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Meet Colpitt Keith, the new face of Halifax trails

Greg Taylor's smiling 'face' made of clay is seen on a tree in the Colpitt Lake area in Halifax.
Greg Taylor's smiling 'face' made of clay is seen on a tree in the Colpitt Lake area in Halifax. Greg Taylor/Halifax Trails

If you’re making your way through Colpitt Lake in Halifax, you might come across an unexpected smiling face.

It’s not just a friendly passerby — meet tree-dweller Colpitt Keith.

“Colpitt Keith” is a clay face installed by Greg Taylor onto a tall tree in the Colpitt Lake area. Taylor runs the website Halifax Trails, which promotes various trails and natural resources in Halifax and Nova Scotia.

Taylor said the tree face creation was inspired by other similar artistic interventions he had seen in the past. He said he started putting up the faces about a year ago in various locations on dead trees as a way to attract people to the areas, such as Charlies Lake, which is part of the Kearney Lake trails in the Halifax area.

“I thought when I was on some of my hikes that it would be kind of interesting to put some of them up in some of the good scenic locations that I like when I go hiking,” Taylor told Global News.

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Colpitt Keith, however, was a more recent idea Taylor had. Prior to posting on Twitter about the face, he hadn’t publicized any of his previous installations, but thought adding some character to the trees could possibly attract more people.

His hope is that people will look up where Colpitt Keith is located, and in turn either visit or try to learn something about the area.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a diamond on our doorstep’: Nature Conservancy of Canada wants new Halifax urban wilderness park

Halifax native Taylor, 36, said after spending a lot of time in places like Point Pleasant Park and York Redoubt as a kid and working as a tree planter in university, he wanted to share some of his favourite spots with others.

Taylor said he hopes his fellow Haligonians and other visitors will “appreciate these places as much as I do.”

“The more people that actually go to these amazing places that we have in Halifax, the more people will realize what we already have,” he said.

Taylor says he hasn’t yet been contacted by Halifax Regional Municipality over the faces, but would be open to working with the city in order to increase tourism in the area.

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READ MORE: The mystery of the Point Pleasant Park heads

Halifax Regional Municipality spokesperson Brendan Elliott told Global News that Colpitt Keith’s location is actually not under the municipality’s jurisdiction, as that area is owned by Clayton Developments, but were similar faces to appear in other locations, it would need to be done with approval.

He said the creative endeavour falls under the municipality’s parks bylaw which says no person shall “do, cause or permit” removal, addition, destruction, defilement or damage to flora or fauna in parks. It would only be allowable by “special request,” which has to come through the director of the parks and recreation department.

“If this person wants to go through the appropriate channels, we’d be willing to listen to what he had to say and the concept,” Elliott said.

He added artwork placed on trees would “have to reflect something of an historical nature to the specific park.”

Even though Taylor said he only puts the faces on dead trees, Elliott said the municipality needs to ensure what’s in the park is in a “natural state.”

Asked if Halifax would be interested in collaborating with Taylor on a tourism-type project, Elliott said they’d be open to it.

“We’d certainly consider every proposal with an eye, again, on ensuring that it meshes nicely with the environment in which the art is going,” he said.

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Global News left a message with Clayton Developments for comment on the placement of the tree face, but did not receive a reply by publication time.