The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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2065 Henderson Highway    Location Map

This Mural was commissioned by the Knowles Centre in 2007 to help mark the agency's 100th anniversary. Andrich's Mural reaches almost 18 feet high by 47 feet wide. The Mural was unveiled at a special 100th anniversary commemotrative ceremony on September 26, 2007. Gord MacIntosh, MLA, proclaimed that day as as Knowles Centre Day in Manitoba.

Location: Northbound take First Right after Bunn's Creek Bridge; South Face

Occupant: Knowles Centre

District: North Kildonan

Neighbourhood: River East

Artist(s): Tom Andrich (Eclectic Fine Art)

Year: 2007


Maureen Britton (Community Relations Coordinator, Knowles Centre): "Knowles Centre is a treatment centre for children and youth, both boys and girls, for those with behavioural and emotional issues. They come from northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, from both rural and urban centres. About 60% of our clients are aboriginal. The clients are either living with us or receiving treatment from us while still living in the community. Our services are for kids from ages 4-17 years of age. Those living in a Knowles group home would be at least age 11. Younger children might be clients of our sexual abuse program but would still be living elsewhere."

"The Mural is painted on Cottage 1, which is a secure on-site residence for girls. There are 10 girls living in the cottage and they attend school on the grounds here; and receive round the clock supervision. Cottage 2 is the boys' residence. The education is co-ed at John G. Stewart School on our grounds here. This school has smaller classroom sizes and a lower student-teacher ratio. Their education is based more on where they are rather than their age. The school's goal is to catch them up and then ultimately to reintegrate them to a community school."

Juana Schoch (Group Home supervisor): "There are 2 group homes in the community: one for boys and one for girls. Each of the group homes is set up for six clients."

Maureen: "In 1907, Wilfred Knowles was working as a clerk at CPR. He came across a young boy named Joe who was an orphan whose parents had died. He was selling newspapers to survive but really didn't have a home. Mr. Knowles invited him to come and stay with him in his boarding house. Other boys soon found out that this Mr. Knowles would be willing to put a roof over their head and showed up at his doorstep. By the fall of that year, Knowles moved to a bigger place so there would be more room, and started what was known then as an orphanage. In 1910 they incorporated the orphanage with a board of directors and started looking for a permanent place. They found this land in North Kildonan (which at that time was well outside Winnipeg), bought it, took out a mortgage, and built a dormitory (at top left). Knowles eventually married and moved to California around 1914. He died of Tuberculosis in 1928."

"The original dormitory would hold 60 or 70 boys and eventually burned down in 1959. The house to the upper right corner of the Mural (colored darker brown) is located at 738 Broadway. This is where Wilfred Knowles moved with the boys when they outgrew his boarding house on Hargrave Street. The photograph we have was taken about 1985. The house to the lower left is at 557 Bannatyne Avenue (white). I do not know when the picture was taken but it appears to be a copy of a very old photo."

"The purpose of the Mural was to honour our 100th anniversary. It's amazing what has occurred in those 100 years, from its very humble beginnings from one caring man, and just how much it has expanded since then- to include girls, for instance. It was Knowles School for Boys until 1981 when it became co-ed. In the Mural we also wanted to recognize a large portion of our clients are aboriginal and to incorporate this aboriginal cultural component into the Mural, as it has been in our programming here."

Juana: "There are so many nice Murals around Winnipeg, and we decided we wanted to do one here to mark the anniversary. Someone told me about your website and I went on there. Tom Andrich's name stuck out and I saw his work and we were very impressed with his work on the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike Mural. He met with us and agreed to do the Mural. We gave him a box of photos but we were already fairly sure of the content we wanted in the Mural. A Mural committee was struck that consisted of myself, Gerry Nytepchuk, Dawn Vandal Danylchuk and Dave Purpur. Because I have some artistic talent, I worked a little more closely with Tom on the content and design than the others. Some of the pictures in the box were less and some more representative of what goes on here: yes we have had hoop dancers and powwows here, but the drumming group is more representative."

"The skating rink in the background was a big recreational activity, even as recently as the 80s and 90s and was located where the school is now. They had hockey teams that would play other schools. It was a big piece of the history. The canoe was included to give an indication of the camping experience that we do in our summer camp facility in the Whiteshell; but it was also something that the boys did too with the river so handy. The totem pole is there and it's real. The school has a wonderful woodworking program with a master wood carver who works with the kids and together made this beautiful totem pole."

"We used the basketball scene with the girls throwing hoops as a way of showing the coming of girls to the facility. In the background is the girl's treatment group home, which I run."

Maureen: "The Knowles School for Boys billboard was an actual billboard that used to face the highway. The Winnipeg buses didn't go that far so the boys would take it to the end of the line and then walk or take the bus. Usually they walked to save their money. The 3 boys and the dog above the billboard is from an old photo. In the photo the boys are sitting in a barn where they raised chickens and picked the eggs. The boys did some gardening and they sold their vegetables at the top of the street, as suggested by the pumpkins in the scene."

"The position of 'gardener' was very well respected back then. One of the most memorable superintendents, Charles Hawkins, started off here as a gardener for 9 years. He later served as superintendent for 20 years. He was well respected and well liked by the boys. He had a particular fondness for gladiolas and took great pride in growing them. He would then use them as barter, for example he would give a bunch to the Roxy Theatre so he could take the boys out to see a movie."

Tom Andrich: "It was a privilege to work on this Mural. When I started looking at the history, and finding out what Wilfred Knowles did in such a short time- he only lived for a very short time. He made such an imprint on our society in such a short time. It was such a privilege to show his face on the Mural and show what he left behind."

"When I was a kid, my parents would take me to a farm down on Henderson Highway down by Lockport; and we would pass Knowles Centre enroute. My parents liked to say to us boys 'if you don't behave, here is where you'll end up'! Here I am now, I've completed this Mural. Life takes funny circles sometimes! I used to come and bringing children here earlier in my life when I was a child and family services worker. I came to understand more about what Knowles Centre meant to so many children who have come here. That's part of what I wanted to do here: depicting boys and girls who have come here and have overcome the dysfunctions and misfortunes that have been thrown at them."

About the Knowles Centre: Knowles Centre is one of the oldest child treatment facilities in the province, having been established in 1907. It is a registered , non-profit, charitable organization governed by an elected Board of Directors and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation. Today, Knowles Centre serves both boys and girls from Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario with behavioural and emotional difficulties. It operates on-site and community group homes, a day treatment program, a sexual abuse treatment program, and a treatment foster care program. The Biimautaziiwin Aboriginal Cultural Program, a recreation program, and an outdoor camp program all support client treatment.

For more information on the Knowles Centre, visit their website at