Chatham Love Locks art piece unveilved

Angel Bilagot, creator of the new Chatham Love Locks installation and owner of the CO., displays the brand new metal piece with her sons Kaius, Simon, Sebastian and Nicolas on Feb. 13. Her sons placed the first locks on the piece and the public is encouraged to visit and place a lock with their initials and a loved one’s on the art piece at 208 Queen St.

Inspired by the numerous bridges and structures around the world where people have affixed locks with messages of love or initials, Angel Bilagot wanted to bring the idea to Chatham.

Just ahead of Valentine’s Day, Bilagot unveiled her new Chatham Love Locks art installation on Feb. 13 at the CO., her 208 Queen St. art centre. She knew she wanted to create an interactive piece centered on the concept of love and connection. With the most famous example of love locks being Paris’ Pont des Arts bridge which has more than 700,000 locks, the idea spread throughout the years to numerous cities and landmarks since.

“Love locks started over 100 years ago and it’s the idea of a profession of love,” said Bilagot.

Created from metal, the unique Chatham Love Locks piece was welded together by Rob Proulx and has wire mesh inside two large metal hearts where visitors are encouraged to bring a lock and place it with their initials and a loved one’s on the installation.

“I shared a photo of what I had hoped for with Rob and from starting the conversation until completions, it was probably about six months,” said Bilagot.

A registered psychotherapist and drama therapist, Bilagot opened the CO. in September of 2019, wanting to focus on mental health, art and community.

From improv groups to art classes, Bilagot wanted to create a space where local artists could not only display their work, but also provide a space for art therapy, art classes and curated workshops.

While the art installation may one day find a spot outside somewhere in Chatham in the future, they will be keeping it indoors for now at the Queen Street location for visitors to enjoy.

Angel Bilagot, creator of the Chatham Love Locks installation and owner of the CO., hosted a special Cultivate Local Love Valentine’s Pop-Up event. Organized by The Cultivated Bloom, the shopping event showcased local vendors selling jewelry, flowers, sweets and more.


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