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Home Hardware murals will pay lasting tribute to town’s pioneers
The entire community was invited, but it was the town’s remaining pioneers who were honoured during a special community celebration this past Sunday.
Several hundred local residents – and many tourists – gathered outside the Osoyoos Home Hardware store on Main Street late Sunday afternoonas owners Frances and Larry Sologuk unveiled five beautiful murals that showcase the town’s historic past.
Besides unveiling the five murals, participants were treated to a community garden party.
The garden party included some great music by the South Okanagan Big Band. Close to two dozen local residents also got dressed up in costumes dating back to the 1920 and 1930s.
There was also plenty of food and refreshments provided free of charge to the large crowd in attendance.
Frances Sologuk acted as the Master of Ceremonies as she introduced several of the town’s pioneers and thanked them for all that they’ve done in making Osoyoos one of the best small towns in the country.
Sologuk said she came up with the idea for placing the large murals on the outside of the Home Hardware store she and her husband first opened in Osoyoos back in 1973 after seeing it done at other outlets in Ontario.
She talked to Kara Burton, the curator and executive director at the Osoyoos Museum, and got access to some wonderful high-resolution historic photographs.
A company called Twin City Graphics in Waterloo, Ont. turned the photographic negatives into brilliant murals put together lithographs and aluminum panels, said Kevin Ross, the Osoyoos Home Hardware warehouse manager.
“They were shipped by freight on a large Home Hardware tractor trailer and we had to assemble them in pieces,” he said. “Three of the murals are eight feet high by 12 feet wide, while the other two are eight feet high by 10 feet wide.”
The five murals depict a photograph of Main Street from the 1930s, a photograph of a cabin on Osoyoos Lake, a photograph taken from the Osoyoos Cherry Carnival back in 1944, a photograph declaring Osoyoos as the town that provides the earliest fruit harvest in Canada and a photograph of the original Osoyoos hardware store.
Sologuk said erecting the murals will provide a lasting legacy over the next several years about the proud history of Osoyoos and how important the original pioneers were in the town’s early days.
“To all of the pioneers who are still with us today, I have to tell you that you have made Osoyoos what it is,” she said during Sunday’s unveiling ceremony.
Gerald Pendergraft, who has lived his entire life in Osoyoos, was proud to show off the small home where he grew up on in Osoyoos, which could barely be seen on the edge of one of the murals.
Ruth Schiller, who moved to Osoyoos in 1939 from Germany, said she never wanted to live anywhere else after moving here as a young girl.
“Osoyoos is the greatest little town there ever was … I came here and never left,” she said.
Stan Stodola, the founder of the Osoyoos Times and a well-known member of this community for several decades, said he has loved living and conducting business in Osoyoos.
Sologuk said that she’s thrilled with the response and very pleased that the murals will serve as a lasting reminder about the proud history of the town she has called home since moving from Northern Ontario more than 40 years ago.