Claudia Broad felt sad when she found out the Stoney Creek Dairy was closing its doors.
The 31-year-old spent countless summer afternoons at the dairy while growing up, enjoying her favourite ice cream, heavenly hash, with family and friends.
“I was shocked and I felt like, wow, that’s sort of like closing an era of my childhood,” she said. “Whenever you thought about having ice cream, you were going to the Stoney Creek Dairy. I lived up on the mountain, so we would walk down there as a family and make a day of it; we would meet friends there…it’s always sad to see a local landmark like that go.”
Broad didn’t want her memories of the dairy to fade with the closing of its doors, so she decided to create a permanent memento.
Things mushroomed from there as she considered other favourite local landmarks she wanted to remember forever.
Broad commissioned Toronto artist David Crighton to create a watercolour drawing, which included the Stoney Creek Dairy, Battlefield House, Battlefield Monument, Erland Lee Museum, Punch Bowl Market and Bakery, the cross at the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Starlite Drive-in and the Old Powerhouse.
“I have David’s pictures in my house. He has such a fun and playful kind of way of doing things, the colours that he uses,” she said. “He takes the essence of the architectural part of something and then he makes it very playful. I wanted to have this drawing done to permanently capture parts of my childhood and David’s style just fits; I like that the piece is young and playful.”
Crighton said the first time he spoke with Broad on the phone, he was inspired by her eagerness.
“I was inspired by her enthusiasm for my artwork and the possibility that I might apply myself to create an illustration of Stoney Creek,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about the landmarks of Stoney Creek, but I know from past experience that I can put things together in a pleasing composition no matter what elements are involved. I felt great about helping Claudia make this happen and agreed immediately to work with her.”
Broad emailed Crighton a list of all the buildings, along with a map on how to get to each one.
After making a trip to Stoney Creek to take photos of the landmarks, Crighton returned to Toronto and began his artistic process.
He said this starts with a loose pencil drawing to establish what building goes where and how large/small each one will be.
“Then I draw over the pencil in black ink, adding all the details of the signs, bricks, shingles and trees etc,” Crighton said. “Next is the addition of watercolour, which brings it to life. That’s my favourite part, although the drawing is a challenge that is very rewarding as it develops.”
After some fine-tuning, the piece was complete.
Broad said it was a quick turnaround.
“He came down here, took pictures of all the places, went back and got started,” she said, adding she contacted Crighton about the project less than three months ago. “He also included me in every step – from the outline to the drawing to the painting to enhancing the colours – it was so great to be part of the process. I was so grateful that he involved me; it was really fun, I felt like I was painting it with him.”
Broad said when she saw the final piece she felt one thing.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “When I show people the piece, they love it. I think it’s because they can connect with it as well.”
Broad said she plans to hang the piece in her living room.
“I love my city,” she said. “Stoney Creek has so many different landmarks. I now have a piece of Stoney Creek that will ensure my childhood memories of this town will never fade.”