A Day Exploring Midland’s Murals
Set on the gorgeous Georgian Bay in the heart of Ontario is Midland, home to quaint shops, delicious home-baked goods and over 30 murals scattered around its downtown core. I’ve been to Midland on numerous occasions and when I did craft shows I loved doing their farmers market in the summer, across from the bay, if the traffic was slow (which it rarely was) I loved gazing out at that view. But this summer while passing through on my way to the Wye Marsh one day and caught sight of a bunch of murals along the streets and couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed them before. And so, I decided to dedicate a day to explore Midland’s murals and what other hidden gems I had missed.
I had no idea when I set out to explore Midland’s murals what was in store; I didn’t know that it is one of Ontario’s largest outdoor collections nor was I aware of the pure pride that Midland and its people have towards these beautiful pieces of art.
On my way to see if the tourist office was open I had to stop in to a charming shop that caught my eye, The Crow’s Nest. Stepping foot inside I was amazed by the crazy cool stuff – it was like walking into a wonderland of gifts, accessories, antiques and so much to stimulate the senses. Scattered around are numerous stain glass pieces from lampshades to window pieces and art – some antiques and some made by the talented owner herself. Also hanging from the high ceilings were a myriad of old carriages, some with old baby dolls and some with an entertaining twist. I was greeted by a lovely lady who works there, asking if I needed help and we got to talking about the store and its owner of 30 years and then I told her why I was in Midland for the day – on the hunt to discover Midland’s murals. Turns out I need not visit the tourist office (especially since they were closed that day) because the store has maps for tourists that offer the locations and descriptions of the murals – how fantastic!
So, off I went in search of Midland’s murals with my trusty map in hand. Turns out it didn’t begin as the most pleasant kind of day to be walking the streets as there was a chill in the air and a drizzling rain coming down but it allowed for the opportunity to pop into some of downtown Midland’s charming shops and cafés to warm up, dry out and browse. But I’m glad to say that the rain did subside and I was able to take in mostly all of the over 30 murals.
Most of the murals are located right along the main drag of King Street with a few down by the bay and many scattered around downtown along side streets and so all are within walking distance. The majority of Midland’s murals were painted by Fred Lenz including the largest one – which is the largest outdoor historic mural in North America, measuring 80′ high by 250′ wide, but sadly it was during his work on this epic piece that he lost his battle with cancer. In his legacy his two sons helped complete this pinnacle piece that depicts a Huron Native and Jesuit Priest looking out over the Wye Valley and nearby village of Sainte-Marie from a hilltop as it would have appeared in 1640.
Each mural represents a significant time in the history of the Georgian Bay area with many representing Midland’s pioneers. Some bring you back through history, some celebrate moments in advancement and growth and all are beautiful and full of rich details. Over the course of almost 20 years some have faded but are being repaired and restored to bring them back to their full glory. But one thing is for sure, Midland and its people are proud and care deeply about these amazing murals.
The following are a few of my favourites.
Rotary Mural – a collage of all the tourist attractions in Midland with a tribute to Fred Lenz.
Brebeuf Lighthouse – build in the 1900’s, this lighthouse helped guide ships to the Channel serving Midland Bay
The Wye Marsh – depicting the Wye Marsh at sunset with the Martyrs’ Shrine in the background
S.S Lemoyne – this ship was built in 1926 and was 663′ long, 70′ wide and 73′ deep and was the largest bulk carrier on the Great lakes until the 1950’s
Have you ever stumbled upon amazing murals in a city? Where was it?