When one thinks of a mural, the assumption is that it is an image painted on a wall. This is not always the case and Downtown Collingwood’s Ski Train is one wonderful example of a sculpted mural.
This unique mural is the creation of Ottawa area artist Richard Gill. Richard is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University in Architecture. He the went on to complete a diploma of Applied Arts in Ceramics from Sheridan College. Spurring a career in creating dimensional murals in clay since 1970.
The Ski Train is located on the north side of the CIBC bank building on Hurontario Street between Second and Third streets. This impressive 7 ft. x14 ft. ceramic mural depicts the warm glow from the historic Craigleith Depot as Skiers arrive by train to be taken to the ski hills by sleigh. Blue Mountain Resort founder Jozo Weider can be seen assisting people to the sleigh. This was a regular event on the weekends throughout the 1940’s and into the 1960’s.
The mural was first sketched using old photographs for reference and then the individual pieces were hand sculpted into the clay. Since Richard doesn’t use molds, his pieces are truly one of a kind. When Richard was happy with the creation, the pieces were glazed and kiln-fired to 2200 degrees fahrenheit. The numerous individual pieces were then transported to Collingwood where they were assembled, similar to assembling a puzzle and permanently adhered to the wall.
This unique mural was funded through the millennium Bureau of Canada, Rotary Club of Collingwood, Main Street Ontario, Blue Mountain Resorts and CIBC. Each of the five murals was paid for through the fundraising efforts of the mural committee. Each mural has a bronze plaque which remembers the major sponsors
By Margot Nicolson-Trott,
owner Georgian Frame Gallery