The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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1901 Main Street    Location Map
  

'Home Sweet Home'


Location: NE corner Main & Royal; South Face

Occupant: Kay Four Properties

District: West Kildonan

Neighbourhood: Seven Oaks

Artist(s): Mandy van Leeuwen, Franklin Fernando

Year: 2019

Sponsors: Herc Rentals, Dulux Paints, Take Pride Winnipeg!

Painters: Assisted by Jennifer Mosienko and Michel St. Hilaire

 

Overview by Mandy van Leeuwen: Through the art of positive transformation, a new Mural has been created through a meaningful collaboration with Kay Four Properties and Mural Artist Mandy van Leeuwen. This thoughtful creation is a '70s themed giant still life that celebrates an iconic reflection of Winnipeg, community and culture.

Through the vision of this project many symbolic items are presented as personal memories and key aspects resembling a past time for the company owner Sam Katz. A long row of house keys is a welcoming symbol to the many residents at Kay Four Properties- noting that the open spaces are open for newcomers. Cars, photos and objects also reflect nostalgic moments among the design elements. Creative contributions to the project include a calendar featuring a photo by Winnipeg's own John Paskievich, and a photo of Salisbury House Main and Matheson Street location photographed by Bryan Scott. Featured display items include a Folklorama passport, a Guess Who mix tape, The Golden Boy, The Hudson's Bay Co. and The Countess of Dufferin. A family portrait of Sam's family-run grocery shop is among others celebrated in the scene.

The 1700 square foot Mural also features the building's former company - a Chrysler dealership in a retro photo of Joe Rewucki handing over the keys of a new Dodge truck. If you owned a Plymouth Cuda in Winnipeg in the '70s, it would have come right from here.

Detailed remarks from the Company:

According to many popular philosophers and economists there are three things that are most important to people, food, shelter and clothing. Kay Four Properties Inc. has been providing shelter in the form of safe and affordable apartment rentals for more than 60 years. The company itself started with a different name in the 1950's as a builder and developer and by the 1970's we became a rental agency. We are in the third generation of family running it.

Our Mural celebrates Winnipeg and rents through one of the formative decades of our company's history- the 1970's. As noted above, we started to build and hold apartment buildings in the 1970's. It is also the company's external accountant, when much of our apartment stock was built, and when the president got married and had his children.

(Mural Elements Walkthrough begins) The Mural gives a nod to the people and places that make our city, our office, and our company so special. We partnered with renowned Mural artist Mandy Van Leeuwen to create this unique and vivid Mural which centers around the wall of an apartment in the year 1970. What might our renter have had on their walls in 1970?

In the centre of our wall is a key holding rack with a shelf. The keys are the most important element in our Mural which is why they are central. They represent our clients, the renters. Our renters each have their own unique Winnipeg and Manitoba story and often they are as unique as the key on the chain. The icons on the wall and the shelf celebrate the memories cherished by our renter while the keys celebrate where that renter may have first come from.

There are ten sets of keys on the wall, many of which are on key chains with an element celebrating the heritage of our renters and indeed of many of our staff. There is room for more sets of keys and some keys do not yet celebrate an identity. We may, in future years, add more keys to this story because we may find more backgrounds to celebrate.

