All good things come to an end

Dismantled whale mural will be missed

Frank Gale
Published on August 21, 2014

Another piece of history came to an end this week in Stephenville as a large mural of a blue whale was dismantled.

Fred Stagg, who was involved in a project to try and have a blue whale skeleton put on display in the town some years back, said it’s too bad it’s come to this. He said the mural was a tribute to the arts people at the College of the North Atlantic.

The mural graced the wall of the former West Coast Training Centre for what community leaders believe to be about two decades.

Now, like the visual arts program at the college that was responsible for creating it, the mural is gone.

“All good things come to an end and this whale has swum its last miles,” Stagg said after hearing that there are no plans to replace the mural.

Stephenville Mayor Tom O’Brien said while work was being carried out on the exterior of the building it was discovered the mural was in bad shape. The town owns the building now operated by the Western YMCA as the Bay St. George YMCA.

“It was surprising that the mural didn’t actually blow off the building,” he said.

O’Brien said it certainly wasn’t worth refurbishing and while it looked fairly good from the road, a close look revealed it was actually a danger.

A project in the town featured a number of other murals that were created and put up around the same time. One of Beothuks on the Stephenville Arts and Culture was taken down and not put back up when that building had a full exterior renovation several years ago.

Two other murals, one on the former Women’s Correctional Centre and another on the front of the Don Wright Building at the College of the North Atlantic, are also in poor shape. Those murals depict replicas of stamps showing the Matthew sailing out of the Avon and into Bonavista Bay. Neither building is being used.

A new mural was created and hung at the front of Kindale Public Library on Carolina Avenue last year, replacing the older one that had also succumbed to the weather.

Dave Rex, chairman of the Kindale Library Board, said the plywood had actually de-layered on the old mural. He suspects the remaining murals are having the same issue when moisture gets in around the edges.

O’Brien said the appropriate government departments will be notified about the state of the other two murals.

Stagg said the murals need “tender, loving care” and require constant attention.

“I will miss that whale,” he said.