1400 Main Street
This tribute Mural to the Guess Who is suitably located in the North End, within a block or two from the street where Burton Cummings grew up. The Mural was completed on July 21, 2007.
Location: E side bet Bannerman & Atlantic; South Face
Occupant: Ariu Dental Centre
District: North End
Neighbourhood: St. John's-
Artist(s): Michael Bridgford-Read, Marymound Youth, St. John's High School Students
Sponsors: Pollock Hardware, Gord Mackintosh (MLA St. John's)
Michael Bridgford-Read: "I myself have always loved the Guess Who. My patrol stop
in elementary school was right by the Bachman house in Garden City. In 1976 I used to
see Rob and Randy, and I was only 10 years old and I was listening to their music."
"It was Gord Mackintosh's (MLA, St. John's) idea to have a Guess Who Mural. I see
him at St. John's High School where I work- he makes regular visits to the school. So I
got to know him and have a good rapport with him. We both attended the same boarding
school- he was one of the first to attend, I was one of the last. Gord also has connection
to my friend Mardy Yager at Marymound School. Gord approached Mardy that he
wanted to do this Mural to honour the Guess Who. My vice principal Greg, who was
there too, said, let's get Michael and St. John's High School involved. So that was it!"
"Gord found the wall. Gord Mackintosh's constituency office was upstairs in that
building, but had moved to another location. He had talked to the owner and gotten
consent. There was an existing 7-Up sign from the sixties there, all faded."
"I was given the task of coming up with the design and imagery. I was thinking of those
colours of the era, all those funky clothes and colours: it's gotta be psychedelic to capture
the 60's. I want that colour! I wanted to come up with a couple of designs because Gord
and (noted rock historian) John Einerson had been in touch and wanted some specific
things for the Mural."
"There was a lot of talk about the songs and the album covers. I thought one of the best
ways to go would be to grab the album covers and collage them all together. The second
idea I thought 'well if the other one was going to be images, maybe the second one would
be quite different so that when I'm showing the proposals I can contrast them'. That's
where I came up with the song titles and the funky splashes of colour (photo 2). In my
head, I was thinking much more about the album cover approach, using imagery from the
"I went and met my friend Pat Lazo at the Graffiti Gallery and told him I was going to do
my first Mural, and he just said 'keep it simple'. That helped in the design, so that
instead of loading it with 15 different album covers, I chose 6: Canned Wheat,
Wheatfield Soul, Goodbye Bannatyne Hello My Chevrier Home, Live at the Paramount,
American Woman, the Beaver Head logo. In researching, I found the Beaver holding a
gramophone (see photo 4) but John Einerson felt it was too obscure. Things get changed,
and it was replaced by the more familiar Beaver Head with the Maple Leaf. I saw back
stage passes and brochures for shows where the Beaver Head on the maple leaf was on
there. They actually had a rubber stamp of the Beaver Head on the Maple Leaf that they
stamped on things. It was fun working with John. John has a lot of connections in the
"The blue woman is from American Woman- she's behind the guys' overlaid faces. We
didn't have clearance to use any likenesses of the Guess Who members themselves, so I
pulled out the blue blonde-haired woman and used her instead. I enjoyed that- pulling
her face out: it was challenging and it was fun. There was some concern expressed that
people wouldn't recognize this enough as being American Woman; and we didn't want to
have an American flag to help do this because the Guess Who are proudly Canadian. But
from that discussion we did come up with the idea of having a border around the Mural,
and then putting the words 'American Woman' in the border above the blue faced
woman; which would also open up the possibility of using other song titles, album cover
names, etcetera. But the reality is there is a 220 volt high amperage power line running
along the top of the building, so we didn't do that. But having the border there is nice,
"The other album cover I've not mentioned yet is It's Time (at right in the Mural), which was their first as The
Guess Who. Someone told me that tree was one of the old monkey
trees in Kildonan Park that they are standing in, but I'm not sure if it's true. They're in
the tree in their exact poses as on the album cover. They're in silhouette though, unlike
the album cover, because we did not have clearance to show any of their faces. I like the
silhouettes- I think they worked really well."
"I really like the Guess Who logo. It was taken from a 1970's backstage pass- it was a
denim blue just like that. At a planning meeting we came up with the final design,
editing out the Beaver with the gramophone and replacing ' Share the Land' with the
Canadian Flag Beaver Head, and adding 'Bannatyne'. I like the Maple Leaf in there.
Canada is the only country that has a floral, nature image as its main motif rather than
colour bands or coats of arms- the only country that shows nature!"
"The horizontal banding of colour is from Wheatfield Soul. The Live at The Paramount
buildings are springing out at you from the horizon."
"The start of painting was delayed. June was very rainy. I wanted to start earlier, but
coordinating things and getting people together is hard. My students had to wait until
classes were over before they could donate time to me. I was out there a few days before
them prepping the wall and laying down grid lines and getting things ready for them.
The girls were able to start the last 2 weeks of the school year, and then for 3 weeks after
that. We painted 3 or 4 days per week for the last 3 weeks- we pulled some long shifts at
the wall. It's a south facing wall and it was very hot. We drank lots of water. I got a
"We used a dozen or more colours, but we didn't blend or mix any other colours. I paint
in a field painting style. I really like the way the 57 Chevy came out. I think what really
makes it look good is the front bumper, and getting that chrome like appearance. The car
is a real focal point."
"The girls had a great work ethic! They're good people- they know how to look at
something and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. Once they've done
that they then go back and think OK what needs to be changed, how can we change it and
make it better. They showed great perseverance and focus in making it right until the job
is done. I'm very happy with their work on the Canned Wheat cans. Although we did
use a grid, in some places the girls drew things totally by hand and by sight. On the
Canned Wheat section, one of the stars (the farthest on the right) says 'by Garnet' which
is a reference to Garnet Gillies, inventor of the Garnet amp and other electronics that was
largely responsible for their sound. He recently passed away, so we put that in there to
"For safety reasons, I did most of the work at the top. But the girls did do some, and
would use the scaffolding, and move it around as they needed to. On the windier days
they didn't. But working outside is a great way to connect with the students. You learn a
lot about people when you are outside of the school's aura, and you get to see another
side of one another off the school property outside of the student and teacher roles. I
believe outdoor education is an important part of a kid's overall education."
"The license plate says '100' because it's was the 100th anniversary of Winnipeg at that
time. In the late 60's was also Canada's 100th, Manitoba's 100th. The 100th anniversary
of St. John's High school is only 3 years away. The 57 Chevy does not say 'Chevrolet'
but rather 'Chevrier', again in tribute to the album."
"I'm so pleased with the way the Mural turned out. It was a great adventure. I had fun. It
was an honour to do that Mural."