1755 Portage Avenue
This Mural in commemoration of D Day and the Juno Landing was rendered in 1999 by Mike Valcourt and Dwayne Ball for the St. James Legion; with sponsorship by Take Pride Winnipeg. The Mural was removed in the fall of 2012 in favour of a new Mural painted directly on the wall.
Original Notes follow:
Mike Valcourt: "I was the lead artist. I was about halfway through this wall when I met
Dwayne Ball who helped me finish it. I was working with Harold Bastible from the
Legion, who spearheaded the concept of the Mural. The brick on the wall was textured
and would've been impossible to paint on. We mounted crezone boards to the wall, and
half of the work was putting the boards up. I worked with a carpenter and we drilled 2 x
4s to the wall. The crezone boards were each 4' x 10', and man were they heavy!
They're pressure-treated with a paper smooth finish. It took a really long time to do and
to get them to line up on this 70' x 20' wall. The project took a month and a half. It was
pretty rainy when I tried painting this and I battled the weather throughout."
"The scene is D Day and the Canadians landing on Juno Beach. This contingent would
be the Winnipeg Rifles, and many of them are located here at the St. James Legion. It
was a horrible sacrifice for a lot of the men who were maimed and killed. I talked to
some of the veterans and they had stories to tell. It was nothing that you would ever want
to see again. That's why it's more of a cartoony style: I didn't want to attempt realism
with this wall. You can tell with the rough waves I painted that I tried to make it bright
and vibrant, even though the actual case it was cloudy with lots of smoke. As far as I
know, the town is depicted fairly accurately. Some of the buildings are still standing.
The part in the corner, 'Lest We Forget' was Harold's idea, and is based on the Flanders
Fields poem. The whole idea of the torch at the bottom is taking the knowledge of what
happened that day and passing it on to others and letting them know-so we DON'T
"I'm glad the Mural is there; it's become part of the community. This Mural received
quite a bit of coverage in the media. It is often the backdrop for the D-Day and other
celebrations at the Legion."
John Steel (St. James BIZ): "One of the things that I talked to the artists about was to try
to emphasize all the Murals St. James BIZ has done have been historical in nature I said
we've got to be as close to reality as possible. I dug up pictures from the archives I went
to the provincial government, the national archives and I dug up all original pictures, I
said were trying to reproduce the scene as near to reality as possible. The beach and the
boats have a bit of a modern look to them and not quite the real historical look. But
people were happy with it in the end. It turned out good."
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