Champions for Change presents Canada 150 Project to Council
Led by the creative mind of local artist Herman Poulin, Champions for Change presented St. Paul Town Council with their Canada 150 Project, Children of the Sun. The walking monument is an homage to the classic children’s book, Children of the Sun, and will complement the Town’s UFO theme. The Landing Pad was designed to mean Universal Acceptance, a beautiful theme the committee wants to continue with the Children of the Sun.
“Our forefathers were about universal acceptance, and in order to accept each other, we needed a landing pad,” artist Herman Poulin explains his vision to Town Council, “after fifty years, I think it’s time for us to go from the landing pad and walk through the solar system to go see the universe.” Poulin explains he discover the book and loved it’s accordion style, “my first reaction was I wish I could walk through there.” Which is how the vision for the monument came to be. “It’s a walk-way through the Universe.”
Champions for Change sees the monument as a place where not only tourists will come, but schools from all over the province will book tours to discover the monument and St. Paul. Visitors will follow a bridge like walk-way through the circular openings of the monument. Each panel will feature a different planet and give an explanation of the planet, “it’s a learning tool,” explains Poulin. There is even a panel for the Asteroid Belt, an important part of the solar system.
“The grade 6 curriculum actually studies the Universe,” explains Linda Sallstrom, Champions for Change committee member, “they study the planets and the asteroid belt. There is a big educational proponent to this project. I think it’s important for both Herman and the whole project, that we keep the integrity of the book intact.” The committee has obtained permission from Child’s Play USA (the book’s publisher) to use the book in this fashion.
“Discussions started a few years ago, around the Canada 150 table and the Champions for Change table, that we needed to do something that could match the importance of the landing pad,” explained Champions for Change member, Penny Fox. St. Paul was heavily involved in celebrating Canada’s Centennial, the Town was named the “Centennial Star”, and the Landing Pad was officially unveiled on July 1st, 1967.
The grant application for the project has been submitted for funding under a Canada 150 project, “they have called me back and they want confirmation from all the partners that if they [give us the] funding, we’re ready to go,” Fox explained to Council. With that, Champions for Change requested the Town provide the land for the 80 foot structure, as well as the equipment to build it. The committee presented the Town with the idea of placing the interactive monument in the Reunion Station area of town, near the fishing pond. The vision is for the Children of the Sun to veer off the main walking trail and allow people to experience the solar system or if they wish to continue on the trail they may.
There are two main reasons for why the structure is not planned at the Landing Pad; 1. there is not enough space for the structure. Even if there was enough room in the area, the committee wanted space for school buses and walking around without being crammed or causing safety hazards. There is also the campground on the east end of town for out-of-town tourists. 2. the committee felt it was important to draw people to other areas of the community and by having the structures on opposite ends of town it forces people to discover the town and businesses when coming to the community.
Champions for Change has priced the project out to cost approximately $334,000, a lot of those funds coming from grants and community investments. The cost includes the price of the land, which the committee estimates to cost $80,000 and $15,000 for preparing the land. Cost includes the construction of the panels, the glass and walk-way, painting and writing on it; as well as the cement pad the structure will be placed on.
There are plans to eventually add lighting to the structure, which will (naturally) be solar. For now there are cut outs where natural light will shine through the structure illuminating it. The structure is 16 feet tall by 16 feet wide, ten foot openings, and 85 feet in length.
The area where the committee hopes to place the monument is Muni-Corr land, so the Town had agreed to speak to Muni-Corr about donating the land to Champions for Change. Council could not speak for Muni-Corr, but said they did not foresee any issues and will present the plans at the next Muni-Corr meeting, in September.
Should the committee be successful with obtaining the land and funding, Children of the Sun will be ready for discovery in September of 2017.