French River Inclusive Community Cultural Murals

French River Inclusive Community Cultural Murals

In 2022, the Municipality partnered with the French River Cultural Industries Council (FRCIC) to initiate the French River Inclusive Community Cultural Murals Project, comprising four individual community murals strategically positioned throughout the French River Municipality.

This project endeavours to culturally and historically represent each specific target population, highlighting the significance of each region within the municipality. Moreover, it seeks to enhance the cultural and commercial vitality of the Franco-Ontarian population by fostering opportunities for creative expression and understanding of Francophone culture within the community.

Each of the four murals will uniquely represent the Francophone, Métis Indigenous, Youth, and LGBTQ2S groups within the French River. The FRCIC has collaborated with local artists from each demographic to develop murals tailored to portray the diversity of people, languages, and histories within the community. Additionally, the FRCIC has engaged community members from various groups, contributing to the project's goal of promoting inclusivity and fostering artistic growth within the area.

With a focus on depicting the significance of each culture, artists, students, and advisors have been selected based on their cultural background, local proximity, and expertise in art and culture. The first mural is scheduled to commence in the summer of 2022, with a target completion date of July 1st. The entire project, including all four murals, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.

The World as We See It

A sign with a rainbow colored square pieces of paper on it

LOCATION: Monetville Public School - 7099 ON-64, Monetville, ON P0M 2K0

Artists: Students from; Monetville Public School, École secondaire de la Rivière-des-Français, École St-Antoine, and Garderie Trésor des Tout-Petits. 

About the Mural

The World as We See It" is a celebration of the rich tapestry of our local environment, seen through the eyes of our young artists. It stands as a testament to the values of diversity, inclusivity, and unity. This mural is made up of 256 tiles painted by local youth from Monetville Public School, École secondaire de la Rivière-des-Français, École St-Antoine, and Garderie Trésor des Tout-Petits.






United – Metis Mural

A painting of bears in a field

Description automatically generatedLOCATION: JOE CHARTRAND PARK - 200 ST. DAVID ST. NORTH NOËLVILLE, ON P0M 2N0

Artist: Jessica Somers

About the Mural

“United” was created after elder Richard Meilleur shared the history of two clans, the Beaver and Bear, who found their way to this land. The Beaver clan consisted of loggers, community builders, educators, family-oriented people, and very patient people. The Bear clan was known as protectors and keepers of medicine.   They use their voice to fight for the rights of their people.   Their kinship continues today, and the community stands strong together.

Meaning behind the Mural

Two ladies, one from the Beaver clan and the other from the Bear clan, encountered two Alquonkins travellers in the country's western region. They helped establish the Rocky Mountain Post in modern-day Alberta in 1799. In the early 1820s, the women of the Beaver and Bear clans wed those two Alquonkins. These women returned to Quebec with their husbands because they were interested in learning more about the eastern region of the nation. They were admitted into the two men's commune, known in French as "la Petite Nation," which at the time was primarily made up of mixed-blood people. Everything was great up until the second new wave of French and English immigrants settled in the mixed-blood town around 1850. As you can expect, full-blooded French and English newcomers did not want to mix with the Metis, so they drove them out by stealing their lands and farms. The Beaver clan made the decision to travel west in search of fresh territories to settle. They travelled down the Ottawa, Mattawa, and Nipissing rivers before stopping where those rivers meet the French River and establishing a settlement they called Monetville. The Beaver clan prospered greatly because they were loggers, community builders, educators, family-oriented, and very patient people. The beaver travelled quickly from Quebec because they are excellent swimmers. As they had to walk the majority of the trip, the Bear clan moved more slowly as they followed the Beaver clan. When the Bear clan arrived, the community was virtually complete. As a result, they immediately began to gather medications for the locals, watch over the area, and safeguard the locals, especially the young ones. To this day, they continue to fight for their community's rights. The Bear clan is a well-liked and tenacious clan. Today, the Beaver and Bear clan lives in harmony with all the other people in the same community. Three other kinship communities connect to Monetville, Noëlville, St-Charles and Alban.

Artist Biography - Jessica Somers

Elder Support: Richard Meilleur

Jessica Somers was born in Sudbury, Ontario, and currently resides in Lavigne, Ontario. She is Odanak Abenaki (full status), and her grandmother is also Metis. She is greatly influenced by her grandmother, who enjoyed creating scenic and wildlife paintings. Her father’s passion for carpentry, hard work ethic, and determination are what have attributed to her success as an artist today.

Jessica loves creating paintings that represent the knowledge of the natural world we learn and share through generations. She is captivated by the teachings of elders in her community and her Nation, and she creates art that connects to these teachings. This honors her ancestors while also ensuring the knowledge is passed on.

