Time for Quesnel to Honour its Heritage
The Cariboo was blessed to have it's own homegrown artist Mr. Barrie Jason Curtis who devoted many years of his life to embellishing the region with countless artistic treasures that have given the area its unique sense of historic perspective. But all of Mr. Curtis's work has not been preseverved and cared for as it ought to have been.
The mural shown in the above photo was painted by Jason Curtis back in 1984 when the city of Quesnel had embarked on a mural project designed to highlight the Cariboo Gold Rush theme that the city is known for.
Mr. Curtis painted a number of large murals that were located in various locations both in West Quesnel as well as in the downtown area of Quesnel proper.
For whatever reason the city never followed through on the upkeep of these murals many of which were beautifully done and conveyed a realistic historic sense of the area with scenes from the early days.
Thirty years later only three of Curtis's murals are still hanging on buildings in town. One is on the old Sparting Printing and Advertising building in West Quesnel just off the Moffat Bridge on the right. It showns a scene of one of the old sternwheelers that used to travel from Soda Creek up to Quesnel during the gold rush period. It is in need of referbishing.
The one in the worst condition (see above) adorns the north wall of the Bank of Nova Scotia on the corner of Reid Street across from Willis-Harper Home Hardware store and is becoming more of an eye-sore than a source of pride for the city.
This close up of the lower right hand corner of the mural is a good example of the type of disrespect that the city is showing for the mural and it begs the question as to why such neglect has been allowed to carry on for so long. Is it the responsibility of the Bank of Nova Scotia to look after the maintenance of the mural? If it is then why hasn't the city approached the bank and asked them to look into having the mural repainted?
Surely the Bank of Nova Scotia has the funds to fix this deplorable situation. If for nothing else other than making their own business look good. As it now stands it certainly isn't adding to anyone's appreciation of either the mural or the banks exterior look.
Jason Curtis's artwork has been the mainstay of Cariboo Gold Rush theme from the start. His famous and well-loved childrens coloring book called The Cariboo Goldrush Coloring Book plus his many paintings and signs and even Quesnel's logo itself including the gigantic sign at the junction of Hwy. 97 and the Barkerville Hwy all have added that very special flavour to local area.
On top of all of those initiatives Jason Curtis's artwork and ideas are what gave the whole Billy Barker Days theme its lifeblood.
All of this legacy has been poorly handled by the city of Quesnel and the city's attitude is best reflected in the fact that it let all of the mural project go to wrack and ruin with the odd exception here and there.
Not something to be proud of given that Mr. Curtis was a local resident born in Barkerville back in 1933 and a man who gave his heart and soul to helping make the Cariboo a place of beauty.