The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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132 Lusted Avenue    Location Map
  

The artwork for this Mural was completed in July of 2008; but it was not able to be installed on the school building until August of 2009.


Location: NE corner Lusted & Euclid, West Face

Occupant: Norquay Elementary School

District: North End

Neighbourhood: North Point Douglas

Artist(s): Tim & Connie Friesen (AVEC Arts), Norquay School Students, North Point Douglas Children (unsigned)

Year: 2009

Sponsors: Manitoba Arts Council, Graffiti Art Programming, Avec Arts (Tim & Connie Friesen)

 

Tim and Connie's terrific video capturing this community Mural Project as it unfolded may be viewed here.

Connie Friesen: "In brainstorming for this mural, we met with Steve Wilson (Executive Director, GAP) and Rob Galston. Rob is a devotee of Point Douglas history. Our first group was Eagle Wing Day Care. They did a lot of the underpainting for the mural. Right after that we had our first group of CSI kids, who also did some priming. On the second day we started panting. We did the Red River and the sky first, because that is a good save place to jump in. As the kids became more proficient, we moved on to other elements of the mural. We also had kids from the Norquay Community Centre come out and help."

A Walkthrough of the Mural:-

Tim Friesen: "At the left end, the meeting of the Selkirk Settlers and Chief Peguis is represented by Chief Peguis himself. In the last decade of the 1700's Chief Peguis and his people moved here from Sault Ste. Marie area to this Point Douglas area. He was Ojibway and Saulteaux. He and his people were here when the Selkirk Settlers arrived in 1812 and was a great help to them. Without his help the settlers would not have survived. In 1813, the Selkirk settlers planted the very first wheat crop here in Manitoba, right in Point Douglas, including the area now known as Joe Zuken Park. There are different wheat motifs throughout the Mural."

Connie: "Between Peguis and Lord Selkirk at the top is a wigwam and teepee. The teepee is the more noticeable of the 2; it's in the foreground. A Woodlands Indian would not live in a teepee but rather a wigwam; and our research told us that Peguis would have lived in a wigwam- at least based on where he came from. Prairies Indians used teepees (eg., Crow, Cree), so to be on the safe side, we've included both."

Tim: "Lord Selkirk's given name was Thomas Douglas. He acquired the land and it was his vision to form an agricultural settlement here."

Connie: "Next, Barber House is made of large oak logs. It's presumed the logs were floated down the Red River (as depicted in the Mural) from points further south, as oak logs are not local timber. Barber was an entrepreneur who was born in Connecticut who came here to avoid getting involved in the American Civil War. He was actually not very successful here in making his fortune, although most of his friends here were. He was in real estate. He named several of the streets- he named Logan after his wife's maiden name, and Stella after an old girlfriend. He died in 1909 and his daughter continued to live in the house until 1959."

Tim: "To the right of Barber House is St. Andrews Ukrainian Catholic Church which is in close proximity to Barber House and is there representative of all the churches in the area. The Vulcan Iron Works is also there- the red brick building. The 'Union Now' placard is also there as a reminder of the origin of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The silhouettes are immigrants."

Connie: "Above them you'll see the top portion of the former Canadian Pacific Railway station, which is now the Aboriginal Studies Centre. I have purposely blurred those letters so that viewers can make the transition between past and present The CPR was pivotal in changing not only the Point Douglas neighbourhood but the arrival of all the waves of immigrants to Manitoba and the prairies."

Tim: "James S. Woodsworth is next. He was a Methodist minister who went to seminary in Brandon, Manitoba. After that he came to the Point Douglas neighbourhood. He started the All People's Mission; and then he went on to become a prominent figure in the social justice issues of the day, and was editor of the strikers' newspaper. He came to become the creator of the Co-operative Confederation Federation (CCF) Party, which was a forerunner to today's NDP party."

Connie: "Next to him is a depiction of the Foreigner's Quarters- these were boarding houses in the neighbourhood where for new arrivals it would become their initial housing upon arrival to Winnipeg. Below it is a Mother and a Child. This symbol is as relevant and important today as it was back then: to stabilize the women is to stabilize the community. The building that the Women's centre is now in, several years ago was notorious for selling solvents. This building was then acquired and became a women's centre which was itself made a huge difference. The Mother and Child is imagery of this- the stability."

Tim: "There's a boat on the Red River, because this Mural is about travel. In this part, the river looks angry and violent. There were devastating floods. In the 1950 Flood alone 450 houses in the Point Douglas area were destroyed. There are 3 buildings depicted there: Fort Douglas with the flag is taken from a sketch done during the time of the Selkirk Settlers. The white building is a peculiar structure that is still standing only a half a block or so from the school. It was a stable now it is a garage. It was built on a trapezoidal plot of land, so the building itself was trapezoidal rather than with all corners being 90 degrees. Next to that is the Fire Station on Martha Street, built in 1909."

"Next to that is Tommy Douglas. He was born in Scotland- his family moved to Winnipeg. His father worked at the Vulcan Iron Works. We don't know if there is any connection between him and Thomas Douglas (Lord Selkirk), but their history is oddly similar, both having a connection with Point Douglas. Tommy lived there until the flu epidemic of 1918- his father sent his mother and children back to Scotland until the epidemic was over. This is probably why he became so interested and concerned about heath care in this country, and was to become the founder of Medicare in Canada."

"The man in the shadows is Sir William Stephenson- the Man named Intrepid. He went to Argyle School. He became an air force pilot on a Sopwith Camel fighter biplane, with 12 successful missions, including one against the younger brother of the famed Red Baron. He married an American tobacco heiress. In England he became a wealthy industrialist, and started acquiring and supplying intelligence to Winston Churchill, who was at that time an opposition MP. This information gave Churchill the means to counter Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policies. Churchill dispatched Stephenson to New York City to develop an auxiliary spy network. He also ran a Spy School in Southern Ontario. Of the graduates, 5 of them went to work for the CIA. One of them, Ian Fleming, based his James Bond character on Stephenson."

"Next to Stephenson are two incarnations of Norquay School. The one in the background that you can only see the top of is the one that burned down in 1990- the only artifact saved from that fire was the a little school handbell. The building next to it is an earlier incarnation of the school."

Connie: "The sash in front is the Metis sash. The school has a logo of an eagle's arching wings protecting a hatching egg. There is a trio of people there: an older white man is mentoring two younger people and they're looking to the future. There are hard hats on their heads because the future is under construction. You also see those ripples by the young boy- in life you may make a ripple which is just a small thing, but it'll grow and grow and reach out and touch other people. His actions will affect other people. The last figure is Norquay himself, who was the first Metis premier of Manitoba."