New Brunswick

Fredericton invites public to paint 18-foot Chestnut canoe on Canada Day

Fredericton Tourism is looking for an artist to turn an original Chestnut canoe into a paint installation on Canada Day – and the public will be invited to help.

Chestnut family started marketing canoes in late 1890s in Fredericton

This canoe will be a lot more colourful after visitors to Fredericton's Canada Day celebrations get done with it. (City of Fredericton)

Fredericton Tourism is looking for an artist to turn an original Chestnut canoe into a paint installation on Canada Day – and the public will be invited to help.

The city bought the 18-foot canoe several years ago from a private owner in the Doaktown area and had it restored to its original wood finish, said project coordinator Mary Ellen Hudson.

But since then, it sat in a storage room until recently, when a colleague heard about a project in Ottawa where the public painted a canoe for an exhibition, she said.

"So when I saw the picture, I thought 'hey, we should do that in Fredericton,'" she said.

Hudson is now inviting artists from the region to submit a concept design for the canoe to her by June 18. The winner receives $2,800 for their work plus materials.

The artist is then invited to sketch the outline of their painting on the canoe but not fill it with paint.

That will be left to the public, who can fill in the blanks on Canada Day similar to a paint-by-numbers picture, she said. The canoe will be displayed on Barracks Square, she said.

"It's meant to be a very colourful, multi-image representing all the landmarks of Fredericton, New Brunswick representation, Canada representation with our 150th anniversary this year," she said.

"So we want to see all of that done around the whole outside of this 18-foot canoe."

Famous canoe

The Chestnut family started marketing its canoes in the late 1890s in Fredericton, she said, and later became one of the most famous producers of canoes until their company closed in 1979.

It's a great way for a chestnut canoe, made here in Fredericton, to live on.- Mary Ellen Hudson, project coordinator

Hudson said the inside of the canoe will not be painted, so people can still see some of the original work.

After Canada Day, the city plans to exhibit the canoe, though it has not yet chosen a location, she said. But it will be somewhere accessible to the public.

"So a great souvenir of our Canada 150," she said. "It's a great way for a chestnut canoe, made here in Fredericton, to live on."

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