A mural project celebrating the city's diversity is being seen across the province.
At the annual Ontario Business Improvement Area Association's annual conference last month, Downtown Timmins won the COVID Spirit Award for the youth mural project.
Downtown Timmins BIA board president Jamie Roach presented the award to the city at this week's council meeting. He said the award belongs at city hall for all to enjoy.
The project started taking shape in 2018 when Katelyn Malo reached out to Coun. Kristin Murray, who hadn't been elected to council yet and was working as a health promoter for Misiway Milopemahtesewin Community Health Centre.
They received funding through the Ontario Arts Council and the project has been growing ever since, with the first mural going up in May 2019 and the latest being completed in August 2021.
Most of the colourful murals have been painted by Mique Michelle, artists Drippin' Soul and Shaun Hedican have participated as well.
Murray was emotional watching a video about the mural project that was created for the OBIAA conference.
She said the project has meant a lot to her, noting the business owners who helped out and relationships that have been built since the project started.
Midway through the initiative, COVID-19 happened. She said they shifted the lens and as the murals went up, the community response was amazing.
"Because I feel like it was a time where some people’s mental health wasn’t at an all-time high so seeing art in the community, hearing the stories, knowing the teachings - it was beautiful,” she said.