- Taj Mahal - This renter who may from India proudly has a keychain featuring the Taj Mahal.
- Dream Catcher - We recognize that we are all treaty people- our tenant may be aboriginal but even if the renter is not aboriginal we felt it important to recognize our relationship with our first nations through this keychain.
- Nesting Dolls - Our renter may hail from East Europe. Many East European nations appreciate nesting dolls so this would remind them of the old country.
- Pakistani Slipper - Perhaps the renter hails from Pakistan and has a colourful slipper to remind them of home.
- Map of Africa - This map of Africa comprised of beads in the colours found in the flags of the nations of Africa could easily be found on our renter's keys.
- Teddy Bear - RCMP Uniform - What is more iconic to many than the RCMP; and our renter has a playful side so they got a keychain with a stuffed bear.
- Jeepney - With Winnipeg's Filipino population of more than 77,000 it is quite possible that our renter hails from the Philippines. The Jeepney is a very famous vehicle in that country and the only Jeepney in North America resides in Winnipeg.
- Portuguese Rooster - If our renter was from west Europe they could have fond memories of Portugal's famous rooster.
So why does the renter have the many different photos and items on the wall. Starting from the Main Street side of the wall and working back we find:
- Our logo and address. This of course helps our renter find out our office. Our logo features the sun rising over apartments.
- The Canadian Flag. This renter is proud to be living in what they believe is the best country in the world.
- Our renter is proud to be living in their Home Sweet Home and found a poster featuring a night time view, likely featuring a photograph one of Winnipeg's parks.
- A photo of hard working immigrants in their corner store. This is a real photograph of the store run by his parents, Haim and Manya Katz, along with Sam's uncle Raber, his father's partner, when they came to Winnipeg after the second world war. This photo was taken around 1970 in that store, located in north east Winnipeg, celebrates his family and the families of so many hard working immigrants to Canada; people making a better life for their children and for all of Canada.
- The Golden Boy - that famous icon of Manitoba which speaks of the future prosperity of our province and all that live here.
- A 1962 Cadillac convertible. Our company had its start with other new immigrants, Sam Chwaiewsky and his sons, Al and Amos. One of Sam's first and fondest memories around this industry is when his sister's then boyfriend, Al Chwaiewsky, picked him up in this car and drove him to the construction site of one of the buildings that they were constructing, 66 Morrow. That building was sold in the 1960's but it came back to us almost 20 years ago when we were asked to manage it for the family that bought it from us more than 50 years ago.
- The Hudson's Bay Downtown - We know that Manitoba was built on the back of the fur traders, many of whom worked for the Hudsons Bay Company, the world's oldest operating company. This building, and icon to Winnipeg celebrates our province's history and shows that hard work can lead to long term success.
- A Folklorama Passport - There are so many reasons to include this iconic image of Winnipeg. The main reason we include it is that this festival started fifty years ago, in 1970, the year we set this Mural in. Folklorama celebrates the heritage of many immigrant communities, and as you saw from the keys, they are also a key to our success. Also, many of our staff and our renters have been involved as volunteers for Folklorama for decades.
- The Countess of Dufferin - the first locomotive steam locomotive in western Canada, this iconic train still resides in Winnipeg. Much of our mural revolves around transportation. Having such an icon from our history was important.
- A Bottle of Sun Crest soda - this Manitoba bottled soda had a bottle that our tenant could not help but keep in their suite.
- A Cassette tape - we are not sure but we believe that this renter has a mixed tape of Guess Who and BTO songs on the shelf. After all what else would a Winnipegger in 1970 listen to?
- A Plymouth Cuda - our building, as you will see from the final image, was originally the Eastern Chrysler dealership. This Plymouth muscle car was indicative of what every young man wanted to own in the 1970's and would have been sold from our building. As it happens this image appears right on the garage door that the car may very well have come into for oil changes back in 1970.
- Salisbury House - The little red roof restaurant, unique to Winnipeg , is where our company President and many of his key staff spent a lot of their youth. In fact he brought his girlfriend, now wife, to this Sals location on Main and McAdam, and his children and other company Vice President used to walk to it from their school for lunch or coffee. It is truly a Winnipeg icon. A photo recreation of Winnipeg's Bryan Scott.
- Boys on the Street - on the 1970 calendar which is hanging on our renter's wall is an iconic photo that is part of a wonderful book of North End Winnipeg photos by John Paskievich. Mr. Paskievich generously allowed us to reproduce this photo of the type of playfulness that was typical of north end boys and many of our employees grew up in this part of town.
- Last but certainly not least is a photo of Joe Rewucki handing over the keys to a brand new Dodge truck right in front of this very wall. This again celebrates North Winnipeg but more importantly the heritage of our office building. We would not be in this building had Mr. Rewucki not built it all those years ago.