Kitchener musician making art with hometown connection
After a tour was cancelled by the pandemic, one Kitchener musician found some comfort in a familiar sign.
Danny Michel is a three-time Juno award nominee and was up for a Polaris prize for best Canadian album, but for his next big project he decided to build a miniature replica of the local Schneiders sign that can be seen from Hwy. 401.
It's part of a race track project in his home for his AFX slot cars. This has become a new focus for Michel after a slew of shows and a western tour could not go on because of the pandemic.
"I started thinking I need to come up with a winter pandemic hobby to keep me sane," he said. "I went down a really deep rabbit hole and then, when I started making buildings, I started thinking about places in my life that are special to me, anywhere in the world, and they can be in this little town I'm building."
Michel adds that the sign is a symbol of coming home to Waterloo Region and that the little creation of his has elicited a big reaction.
"I find it very fascinating, the emotional investment and connection people have with it," he said. "They start talking about it and they get tears in their eyes.
"I haven't seen it anywhere else where there's just this structure that has nothing to do with everyone's life that is so important to them."
Michel says one of the oddest things he's found with the mini sign is how it's generated nothing but positivity online.
The artist is also working on some new music while at home, but first wants to make improvements to the sign.
"I'm just starting to work on a new record in between the track and that," said Michel. "If the good people at Maple Leaf are listening, I have an idea and I want to talk to you."