1 Cole Avenue
Establishing shot of this beautiful pictorial representation of the history of Alsip's.
Location: West End of Cole at CPR tracks; North Face; visible from Nairn overpass
Occupant: Alsip's Industrial Products Ltd.
District: East Kildonan
Artist(s): Jill Sellers (Jill Sellers Design)
Wayne Alsip (President, Alsip's): "We were having a graffiti problem on this wall. It's a
big white wall by the railway tracks that would often get tagged. I'll bet that we repainted
over tags at least 25 to 30 times. This happened at all times of the year even when it was
20 below out there. Finally someone suggested to me that if you get a Mural up there
they will respect the art and won't touch it anymore."
"We hired someone to put up all new plywood on this old wall. Then my son talked to a
friend of his who knew of Jill Sellers and her work. We were impressed with her
portfolio; and we liked what she suggested after showing her a bunch of stuff. She came
back with sketches, which were great, and away we went! Once we realized the scope of
this project, we added sheets of aluminum siding over top of the plywood to make for a more durable surface in the interest
of ensuring longevity of the Mural that would be going up there. And after Jill was finished her work, we applied a
graffiti coating to the wall."
"The other real reason for doing this was to demarcate our 100th year of incorporation as
a company (as of November 22, 2005), all at this location. That is five generations in our
family: I'm the fourth generation and my sons will be the fifth generation. I've been able
to trace the company back as far as 1895. My great grandfather came up here from
Chicago and was puttering around on this property. He started a brick plant here. His
two sons came up to run it and he went back to Chicago and they stayed! There were
over a hundred men working in the plant; so we employed a lot of people and they all
lived close by. And back then we were in the coal business as well. We had a store
down on Portage Avenue right across from the University of Winnipeg. The store was
also called Alsip's; and our original company name was Alsip's Brick Tile and Lumber
Ltd. We got out of lumber in 1960."
"We did manufacture bricks originally at this site. Right now we are distributors of brick,
brick products and masonry we also have an industrial insulation business and have
branched out to offer other types of industrial products."
"We provided Jill with various pictures and brochures about Alsip's, along with some idea
of what we wanted the Mural to do. Some of these photos were given to me by a lady in
the neighbourhood whose brother was an employee long ago. The first two panels at the
left (Photo 2) are from photographs of men who worked for us many years ago. They
used the brick cart, similar to a wheelbarrow. These carts were designed especially to
haul bricks. I wanted some of the history of the company through time, and Jill brought
that into play very nicely in her design."
"We were in the lumber business back then, and this (Photo 4) was a big lumber shed. It
had a high roof on it. The original Alsip logo was right on the brick (as shown in photo
1) and also on the side of the delivery trucks (Photo 5) and my dad redesigned it (as
shown in Photo 4)."