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Chemainus BC. There's good reason why the town of Chemainus on Vancouver Island is known as The Little Town That Did. After all, it almost became British Columbia's newest ghost-town... Since 1838, this small community was known as a thriving centre for mining, fishing and forestry. Thanks to the arrival of the railroad the population of the area had inflated to 600 by the early 1920's. By this time, forestry had become the backbone of the area's economy. But by the early 1980's the province was in the grip of an ugly recession. And as the mill closed, as the lifeblood of this town of 4 thousand dried up, a tragic end seemed inevitable for Chemainus. Enter Mayor Graham Bruce, a young visionary who envisioned an unconventional if not effective way to save his community. What followed was one of the most successful revitalization projects of any town in the history of Canada... The vision was this: to turn the faltering town of Chemainus into an exhibition of outdoor murals, painting every available wall with large, colourful pictures that celebrated the rich and beautiful heritage of the area and the industries that originally gave it life. Local artists as well as artists from across the globe congregated to realize this dream. By 1982, the first five murals were created. Today, the town boasts 37 murals and 12 sculptures with over 400,000 visitors annually, who enjoy the art both through walking and heritage horse-drawn carriage tours. This little mill town didn't just survive - it boomed.
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