The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Mural of the Year
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538 Ellice Avenue    Location Map

'Bill Norrie: Legacy of Leadership'

Location: SW corner Ellice & Langside; East Face

Occupant: Ellice Coin Laundromat

District: West End

Neighbourhood: Spence

Artist(s): Michel Saint Hilaire, Mandy van Leeuwen

Year: 2013

Sponsors: West End BIZ, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Foundation, Harvey Smith (City Councillor), Winnipeg Realtors, North Portage Development Corporation, Mayor Sam Katz



The West End BIZ has supplied the following commentary:

Created in tribute to the Late Bill Norrie, the Mural is an original, dynamic collaboration with Artists Michel Saint Hilaire and Many van Leeuwen. Bill Norrie grew up in Winnipeg's West End, attending Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and United College (University of Winnipeg). He went on to the University of Manitoba and was awarded a Rhoades Scholarship. Bill Norrie served as Mayor of Winnipeg from 1979 to 1992 and was considered a key leader in a number of important Winnipeg initiatives. He was actively involved in many organizations, often sought out for his leadership, knowledge and support.

The Mural is well suited with the community and has a true relationship with the passers- by. Through the Mural's grand stance and brick texture, diversity, and inspired messages, a story of one man and a great city unfolds into a puzzle-like manner. The Mural image aims to celebrate many of the milestones of Bill Norrie's professional life. Through the layers in the hand painted creation, viewers are brought into a thoughtful moment in the office of Bill Norrie. He poses sitting at his desk gazing towards a whimsical ball of energy, symbolizing the piecing together of new ideas. Books, photographs, awards and objects that symbolize many of his lifetime achievements adorn the shelves. Seen among the images are: aframed award of Order of Canada, a statue of a panda bear, Leo Mol's Tom Lamb sculpture, an ornamental Rhodes Trust Scholarship, book ends of the legislative building, a snow globe with the Golden Boy, a vintage photo of Winnipeg Forks, a globe and an array of diverse books. A golden pen inscribed 'Office of the Mayor' sits on the desk. Through the shelving lays a vast Manitoba landscape. A framed photo of his wife Helen Norrie (Photos 4 & 5), photos of his childhood home on Banning Street, and the family summer cottage at Lake of the Woods share some of his personal life.

A selction of comments from the Mural of tbe Year Judges:

"l thought that it had good artistic merit and it was very well drawn."

The artists captured so many things that Bill Norrie did to make this city a better place. Where better can he be celebrated ....but on a Mural for everyone to see! "

"I have a soft spot for communities paying tribute to those who came before. This is a wonderful retrospective of the Rhodes Scholar, politician and West-Ender Bill Norrie. A nice touch was the tribute paid to his beloved wife, Helen."

"The detail that went into the bookcase that is the background for the Mural is incredible."

"Bill Norrie was a great part of Winnipeg & this Mural captures what he was all about."

"For me, there was no competition. This Mural caught my eye right away and the others just didn't compare. The comment/description is interesting as I am not originally from here and would not have known Mr. Norrie."

"This Mural is beautifully painted and shows a high calibre of artistic talent. The likeness to the subjects such as Mrs. Norrie and the Leo Mol statue are very good. The Mural fills the wall of the building so it stands out and would grab the attention of passersby. Figuring out or learning about the meaning behind all the items on the bookshelf adds interest."

"The way Mandy and Michel were able to bring the story of William Norrie to life was great, especially when complemented with the narrative. I appreciated the explanation of the various elements included in the background which covered the major accomplishments of Mr. Norrie's life. This gave me a better appreciation of the story the Mural is telling. And, then, the love story... Ali and Ryan move over..!"

"My vote is for the Bill Norrie Mural, hands down! I enjoy it every time I pass it, and often notice something new in it."

"l thought that it had good artistic merit and it was very well drawn."