February 20, 2017 10:34 pm
Updated: March 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Giant mosaic project brings Canadians together through art

WATCH ABOVE: Tens of thousands of tiles are currently being painted to create one of the biggest art projects in Canada. Quinn Ohler explains what it's all about.

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A group from St. Albert, Alta. is putting together a nationwide art project that could be the largest in Canadian history.

The Canada 150 Mosaic is a series of murals that will be displayed in communities from Vancouver Island to P.E.I. to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.  If all of the murals were put together, it would become a series of train cars that are meant to tell the history of each community and those who live there.

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 “We are uniting Canadians through art,” said Phil Alain, producer of Canada 150 Mosaic.

Alain told Global News that during the last two years of travelling the country to collect the tiles, he’s learned a lot about the people who call Canada home.

“You realize how great Canadians are and how proud Canadians are,” he said. “We’re not ‘in your face’ Canadian, we are the subtle ‘we love our country’ Canadian and it’s refreshing.”

READ MORE: Edmonton, surrounding communities receive $3M in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday

Each person is given a 4′ by 4′ tile to paint. There are restrictions on the colours they can use and some have certain details to be worked into the mosaic but otherwise, participants are allowed to paint whatever they want. They are then built into murals. One-hundred-fifty different works of art will be displayed across Canada, each made up of 400 to 600 tiles. The entire mural, if ever connected, would stretch out over four football fields.

“Every city and town is so unique,” said Lewis Levoie, the artist in charge of the project. “They want to talk about their agriculture or their border crossing, whatever they have that makes their cities unique.”

Levoie is no stranger to creating these works of art. He is the lead artist for Mural Mosaic, a company founded by him as well as Paul Lavoie and Phil Alain. They’ve been creating mosaics with artists and non-artists around North America since 2003.

“If I can make these murals look great, the people who are painting in there will be really proud to be a part of something,” he said.

They started the Canada 150 Mosaic project in 2015.

READ MORE: Parks Canada preps for tourists during free Canada 150 year, conservationists concerned

The mosaic that was put together at Edmonton City Hall on Family Day represents the city’s multiculturalism and its festival-city persona.

Stephanie Ouellet came to paint a square to show her own history. She moved from eastern Canada to Fort McMurray. Forced out by the wildfire, she then moved to Edmonton. She painted a tornado to show a “perfect storm” of events that led her to the city.

“I’ll be able to point out that regardless of me living here with my lifestyle now, the east coast will always be my home,” she told Global News. “It’s nice to be able to tie them together through a tile.”

Murals have been completed in a number of communities across the country. To follow along with the journey and to see some of the completed murals, visit the Canada 150 Mosaic website.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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