The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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563 Ellice Avenue    Location Map

Icelandic themed Mural. This is the original rendering in 1999.

Location: NE corner Ellice & Furby; West Face

Occupant: I-CAN; Core Labour Opportunities

District: West End

Neighbourhood: Spence

Artist(s): Dave Carty

Year: 1999

Sponsors: West End BIZ


Dave Carty: "This illustration of Icelandic culture reads from left to right. I have treated this from historic and cultural perspectives."

"The initial elements, the Viking ships, show the arrival of the first inhabitants and the type of craft that was used to sail to Iceland. Care has been taken not to depict the early settlers of Iceland as warring Vikings but as the explorers looking for the other lands to inhabit: this in part to defray the stereotypical perception that all Vikings were warlike. The landscape behind the ships is Icelandic, barren and hilly. To the right is an elderly seaman. A man worn with age and hard work at the sea but giving evidence of the true pride of an Icelander. Below the old sailor is a boy dressed in modern working apparel for his trade, the mainstay of the Icelandic economy - fishing."

"Icelandic ponies gather on a hillside. Their almost mythical manes are recognizable as that of Icelandic steeds. Geological forces of Iceland which gave the country its origins are constantly at play, reshaping the land. Sometimes they create great hardship; other times opportunity. The geyser in eruption is throwing up a vast column of boiling water. Above these geological phenomena is the city of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. A fierce bronze Viking holds watch over the city. Reykjavik obtains all its power and heat from the hot water vents, such as the one illustrated. These are found throughout the entire country. A violent volcano has erupted making some new lands, destroying other lands. This has been and still is an ongoing force that has shaped the geology and topography of this island nation."

"The title page of a book on early Icelandic Christianity enshrines the SAGA (displayed in the centre of the geyser) and tells a brief story or SAGA of Icelanders in their country and after they immigrated to Canada. The Icelanders have always embraced the SAGA in their culture and as a form of their literature. Icelanders are the most literate people in the World being well published globally. This also depicts more of the decorative Icelandic excellence."

"At this point a map illustrates the top of the world showing the origins of Icelanders. They stemmed originally from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and areas of present day Great Britain and Ireland. The map also shows North America, which the Vikings discovered in the 9th century AD. Later, part of North America became home to many of these venturing peoples in a place they called New Iceland. Below the map is an original scene of that place, a reserve of land on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg given to the Icelanders by the Canadian government when immigrating to Canada. The men are fishing on Lake Winnipeg, a profession which has been handed down through the generations in the old country and this, the new. A Winnipeg cityscape and rural landscape symbolize the later movement of these peoples to the city and other rural locals."

"The Icelandic Canadians to this day maintain their culture and heritage. The woman in the sky above New Iceland is a chosen queen, (Fjallkonan) for the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba held each year in the town of Gimli. The culture and traditions of the Icelandic peoples are a strong and thriving force in evidence every year at Gimli, Manitoba."

"The Mural recognizes the achievements of Charlie Thorson, depicted through a self portrait with some of the characters in the foreground. He was a Winnipeg native and second generation Icelander who was a pioneer in the field of animation. His most famous international character being Bugs Bunny, and Pumkinhead, who was a feature of Eaton's of Canada."