christina Lake does business.”

The event will be on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. at the Christina Lake Welcome Centre.

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