The Murals of Winnipeg
One of the things I noticed about Winnipeg when I first came here is that there are many murals all over the city. There are murals on walls of old buildings, on walls of stores, schools, community centres, even under bridges. I’m not actually an art enthusiast but I enjoy looking at these works of art.
This summer I heard Janet Stewart of CKY News announce that there was a Mural Fest going on in Winnipeg. Since then, my kids and I were always on the lookout whenever we were out to search for the entries of this Mural Fest. And only then did I take an interest in photographing the many murals of Winnipeg.
Here are just a few of the first ones I took. These were taken while we were driving, from inside the car so excuse the quality of the pictures.
On our way to Polo Park, the Assiniboia Downs on Portage Avenue.
Ryan spotted this one while we were waiting for the red light to turn green when we were on our way to Kumkoon Restaurant to attend a birthday party. This is one of the entries to MuralFest 2K6. It shows pictures of skeletons underground. I learned later on that this is titled Three Sisters. You can read about this entry on this site.
This one was taken when Ryan and I watched the baseball game. This is just behind the CanWest Global Park and is visible from Portage Avenue.
“Mommy, there’s a mural,” Ryland squeeked from behind me one afternoon when we were once again driving along Portage Avenue. Please ignore the rusty ugly post in the middle.
This is a close up of the Manitoba Hydro Mural on Polo Park, which you’ve already seen in a previous post.
I intended to post only a couple of these murals in my Friendly Manitoba post but I realized that there are just too many that it requires a separate post. There are so many more murals here that are better than these and I thought that I should really get out of the car and devote a time of walking to get better pictures. Besides, I want to take pictures of my favourite ones. And also I’ve already promised Señor Enrique that I’d share them here in my website.
So two Saturdays ago, I announced to my family, “I’m taking pictures of murals after we’re done shopping today. You guys can go home and I’ll stay behind and go downtown to take some pictures.”
“I’ll miss you, Mommy,” said my youngest one. He always says that when I go out without them.
“Why do you have to take pictures?” asked my middle guy. “Just look at the internet.”
“Ryan, there are no pictures of these murals on the internet,” I told him. Later on that night, I searched and found out that there are a couple of websites of these murals.
As usual, my oldest son was just quiet but I saw a smile on his face that night when I showed him a picture of his favourite.
One mural I always marvel at is the one on St. John’s Music Store on Portage Avenue. This is where Reggie bought his flute and saxophone and we go here occasionally to buy his music sheet, music books and other things he needs for his flute. That Saturday afternoon, I told the husband to drop me off at St. John’s and I’d take the bus from there to go to downtown and take more pictures of the murals there.
This is the St. John’s mural. It starts on the side where you’ll see the black top cover of the piano and the Yamaha logo. It continues to the front where you’ll see the keyboad (see photo above) and towards the middle, the keys merge into flowing water. I just love it.
At downtown, I got off at Portage Place, walked along Portage Avenue and started taking pictures of some the new statues placed there this summer. I will post these ones next time.
There’s this mural just past the MTS Centre across the street which was done by a group of students from three different elementary schools.
As I was walking towards the corner of Main Street, I spotted a newly placed mural on the side of The Fairmont Hotel on Lombard Place. I later on learned that this is one of the MuralFest 2K6 entry and is titled Sentez! You can see a larger view on this website.
On Main Street, just past Portage Avenue, I spotted another MuralFest 2K6 entry. This is The 1919 Strike.
I reached The Exchange District. Reggie has been here quite a few times to watch free jazz concerts. This mural is already faded but I think the art is quite good and it’s just a shame that it’s partly hidden from public view. I had to enter through the gates to get this shot.
I reached City Hall, crossed the street to catch my bus and took pictures of the Concert Hall and The Manitoba Museum. I will share these later. While standing there at the bus stop, I noticed another mural on the side of the museum, so I went closer and took this picture. Another MuralFest 2K6 entry, titled Cartography for New Cosmopolitans.
My bus came and I got off 200 Disraeli Freeway to take the final picture of the day, my favourite mural of all. I pass by this building everytime I go downtown and back. I learned from The Murals of Winnipeg website that this was Mural of the Year 2004. Titled, “Layin’ Down Tracks,” according to the website …
”This spectacular Mural measures in at nearly 14,000 sq. ft., making it the largest Mural in Manitoba and, we believe, the second largest in Canada. This visual feast is probably best enjoyed when one considers the Prairie, Railroad and Music themes all blended and blurred together in a playful visual metaphor of ‘layin’ down tracks’.”
Here are shots of both sides of the building.
The following day, my sister and I went over to Mama’s house and we drove along Selkirk Avenue. Only then did I realize that there are murals painted on almost every store that lines this street. I remember Mama telling me that Selkirk Avenue used to be the commercial centre of Winnipeg before Portage Avenue claimed that title. Sis asked me, “You want to take more pictures?” I told her, “It’s all right. I think I’ve had enough for now.” Besides I found out that there’s already a website devoted to The Murals of Winnipeg.
But don’t be surprised if once in a while you see me posting some more of these murals.
In the meantime, please check out The Murals of Winnipeg and you’ll find many more pictures of murals here that depict the way of life and culture here in Manitoba.
In MuralFest 2k6, you’ll find all five entries of the festival and the meanings and artists behind the art.
For those who are unable to view the pictures on Flickr, let me know and I’d gladly email them to you.