Rafting Now and Then is back finally back on a wall in the city, just in a little smaller form than it was originally.
On Feb. 6, 2019, the original small painting of Pierre Hardy’s Rafting Now and Then mural was donated by the Pembroke Murals Committee to the Pembroke Public Library. Taking part in the donation, from left, Jane Kielman, Pembroke Heritage Murals Committee member, Karthi Rajamani, library CEO, and Keith Watts, chairman of the Pembroke Public Library board.
In 1991 the mural “Rafting Now and Then” was one of the next set of five murals painted to launch Pembroke’s Outdoor Art Gallery.The artist, Pierre Hardy, became very well known to Pembroke residents as he painted several murals in 1990 and 1991. The mural was painted on the side of John’s War Surplus store on Pembroke Street West in the middle of downtown Pembroke.Unfortunately this building was torn down in the spring of 2000 and with it, this mural. The original painting done by Pierre Hardy was put into storage later that same year.Fast forward nearly two decades and Pembroke’s Heritage Murals Committee decided it was time to bring the painting out of storage and find a place where it would be enjoyed by many people for years to come.Committee decided on the Pembroke Public Library as it is a wonderful location, central and available to everyone. The painting was officially donated on Feb. 6, 2019.The original painting illustrates the changing times on the Ottawa River.On the left of the painting, ‘Rafting Now’ shows the thrill of ‘shooting’ the rapids in a raft as recreation and an adventure sport. There are several rafting companies that attract thousands of people each year to go whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River.On the right of the painting, ‘Rafting Then’ shows how square timber rafts were used to get logs to markets around the world by floating them down the Ottawa River to Montreal and Quebec City. From these ports millions of logs were shipped to England and other countries.If you look carefully at the right side of the painting, you might recognize it as part of another mural. The Pembroke Heritage Murals[copy] Committee worked for two years on “The Timber Raft”- Pierre Hardy 2004 – mural so we could continue the history and legacy of one of the first 10 murals in Pembroke.Many of the original paintings of the murals are showcased at Pembroke City Hall and the Irving Big Stop restaurant.