On Sunday, August 20, volunteers from the Falaise Community Association, the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, and the neighbourhood threw a repainting party for the road mural on Falaise Crescent in Saanich.
A team of over 30 volunteers repainted and expanded the existing road mural. It was originally installed last summer. The original design was done by local artist Desiree Shelley, worked with neighbours to develop a design that reflected the identity of the street, and portrays a motif of yellow montane violets. The yellow montane violet was chosen because Falaise Park is one of the few places in the region where this rare flower has been found. It was identified by long-time resident and artist Tannis Warburton, who alerted the Ministry of Environment, and who is now honoured by a plaque in the park.
This year, volunteers added purple camas flowers to the mural.
“The addition of stylized camas flowers to the mural reflects the camas meadow our volunteers have restored in Falaise Park,” said Stuart Macpherson, President of the Falaise Community Association. “An event like this really illustrates the community spirit in the Falaise neighbourhood.”
“This road mural is a fantastic example of the power of placemaking – they beautify streets, build community, and improve road safety,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, volunteer with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network and Saanich Councillor. “Studies have found that road murals encourage drivers to slow down, thereby improving road safety.”
In addition to painting large flowers, volunteers, and especially young people, were given the opportunity to paint on images of acorns along the road that runs adjacent to Falaise Park.
“It was great to see young people painting acorns that they can check on whenever they visit the playground,” said Teale. “The response from the neighbourhood has been very positive. The mural has been in place for a year and needed to be touched up or removed, and when asked which they preferred, neighbours chose not only to repaint the mural, but to expand it.”
The project is a first for Saanich, and has been installed as a pilot. The project was led by the Falaise Community Association with support from the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, and received funding from a Community Well‐Being and Placemaking Projects Grant from the District of Saanich.
“I love seeing the community come together ~ from the painters of all ages, to the organizers, to those who volunteered to ensure that portion of the road was quiet so the “artists” could be safe. It truly was a beautiful community project. I was honoured to be a part.” Mena Westhaver, Saanich Councillor and volunteer.
If you are interested in learning more about road murals, Teale has put together a webpage that collects some helpful information about road murals.
Here are some photos from the big day!