New public art initiative seeks to honour Bob Turner with mural

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
New public art initiative seeks to honour Bob Turner with mural
Bob Turner, the City of Cornwall's first Recreation Director and first black employee. Seaway News file photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario – The experienCity Project (TeP)is celebrating Black History Month during the month of February by honouring a trailblazer in the world of sports in Cornwall. Bob Turner was the first black Recreation Director in Cornwall and possibly the first in North America.

Turner faced racism against his appointment as Recreation Director, but the community rallied around him, and he remained in the job until his early death at the age of 35.

RELATED: BOB TURNER: A man of colour who needs a new place of honour in Cornwall

After his death, Bob Turner’s memory was honoured with the christening of the Bob Turner Memorial Arena, which was located on Fourth St. E. until it was demolished in 2013.

Since the loss of the Bob Turner Memorial Arena, members of Cornwall City Council, and the community have sought to find a new way to honour Turner’s memory.

READ MORE: No memorial for Bob Turner, for now

Now, the TeP seeks to raise $5,000 to create a mural honouring Turner somewhere in Cornwall’s downtown.

TeP will be turning to the public and will be inviting artists to submit their concepts for what the mural could look like. A committee will then review the submissions and select the winning bid. While no location has yet to be identified, those with tips or suggestions are asked to contact

“I am very interested in helping our community find a fitting and creative way of honouring the memory and spirit of Bob Turner,” said Mayor Bernadette Clement. “It is remarkable that this city elected the first Jewish Mayor in Canada, and also hired the first black Recreation Manager. It says something powerful about our community. We need to be reminded of Bob Turner’s  story and it will honour us all to make sure there is a fitting tribute.”

Those who wish to support the project may do so online at or by cheque, which can be mailed to The experienCity Project, ℅ SDC Cornwall, 26 Montreal Rd., Cornwall, ON K6H 1B1

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