Jessica also provides workshops online and in person to engage the community by opening doors to create, educate and provide opportunities for community members to experience and benefit from Indigenous culture. She enjoys creating large murals with schools and organizations with community members to engage in community and the arts.   Jessica believes that art is like language; it is a medium to express ideas and to share information. Art helps share thoughts, ideas and visions that may not be able to be articulated any other way. Art has a full range of expression. The process of creating art engages people mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jessica uses her artwork as self-reflection, a way of seeking peace, sharing knowledge, teaching lessons, and/r telling stories. Jessica believes that art has been a survivance, a way of holding onto stories and history, embodying a way of life and expressing and sharing Indigenous identities. It allows individuals a richer understanding of Indigenous history.

Anglophone Mural

A mural of people walking in the mountains

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceLOCATION: Alban Community Centre Park - 796 HWY 64, ALBAN ON P0M 2N0

Artist: Annette Labonte

About the Mural

This mural was designed with the community in mind. It represents the people living in it and some of the activities they enjoy throughout the four seasons.

Artist Biography

Annette was born and raised in Welland, located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. She learned the fundamentals of drawing and painting through her High School art classes. Although she worked full time, Annette managed to take the time to paint murals in local homes and businesses. Annette and her husband moved to French River when they retired.

Annette got involved with the community by volunteering with several local organizations, including The Backstreet Gallery. Her involvement with the Gallery has given her the opportunity to work in collaboration with other local artist on projects within the community. She loves spending time outdoors and, in her studio, creating art in various mediums.

Francophone Mural

A mural on a wall

Description automatically generatedLOCATION: The Backstreet Art Gallery - 11 Notre Dame St E, Noëlville, ON P0M 2N0

Artist: Denise Breton

About the Mural:

In 1898, Mr. Cyrille Monette, a courageous and proud pioneer, confidant of a successful future, settled in our region to establish a community. Monetville was named after him. The settlers that followed him came from Buckingham, l'Ange Gardien, Ripon, Embrun, Anger, Sainte Rose, Chrysler, Rimouski, Trois Pistoles and Saint Octave-de- Métis. They travelled by horse and voyageur canoes to settle here in Cosby Ontario which became Noëlville Ontario in 1911.The change from Cosby to Noëlville was in honour of Mr. Noel Desmarais, a successful businessman and first merchant of the village. A priest, Rev. Dupuis petitioned for the name change in order to end the postal confusion with the town of Crosby.

Lumber and farming were the main revenues for our first pioneers. To this day, Noëlville has the most beautiful sugar bushes of the region.

Artist Biography 

In 1954, the Breton family left Kapuskasing to settle in Noëlville. Denise, daughter of Adrien and Thérèse Breton, hotel entrepreneurs, grew up at the Lafayette hotel. During her five-year Arts and Science high school program, she pursued the two-year correspondence course from the Art Instruction School in Minneapolis Minnesota. She continued her post-secondary studies in the three-year Visual Arts program at Cambrian College. In 1974, after graduating with two disciplines, painting and ceramics, Denise taught visual arts in many secondary schools in the Sudbury district. She also participated in many art exhibitions.

In 1997, now empty nesters, Denise and her husband, Robert Pitre, returned to Noëlville to experience new adventures. Having completed a two-year diploma as a Natural Health Consultant, Denise opened her small business, La Grosse Carotte, selling natural health products and exclusive gifts.

In 2011, Denise participated in the opening of the Backstreet Gallery. For six years, she also volunteered as a driver for seniors and delivered Meals on Wheels. For six and a half years, Denise taught an exercise program for seniors in Noëlville, St-Charles, and Warren. She enjoys singing and playing her ukulele and still draws and paints.

Anishinabek Mural

A painting on a wall

Description automatically generated

LOCATION: Corner of Hwy 64 and Notre Dame St E, Noëlville, ON P0M 2N0

Artist: Isaac Weber

Artist Biography – Isaac Weber 

Isaac was born in Rotterdam to two parents with very different cultural backgrounds and a unique family situation. At an early age in life, he made my way into a foster family and lost most firsthand cultural influences. His mother, an Indigenous Native American, adopted out from Canada, an Anishinaabe child pushed out by the system and its agenda with the Aboriginal nations. His Father is From Cabo Verde, who lives in Holland and now makes this European country his home. After sailing across the world as a sailor for an oil company. He grew up in the outskirts of Rotterdam, exploring the urban city life from my mid-teens. Exposed to art through graffiti, art class and graphic design school. As an alien in this society, he survived trough by drawing his vision on this world. His Arts were, most of the time, an escape from reality. Coping with Societal problems because of his ethnic background, he focused on political and social awareness. And ever since then, he never went too far from the drawing board, my canvas workstation or a backpack full of spray paint. 

Throughout his travels, he has obtained all the different skills and experience he needs. 

To bring forth a contemporary array of artistic expressions, he tattoos traditional markings and contemporary imagery, paints murals and canvases that have been award-winning, and has worked on several international movies, where he applied his skill in the scenic paint department. 


Funding was provided through FedNor EDI. The initiatives under this fund were intended to enhance the economic vitality of Northern Ontario's official language minority communities (OLMC) – the Francophone community - and enhance the region's competitiveness through linguistic duality.