Friday, July 02, 2021 - 3:45 PM

Bench-Mark 'Welcome' Project

With funding from the Government of Canada, local organizations from diverse backgrounds have left their ‘mark’ on Canada Day through an installment of beautiful hand painted benches. Each bench is a unique work of art, designed to welcome newcomers and visitors to St. John’s.

The benches are on display in the green space at the corner of Prescott and Duckworth Street from July 1 - 5, and later distributed throughout downtown. 

Association for New Canadians
This bench was painted by approximately 30 Government Assisted Refugee youth ages 6-13 who arrived in St. John's in 2020-2021. The theme was multiculturalism and belonging. They were asked to think about what being part of the St. John's community means to them, and asked to paint the bench to reflect this, and to add their handprints in diverse colors. This complements Canada Day by also referencing World Refugee Day and Canadian Multiculturalism Day.

Memorial University Internationalization Office
This bench has been painted in a rainbow featuring Memorial University of Newfoundland’s pop branded colors. Above the rainbow they have included the phrase, 'Everyone is Welcome'.

Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador (MWONL)
This bench features the MWONL logo at the top of the backrest, flowers from around the world and the organization’s core values. On the back of the bench are Dahlias from Mexico, on the top and sides of the backrest Pitcher Plants and Lupins from Newfoundland, on the armrests the temple flower from Sri Lanka and pink and blue Lotus flowers from India. The core values 'Women Centered, Empowerment, Cultural Safety and Equity' are stenciled on the seat.

Sharing our Cultures
The Inukshuk is hugging the Jellybean Row houses. This symbolic representation recognizes and shows respect for the Indigenous communities who share their homes with people from diverse nationalities, represented by the flags. Hence, we can all live on this land in peace and love, even if we do not share the same language or culture.

Tombolo Multicultural Festival Newfoundland and Labrador
The wooden bench has been painted to portray the meaning of the word 'tombolo' which is 'a bar of sand or shingle joining an island to the mainland,' and the objectives of Tombolo Multicultural Festival Newfoundland and Labrador which include:

  • Connecting/Bringing together people from diverse cultures around the world to celebrate, showcase and share their cultures, and
  • Promoting cultural diversity, inter-cultural understanding, anti-racism, inclusion and harmony in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The painting on the bench is an island and bar of sand or shingle joining the island to the mainland.