Painting the Town Beautiful – British Columbia, Canada

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Some towns are just naturally beautiful – artistic architecture, interesting street furniture, inspiring sculptures, towering trees offering shade and dappled light, and hanging baskets overflowing with flowers.

Others however are not so lucky – dreary, uninspiring architecture, scrappy looking bins and graffiti’d benches, and the only greenery is a few straggling weeds making their way through the pavement.

But every town has potential – and in many ways the ones with the large flat walled buildings have the most – as both Vernon and Dawson Creek in British Columbia have proven.

They have taken what they have and made the most of the blank canvas it offers – by commissioning a range of murals.

In Vernon the murals served a number of purposes beyond simply brightening up the town. The project was a collaborative effort aimed at revitalising youth employment.  Over 54 young people were hired and each gained valuable life skills and real work experience.

In addition the mural project was also a catalyst for the revitalisation of the character of Vernon’s downtown business centre, and businesses in the area contributed around 1million dollars to help restore the local streets and landscape.

In Dawson Creek, mile zero of the Alaska Highway, each mural represents some aspect of the building of the Highway and the community’s history in relation to that important event. The murals were specifically designed to enhance the alleyways of the downtown core and to provide an interesting experience for visitors to the community.

Each year new murals have been added and now there are plenty to admire all over the town. They not only brighten up the place, they also celebrate its history and the people who shaped the area. As you wander around soaking up the stories, is clear that the locals are proud of their wall art.

So, if you think your home town needs a splash of colour, a touch of revitalisation, and reason to be proud, then you might consider taking a lead from Vernon and Dawson Creek, in British Columbia, Canada.



Air Canada –

Tourism Vernon –

Tourism Dawson Creek-

About the Author:

Chantal Cooke is an award winning journalist and broadcaster with a passion for the planet. In 2002 she co-founded the award winning radio station PASSION for the PLANET and in 2009 Chantal was awarded London Leader in Sustainability status. Chantal also runs a successful communications agency – Panpathic Communications.


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