Town of Canmore

Organics Bins

On September 3rd, 2019, the Town of Canmore officially launched its Residential Food Waste Program by placing five food waste bins throughout the Town. While bringing organics recycling to Canmore is significant in and of itself, the new residential food waste bins allowed for a unique art opportunity, too.

In partnership with the Town of Canmore's climate change specialist and Solid Waste Services, the Arts & Events department facilitated an open art call for Canmore residents to create a design for the exterior of the bins. A blind jury reviewed the submissions and awarded the project to Pascale Ouellet, also known as Bigoudi. Pascale's submission not only reflected the residential food waste program, but she was also able to capture the tenor of the town at the same time. 

In her submission, Pascale wrote about her artistic approach to the project:

"I have lived in Canmore for 17 years and have been a full-time artist for 14 of those years.

Every day since I moved here, like most of us, I have been in awe of the majesty of the mountains that surround us. They are so impressive with their sheer cliffs... yet I feel like they are also a quiet reminder of what we are doing to mother nature.

Living in Canmore, most of us drive our cars for the simplest errand, consume heaps of goods and generate tons of garbage that has to be hauled hundreds of kilometers away. We all know that this has to change and we need to invite people to re-think their habits.

Thankfully, part of the answer will soon be to use the new Residential Food Waste Bins. Since the call for submission to create art to adorn the bins was released, I have been wondering how I could create something fun... something that would make compostable waste look not gross nor slimy. So I asked myself, how could I turn organic waste into art supplies? And finally, how could I use the image of four of our most famous local peaks to create an incentive to use the bins?

The idea of creating a photo project of a 'mosaic' made of food waste came to me and it seemed like the right thing to create. I collected a days worth of my own organic waste and worked with photographs of Grassi Ridge, EEOR [the east end of Rundle], Three Sisters and Lady Macdonald to recreate their images in a loose and playful way. For example, I have used some cherry pits, orange, apple and banana peels, and a few tea bags to suggest the shapes and shadows of our local peaks. The skies and foregrounds allowed me to play with the colours and textures in a more abstract way to make each piece unique.

I feel that once wrapped around the bins and seen from a distance, we will recognize the colourful mountain shapes first and it is only upon a closer look that we will start to see the different organic elements that compose the image... creating a surprise effect for the viewer.

The components of the image also show that handling compostable waste is not gross and can be fun... the proof being that I made some clean artwork with it!"

Creating a design for the bins presented a challenge for all artists who responded to the call, but the challenge was also extended to Dino Senn at Ridgewood Signcrafters who had the monumental task of printing Pascale's design and adhering it to the exterior of the bins. Faced with unusual angles, doors, handles, and varying surface depths, Dino and his team are the first group to wrap a bear-proof bin in its entirety. The quality of workmanship that ensured the integrity and continuity of Pascale's design as it was reproduced was an art project all on its own. 

The success of this project highlights the collaborative efforts of Dino, Pascale and the Town of Canmore. 

Scroll down to see the original images submitted by Pascale. If you are interested in learning more about the Residential Food Waste Program, click here

The Town of Canmore is located within Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Canmore area, known as “Chuwapchipchiyan Kudi Bi” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “shooting at the willows”) and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation, and Wesley First Nation – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play and help us steward this land and honour and celebrate this territory. We commit to working to live in right relations and to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

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