Silos are rural skyscrapers. They stand out prominently on farms and are used to store grain and livestock feed. In Prescott and Russell Counties east of Ottawa, selected silos have become canvases for artists, and a way of celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.
It’s called the Popsilos project and features murals that have been painted on five different silos across the two counties. The project was developed by local entrepreneurs Mathieu Mault and Jennifer Larocque who wanted to bring art and locally-made products together. Each silo is located on the site of, or near a business that produces local food or beverages. Each silo and food or beverage business is in or near historic and scenic villages, and within close distance of Highway 417, the Trans-Canada Highway that connects Ottawa with Montreal. All the locations are also about a one-hour drive north of Massena and Cornwall.
Near the village of Vankleek Hill, artists Emmanuel Jarus and Zek One have collaborated to create the mural “Youth” on the barn at Ouimet Farms, located at 63 Main Street West in the Township of Champlain. Jarus is a realist portrait artist and Zek is well-known in Montreal’s graffiti scene. The popular Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company is on the east end of the village.
From there, it’s a short drive to Vankleek Hill Vineyard, owned by Marty and Laurie Kral. Artist OMEN514 of Montreal (514 is the Montreal telephone area code), has painted “Diversity” on the silo of the old barn there. Marty Kral said the image of the raven was meant to represent its strong meaning to indigenous people and to represent the ecological diversity he has developed on the property, where he produces organic wine from 4,500 grapevines.
All of the silos are on private property, so the hours when they can be accessed up close vary, but all of them can be seen from the road. Hours vary for the food and beverage-related businesses too. More information is available at popsilos.ca.