581 Portage Avenue
'Remembering the Roller Rink'
Location: NE corner Portage & Langside; West Face
Occupant: West End BIZ
District: West End
Artist(s): Annie Bergen, Marcus Bauer, Ursula Neufeld (Ursula Neufeld Mosaics)
Sponsors: West End BIZ, University of Winnipeg
Remembering the Roller Rink pays tribute to the former Winnipeg Roller Rink which since the 1930s
stood at the corner of Portage and Langside (across the street from the BIZ office) until 2007. It saw upwards of 1,500 skaters using the rink at one
time, during its peak in popularity, including dance skating groups and trick skaters. The piece was painted by artists Annie Bergen and Marcus Bauer,
with mosaic artist Ursula Neufeld, who
created the very unique mirrored mosaic disco ball.
The aging building was torn down in 2007, but its wooden floor boards were preserved and
incorporated into the new University of Winnipeg Richardson College for the Environment
and Science Complex, which now stands on the rink's former site. The roller rink building started as a livery
stable, then served as an ice skating rink, followed by a storage facility, before becoming a yearround
roller skating rink, believed to be the largest in Canada. At times the rink saw upwards of
1,150 skaters at a time packed into the building. Its popularity drew people from all over
Manitoba and roller skating clubs would regularly meet there for dance skating, trick skating and
lessons. The rink became a favourite place for all ages and a Winnipeg icon.
This mural depicts an interior look of the roller rink, capturing the fun and energy of the skating
experience. The popular disco ball is incorporated into the mural using real glass and dance
skaters actually stand out from the wall itself.
Source: West End BIZ
Annie Bergen: "This mural began when the West End BIZ, working alongside University of Winnipeg's new Environment + Science
Complex determined that a mural should be made honoring the Winnipeg Roller Rink (also called Galaxy Skateland).
I worked with Andre, a former owner of the Roller Rink, who supplied me with paraphernalia of the roller rink in its day.
It was such a vibrant, exciting place. It made me wish I had gotten to experience this fun subculture!"
"Because I had never been in the Roller Rink, I had to work from photos and from people's memories.
I did my best to pay credence to the scale and atmosphere of the space. Marcus painted it with me,
and Ursula Neufeld made the disco ball out of cut mirror and a giant, carved Styrofoam ball.
My partner Lee Holleron helped with installation."