Sussex Murals

Sussex Murals

Sussex Murals

Back in April 2004, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the Gulmans, the then proprietors of Jonah Place Bed & Breakfast Inn in Sussex, reminisced about their trip to Chemainus, BC, and its local Festival of Murals, a celebration of the town’s history.

Chemainus had subtly and modestly transformed itself into a prime tourist spot, identifying itself as “The Little Town That Did.” When the local mill shut down, leaving the town deserted, they established the Festival of Sussex Murals to stimulate their local economy.

Today, like Chemainus, Sussex is a bustling small town, full of charming shops and supplementary businesses. The murals attract thousands of visitors annually, and the town has managed to retain its unique identity and preserve a sense of localness.

The tourism industry globally, and particularly in New Brunswick, has faced numerous obstacles over the years. Despite this, many tourists still find their way to Sussex. However, with two million people passing Sussex on the Trans Canada highway each year, and the average family having limited vacation time, it’s vital for small towns to offer something special to entice these travellers to stop.

"Sussex Vale Exhibition Building" by Ken White, Swindon, United Kingdom

In view of this, the Gulmans proposed the idea of murals on the town walls as a strategy to stimulate economic growth in the area. This led to the establishment of the Kings East Development Partnership Inc. (KEDP), founded by key stakeholders in the area, including the Town of Sussex, the Village of Sussex Corner, the Local Service Districts, the Sussex and District Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association, the Kings County Tourism Association and Enterprise Fundy.

Sussex Murals

The KEDP promptly initiated a grant application to ACOA, resulting in a $500,000 funding received and set aside for a Mural project. An open call to artists worldwide drew many talented applicants. After a selection process by the KEDP Board, artists were hired to paint the history of Sussex on the town and village walls.

Sussex Murals
“Sussex Vale Exhibition Building” by Ken White, Swindon, United Kingdom

The Mural Project, which began in December 2005, has seen the completion of 26 official murals. More mural ideas are periodically proposed to the board and assessed using an approval process established in 2013. This process ensures consistency and continuity in future murals. All murals are copyrighted and trademarked under the official title of “Mural Capital of Atlantic Canada”.

While the KEDP membership has dwindled to five, a small yet extremely dedicated group of six directors continue to “Imagine the Future,” proposing beneficial projects for local authorities to consider.

Sussex Murals
Sussex, NB – “The Snappy Fire Department of the Maritimes” by Michael O’Connor, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

This journey to create murals has not only led to the production of these beautiful works of art, but also the joy of working closely with talented mural artists, leaving a lasting visual tribute to the region’s history for both locals and visitors. The pleasure derived from these murals is sure to continue for many years to come.

Located amidst the rolling hills and expansive landscapes of southern New Brunswick, the Town of Sussex is definitely a must-visit spot!

Click on a thumbnail to see more Sussex murals. 

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