Osborne Underpass (2)
In 2006, additional funding allowed for the extension of the original 2003 scene on both ends.
This rendering was by Tom Andrich in 2003. It was one of four 2003 Mural installations intended as beautification of the underpass with meaningful historical artwork. Sponsors of the overall project were: Take Pride Winnipeg!, City of Winnipeg, CN Rail, Pem-Brand, McDonald's, South Osborne Beautification Committee, Manitoba Hydro, Red River COOP, Golden Rule Seniors, IBEX Payroll Services, Lord Roberts Community Centre, St. Mary's Nursery & Garden Centre, Province of Manitoba. In 2017 the installation came down and was replaced with Canada 150 banners.
Original notes follow:
Tom Andrich: "I knew this was going to be on a flat surface, and I didn't want something
flat. I wanted something optical to make the wall come out and look more interesting.
So that's why I used the 'panels' and had different things going on in the panels and
overlapping creating the illusion of something going in and out to break up the flatness."
"I knew my theme was trains and that CN was the client. The first time I did the designs
I did vintage trains. I went to the Archives and was poking around for old trains and
invested a fair amount of time with this. I did the drawings of the old trains and the
railway station but then I received the feedback that CN wanted all contemporary
equipment featured. I have mountains in one of the scenes (photo 5) because I wanted something
along the horizon besides just prairie. Plus, it gives the impression that it's a Canada
wide operation. That's what I was trying to show and have them work into each other.
This would be a far different country if we didn't have the railway tying it together."
"I actually got to show all four seasons in this. Winter is a big thing for traveling through
the snow because they have to plow (photo 6). The logo on the side of one of the trucks (photo 8)- for the
life of me I could not find a truck when I wanted that exact logo! And all the trains have
different numbers and different styles of trains for different regions. I wanted to go to the
train yards to take pictures of some of these trains but I couldn't swing it with them. I
was worried that I would get train people come to me and say 'this train wouldn't go in
the mountains' or something like that. With all the train aficionados out there, I wanted
the contents of the Mural to be able to stand up to that kind of scrutiny. So I tried to be as
accurate as I could and to get the features of the trains and diesels correctly. A lot of
these reference photos I got from the CN web site, except that the photos were very
"Across the different sections, I wanted it to be the same sky all the way across. It was a
little tricky doing these up close to get the right angles. In the second and third panels (Photo 7)
you have a diesel pulling a diesel at a railway crossing, a very common sight in the
prairies. I wanted to capture the feeling of what people are accustomed to seeing and
what CN represents to people all across Canada. The railway crossing signals switches
were difficult. My initial reference was again from the CN site, but after I drew it I
received the feedback that it didn't look quite right. So I went out to railway crossings
and shot photos and then I repainted it."
2006 update: In 2006, Tom was asked to extend his original scene in both directions (photo 1). He provided me with these comments:
"The dilemma at first was how do I add to it? What do I add? So I went to the CN website, and I thought 'OK, how do they put the rails down?' So I got pictures of the old way of putting the rails down and the new way, and decided to show the old versus the new, the sepia depicting the old and the full colour depicting the new. (photo 3)"
"Communications are a big part of CN's operations. In the old days it was telegraph and wireless, and now it's computers and telecommunications- all kinds of things. I wanted to show the changes that have taken place (photo 4). I did up the drawings so that Tom Ethans (Take Pride Winnipeg) could take it to them and they said it was perfect."
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