Work has begun on a new project which will replace Golden’s iconic Swiss guides mural on the side of the 407 Boutique and Golden Dollar Store.
Dominic Laporte and Anaïs Labrèque of Drift Mural Co. started working on the project on August 2, and will wrap up on August 15.
One of the first steps in Laporte’s mural-making process is the creation of a doodle grid.
To the untrained eye, a doodle grid can look like random shapes and scribbles splain across the side of a building. However, for mural artists, these shapes and scribbles serve as a map which helps them turn their small-scale concept into a full-size mural.
The new mural will pay homage to its predecessor which was painted by Mokman (Mark) Chen and the late Greg Leckie. The old mural, which was painted in 1999, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Swiss guides visiting Golden.
The new mural is being painted on aluminum composite panels which were installed in July by local builder Ned Johnson of Innovation Building. The composite panels will allow the old mural to live on underneath the new artwork.
According to the Town, “the new mural will continue to honour the history of the Swiss guides, connecting Golden’s past to its present and celebrating the region’s beauty and rich cultural heritage.”
Many community members have shared their excitement about the project on social media.
“I have a feeling it’s going to be rad,” one Golden resident wrote.
Although the new artwork was received with a mostly positive attitude, some residents are upset that the old mural is being replaced.
One commenter said they thought it should have been painted elsewhere and another called it “a waste of money.”
The mural is being co-funded by Kicking Horse Culture and the Town of Golden through the province’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program.
Funding for the RMI is managed by the provincial Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
The purpose of this funding is to support small, tourism-based towns —such as Golden— so they can extend or diversify tourism seasons, increase visitation, improve the sustainability of the tourism sector and enhance the visitor experience.
Decades of research have consistently shown that art boosts tourism and new research suggests that this phenomenon is heightened in the age of social media.
Progress on the mural will be chronicled on social media by the Town of Golden, Kicking Horse Culture and Tourism Golden. Community members are also welcome to visit the site and see the project for themselves.