I was walking to the West End Cultural Centre on Sunday night and went past this mural. Unveiled in September of 2013 it pays tribute to Winnipeg mayor Bill Norrie who died in July of 2012. Bill Norrie grew up not too far from its location at the corner of Ellice and Langside.
Bill’s wife Helen Norrie, whose photo is displayed prominently in the mural, said at the mural’s unveiling that she appreciated the way it pictured so many of the things her husband was passionate about and interested in. For example the mural includes a sculpture of Tom Lamb by Winnipeg artist Leo Mol. Norrie officially opened Mol’s sculpture garden in Assiniboine Park during his last year in office. There is also a panda, since Bill Norrie helped to bring the pandas to Winnipeg.
The mural was painted by local artists Michel Saint Hilaire and Mandy van Leeuwen and shows the former mayor sitting at his desk surrounded by items that were meaningful to him. The artists have even included a likeness of Bill Norrie’s childhood home on Banning Street.
Bill Norrie was the mayor of Winnipeg from 1979-1992 and at the mural’s unveiling current mayor Sam Katz characterized him as a kind and gentle man who loved his community. University of Winnipeg president Dr. Lloyd Axworthy also paid tribute to Norrie saying, “he never forgot his roots.”
Helen Norrie observed, “Bill loved Winnipeg and this mural shows that.”
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