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'Fabulous' Sprockets and Brushes turn trail heads into works of art

'Every artist from various locations in Simcoe County put their own spin on their art for an array of styles and colours,' said ODAC official of county-wide project

Often, the best kinds of civic projects are those done in partnership with others.

The County of Simcoe’s Cycle Simcoe, Regional Tourism Organization 7, and the Orillia District Arts Council have just finished up one such project. And it is a winner.

“To commemorate Cycle Simcoe’s 10th anniversary, the County of Simcoe decided to develop and install 17 trail hubs throughout Simcoe County: one in each of our member municipalities and one at the Simcoe County Museum,” said Brendan Matheson, outdoor experience manager for Simcoe County Tourism.

“The trail hubs consist of a bench, bike rack, and repair station, for which we received $100,000 in funding,” he continued. “And we took the project one step further and asked the Orillia and District Arts Council (ODAC) if they would arrange and facilitate for artists to decorate these elements.”

Mike Bailey, ODAC Board member, said ODAC relished the challenge.

“Of course, ODAC gladly took on the challenge. We named the project Sprockets and Brushes. A call went out to all ODAC members for first chance at this paying opportunity to paint the equipment at each site. Travel, material, and labour were all funded for each artist. Their artwork was to be a representation of Simcoe County and/or the specific location," Bailey explained.

Seventeen artists took up their paintbrushes, and although Old Man Winter and supply chain issues tried to throw a wrench in the sprockets, everything was all installed and painted as of a few weeks ago.

“Every artist from various locations in Simcoe County put their own spin on their art for an array of styles and colours," said Bailey.

"It was a fabulous project for ODAC to help local artists display their craft in outdoor venues that can be viewed by so many cyclists. And now the cyclists have a place to stop and rest, chain their bikes, and do minor repairs if necessary. It’s a win/win for everyone.”

Matheson agreed.

“The County is absolutely thrilled with our ODAC partnership and we believe the trail hubs create a sense of place and enhance the trail experience for both visitors and community members," he said.

Bailey said there may be one more element to the ambitious project. 

“This year we hope to have sufficient funding to provide a plaque at each of the 17 locations with the artist’s name and the title of their art.”

The locations of the 17 hubs can be found by visiting Cycle Simcoe's website


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