The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Mural of the Year
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764 Erin Street    Location Map

'Viking Spirit'.
130' x 24'
Photos 1-9: Finished Mural
Photo 1 & 2: Leif Norman Photos appear Courtesy of Scandinavian Cultural Centre
Photos 10-16: In Progress shots.

Location: W side bet. Wolever and St. Matthews; North & East Face

Occupant: Scandinavian Cultural Centre

District: West End

Neighbourhood: Minto

Artist(s): Charlie Johnston (C5 Artworks)

Year: 2021

Sponsors: Winnipeg Foundation, Thomas Sill Foundation, Province of Manitoba Department of Sport, Culture & Heritage, Take Pride Winnipeg!, West End BIZ


Mural of the Year 2021   

The Scandinavian Cultural Centre has produced a fabulous brochure on this Mural which maps out a complete, descriptive and comprehensive walkthrough of the entire Mural! Click here to view it.

Click here for Katlyn Streilein's piece for the Canstar Metro.

Click here for CTV's coverage of this Mural.

Click here for Unveiling Highlights Saturday September 11, 2021.

Click here for U-Multicultural coverage of the completed Mural.


Click here for print coverage by CTV's Danton Unger.

Click >here for Danton Unger's aired segment including bumper.

Click here for Ryan Funk's terrific piece for U Multicultural.

Click here for CTV's Joseph Bernacki's interview with Charlie Johnston.

Click here to view the Community Review West blurb.

Click here to view Martha Helgerson's excellent write-up on Mural of the Year in the Viking Times.

Charlie Johnston: "Part of what I do as a Muralist is to provide voice to a community and in this case it was for five different countries simultaneously. That was an interesting challenge. There's so much content for five different cultural communities; far more than could fit on a single Mural. So what I did instead was I chose to focus on the people than anything else; so that the people from each culture were represented in the Mural. One metaphor that was very meaningful was the story of the five swans as a metaphor of the five cultures of the Scandinavian community all coming together. So in a way it's a loose narrative about the migration of Scandinavian culture to North America, to Canada, and ultimately to Winnipeg."

"Right from the beginning colour selection is pretty key in Mural work. I chose a colour for the whole building to change the tone and vibe- to update the whole feel of the Centre. Ironically the name of the paint colour is Scanda. I thought that was pretty appropriate. It's a beautiful sophisticated cool blue. Everything in the Mural emerges from that base colour. I did a lot of prep work on the wall. We smoothed the brick over to give it a good surface for all the detail work."

"The maypole running down the corner of the building was a key focal point of the Mural- to do something that celebrated culture at that corner; and the maypole was a natural choice- as a place where people come to celebrate the Midsommar festivities."

"There's a compositional slice on the front wall running diagonally. On the left of the diagonal is that dark winter night. The winter festival is all about the bringing of light back to the world."

"A lot of the key messaging for me in the Mural is about the syntax: about the way the elements combine- to celebrate the people, the portraits and te things I love to do, It had a lot of those loving elements like the ghosting of the Viking in front of the ship. When you start to see the way the pieces fit together- that's what's meaningful to me. It's about the way the different elements interweave with each other in the design; which really speaks to me about the way the five countries work together in one Centre."

"It was great working with the ladies on the Mural Committee at the Centre, They had a lot of spirit for the project. They were invested in it so I was really happy to do the work with them and for them."


In addition to the sponsors listed above, the following individuals and groups provided additional funding for the Mural:

Danish Canadian Club
Dawn Hjalmarson
Heikki Sairanen
Helle & Frank Wilson
Icelandic Canadian Fron
Lodge Strindberg #259
Neil Bardal Funeral Home- Funeral Director Erik Bardal
Norwegian Canadian Club
Scandia Fun Folk Dancers
Sharon Wickman
Signy Thorsteinson (via Centennial River Trail Contest)
Sonja Lundstrom
Sylvia Recreation Inc.
Swedish Cultural Association