The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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Displaying Locations 381-385 of 612


831 Portage Avenue    Location Map


Location: NE corner Portage & Simcoe; East Face

Occupant: Kives Building

District: West End

Neighbourhood: St. Matthews

Artist(s): Charlie Johnston (C5 Artworks), Tom Andrich (Eclectic Fine Art)

Year: 2002

Sponsors: Take Pride Winnipeg!, City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Foundation, Hertz Equipment Rentals, Richardson Foundation, Inc., Manitoba Jockey Club, Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Horsemen's Benevolent & Protection Association

Painters: Dedicated to Dorothy & Don Mead


Tom Andrich: "This is the Kives Building. It was Phil Kives (K-Tel International) who volunteered the wall. Both Charlie and I had been asked to submit drawings to the clients. They liked part of Charlie's and part of mine. So we ended up collaborating on it."

Once they had met with the clients a few times for clarification on the few of the details, Tom submitted the version that was finally approved and it incorporated the best of both designs.

Charlie Johnston: "Tom and I had different spins on it and we ended up putting the two together. Our clients of course are REAL horse people; very astute and EXTREMELY knowledgeable about how horses look when they're racing. We had to be very careful with how OUR horses would look. We went out to Assiniboia Downs and watched the horses and videotaped them running. I also did some light sketches of horses. I'd love to go back there anytime just to do paintings of horses, it was great."

Tom: "The group we met with wanted something in the (lower right hand) corner here to reflect the breeding element of the sport, so I put the mare and the colt there to acknowledge the breeding and the horse breeders. Both Charlie and I separately did the research and we both independently came up with essentially the same drawings of the older buildings. I went everywhere I could to find old photos of Whittier Park and Polo Park and I went through a number of photographs. Whittier Park we had several photos for; Polo Park, however was VERY difficult to find ANYTHING. Sure there are lots of pictures taken of RACING at the track, or of HORSES at the track, but pictures of the track building itself, that was tough! The picture we ended up using as our reference for Polo Park is one of the paintings that is currently on one of the walls at Assiniboia Downs."

"It was Charlie's idea to put the horses in full action on the turn (Tom's preliminary sketches for the client had the horses and the buildings together on the straightaway); it's very appealing to the eye too, except they didn't like the perspective the way Charlie drew the horses looking down on them. So we changed that and we changed the rails a bit from Charlie's original to give them the look they wanted. We did the transparencies from this final one onto the wall, and away we went- off to the races! It's the largest wall I've ever done."

Charlie: "The timeline is accomplished through a colour transition from gray scale to sepia tone to full colour and shows the three different race tracks of Winnipeg, the first being Whittier Park, to Polo Park, to the present; and the horses are racing through the timeline from gray scale to full colour. The punch line for us, and Tom got a kick out of this too, is that we wanted the three leading horses to be RBG as like in photo finishing: so the colour base of each of those horses is red, blue, and green. So I laid out a purplish blue colour base for the inside horse, a red colour base for the middle one, and a green colour base for the one on the left flying wide outside. I like these optical elements, they do interesting things to the image. To me the theme of this Mural is Photo Finish, and so that's why it's called 'Photo Finish'!"

Tom: "For surface and texture it was the best wall I ever worked on; it was smooth stucco. And when we were putting it up we wanted the racing horses to be as big as possible."

Regardless of where you stand to look at this wall, the horses are big, they're in full flight there's dirt from the track flying, great action and they're in your face and they're coming right at you. Great excitement and action is here, which was exactly the intent, and are exactly the things that Assiniboia Downs has come to be associated with over the years and decades.

For more information on Assiniboia Downs, visit