By Joanne McDonald
There is a pleasant surprise waiting as you round the Hwy. 20 bend through downtown Smithville.
The ‘Scenes of Smithville’ mural is displayed on the brick wall at the corner of St. Catharines and Griffin streets and it pulls you right into the heart of local history. Featuring five historic landmarks, the photos are a portrait of West Lincoln’s past and a testament to the residents who are shaping the Township’s future.
A major undertaking, it took a community of enthusiasts to get the project up and on the wall. They met Tuesday morning to dedicate and unveil the plaque that graces the remaining section of the storied Murgatroyd Block building and now, the Murgatroyd parkette.
“We’ve received absolutely positive feedback from the community,” West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma said at the ceremony. “It’s about remembering our past and respect for where we came from.”
Kathy Wetselaar, Chair of the West Lincoln Heritage Committee said many hands brought the project to completion, crediting West Lincoln planner Gerrit Boerema.
“Our small committee had the vision and Gerrit had the legs.”
The Mural contains five historic photos of Smithville including the Smithville Station, the Union Bank, the Murgatroyd Block Building, Griffin Street (early 1920s) and St. Catharines Street (1970’s).
“We hope this mural is the first of many,” Wetselaar said, thanking Mary Lynne Ecker, Carruthers Printing and Bev Packham, West Lincoln Historical Society for finding old photos and researching the archives. Zebra Signs contributed to the projected. Funding was received from Niagara Region and the Niagara Community Foundation.
As a group we felt that our committee owed it to the citizens of West Lincoln to honour and celebrate our history,” Wetselaar said.”
“Our dream as the heritage committee is for similar projects to be installed throughout West Lincoln.”