Nova Scotia

Whitney Pier mural remembers steel plant and its workers

The former Sydney Steel plant and the people who worked there were the inspiration for a large mural painted on a building in Whitney Pier this week.

Artist Keith Baldwin completed his project on the side of the Discount Dollar Store in 5 days

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      The former Sydney Steel plant and the people who worked there are the inspiration behind a large mural painted this week on a building in Whitney Pier.

      Artist Keith Baldwin is a former steelworker himself. He began the mural on Monday on the side of the Discount Dollar Store on Victoria Road. 

      "I just want people to remember the plant," he says. "It's gone now. You look over the overpass and there's nothing there. I still see it myself, and here it is on the building so everyone can enjoy it."

      The mural is a project of the Friends of Neville Park Society, a group in Whitney Pier that promotes the culture and history of the diverse community.

      'It continues to crystallize our history here'

      The society's chair, Alan Nathanson, said the group has been selling licence plates and T-shirts featuring a silhouette of Sydney Steel. That image led to the idea for the mural.

      "It continues to crystallize our history here," he says. "From the early 1900s, when the steel plant was founded, over 50 different cultural and ethnic groups came to work at the plant.

      "There are still some left here that are very vibrant and strong, and a sense of the steel plant runs through our veins."

      The $3,000 cost of the mural was raised through $100 sponsorships.

      Baldwin has included all of the elements of Sydney Steel that are best remembered by people living in the community while it was in operation.

      "We got the open hearth and the mills and the blast furnace and the smoke coming out of the stacks, the pollution and all that goes with it," he says.

      "The sun setting down on the plant and all the men are inside, busy working. It's an era, it's gone and I'm going to miss it myself and many other men and families. God love them all."

      Nathanson said the mural is already such a hit, the Friends of Neville Park Society is looking for another building to adorn in Whitney Pier.

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