The Big Top restaurant in Hamilton, Ont., is known for serving up hot brunches and family-friendly fare. But a whimsical piece of art kept hidden behind drywall for decades is becoming the star attraction.
After making a ding in the drywall and peeling it back last month for renovations, restaurant owners Helen and Pank Patel were stunned to see what was just under the plaster — a lively and intact circus mural.
The Big Top Restaurant opened in 1952. The man behind the eatery, according to CBC Hamilton, was commercial artist Gerry Kavanaugh, who converted a grocery shop into the diner and designed the mural some 60 years ago.
Kavanaugh died of lung cancer at 39 when his children were still young. Now adults, his two sons and daughter told CBC Hamilton that they remember being filled with pride when their dad was working on the spectacular mural. In the intervening years, the restaurant changed hands, and the circus scene was eventually covered up. The Patels bought the restaurant five years ago, unaware of the treasure hiding beneath the drywall.
Although there was some minor damage done to the painting, it's mostly been preserved, complete with carnival crowds, clowns, dancing elephants, show poodles and trapeze artists flying high over tents promoting sideshows. The Patels say they're looking to hire a professional who can restore the original mural's elegance.
Via CBC Hamilton