Statues

Selkirk Settlers- Matching Canada and Scotland

What Next?

Selkirk Settlers by Gerald LaingSelkirk Settlers by Gerald Laing

This statue called Selkirk Settlers stands at the end of Bannatyne, the street where I live. I did a blog post about the statue and recently I received a message from a blog reader who told me that the very same sculpture stands in Helmsdale Scotland.  Helmsdale was the departure point for the Scots thrown off their land during the Highland clearances. Tenant Scottish crofters were evicted from their homes by the rich lairds so they could use the land for grazing sheep. Many of these exiled Scottish families ended up immigrating to Winnipeg. Michael was kind enough to send me a photo of the sculpture in Helmsdale.

Photo by Michael Forbes of the Selkirk Settlers sculpture in Helmsdale ScotlandPhoto by Michael Forbes of the Selkirk Settlers sculpture in Helmsdale Scotland

The sculpture in Scotland was created by artist Gerald Laing, the same artist that made the sculpture in Winnipeg. I found out that Laing is…

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Holocaust Memorial- A Broken Star

I was biking past the Manitoba Legislative Buildings and saw a monument I’d never noticed before. It was in the shape of a broken Star of David.holocaust memorial winnipeg legislatureTaking a closer look I discovered it was a monument built in remembrance of victims of the Holocaust. It was dedicated in 1990.  

holocaust memorial winnipeg legilature groundsThe walls were designed to reflect the sunlight since the monument was to be a sign of hope, rebirth and the rebuilding of lives. names on holocaust memorial winnipegThe names of the 3,700 victims, memorialized on the monument’s walls, all had surviving family members living in Manitoba. 

holocaust memorial in winnipegThe legislature of Manitoba was the first in Canada to provide a designated space for a Holocaust Memorial. Philip Weiss, an award-winning Winnipeg furniture maker and craftsman, led the campaign to have the memorial built. Weiss was a Holocaust survivor who was seized from his parents home in Poland by the Nazis when he was just 15 years old and sent to two different concentration camps. holocaust memorial winnipeg legislature groundsThe names of  various concentration camps are engraved at the base of the monument. 

monument to holocaust winnipegThe monument also includes a menorah and the words These we do remember and our hearts are grieved.  Some people had left memory candles in the space below the menorah. 

holocaust memorial winnipegI’ve learned that each year on Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Memorial Day there is a service of remembrance at this monument during which each name inscribed on it is read aloud. 

Other posts about the Holocaust………

Meeting a Holocaust Survivor in Hong Kong

Brundibar- More Than It Seems

Taking Teens to Israel and Palestine

Categories: Historical Events, Politics, Statues | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Louis Riel- Are Two Statues Better Than One?

louis rielLouis Riel’s important role in the history of our city and province is recognized in a new music video by Winnipeg’s own Royal Canoe featuring Exodus of the Year- my favorite song by the band. exodus of the year video royal canoeThe video shows Riel’s statue on Broadway Avenue, his statue in St. Boniface and his grave.

LRpb.tifRiel’s contributions have been recognized in many ways- in an opera, in a terrific graphic novel by Chester Brown, in the name of a Winnipeg school division, and in the February provincial holiday named after him. Two statues of Louis Riel in Winnipeg- one in St. Boniface and one on the Manitoba Legislature grounds reflect the two sides of the man who is widely known as the Father of Manitoba but was hanged as a traitor. louis riel st. boniface statueI’ve blogged about one of the Riel statues already and thought it was time to write about the other. So I stopped at 450 Broadway on a bicycle trip last week to snap some photos of the Riel statue there by artist Miguel Joyal.

louis riel statue broadway winnipegIn this statue Riel isn’t naked as he is in the St. Boniface one. louis riel boat tripHe is  dressed in a suit and vest and bowtie -although he is wearing moccasins and a sash in recognition of his Metis heritage. 

louis riel statue

He is holding the Manitoba Act in his hand which was based on a List of Rights Louis Riel wrote that included among many other things recognition of this area of Canada as a province by the federal government, the right to representatives in the House of Commons and Senate and the use of both French and English in all government communication. 

louis riel st. boniface collegeThe statue of Riel in St. Boniface (which by the way used to stand on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature) does a better job of showing the tortured soul Riel was in many ways, and what a price he paid for his political activism, exiled for years to the United States as a wanted criminal and struggling with mental illness. 

louis riel legislatureThe statue on Broadway shows him as the great statesman, forward thinker and founder of the province of Manitoba.  It is probably good that we have both statues in our city. 

Other posts about Louis Riel…..

A Graphic Louis Riel

A Controversial Statue

The Provencher Bridge

Could I Have Been A Grey Nun?

We’re Living in a Piece of History

The Street Where I Live

 The Park At the End of the Bridge

Categories: Downtown, Politics, St. Boniface, Statues | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Winnie the Pooh – A Winnipeg Namesake

Today I took my friend and former Hong Kong teaching colleague Rebekah to visit Assiniboine Park. We stopped to look at this statue of an army officer and a bear cub. The cub was the inspiration for the literary character Winnie the Pooh. I thought everyone knew that Winnie the Pooh had a connection to Winnipeg but Rebekah, who is from Minneapolis wasn’t sure she did; so I decided a blog post about it might be a good idea.

Harry Coleburn was born in England in 1887 and immigrated to Canada at age 18. After graduating as a veterinarian from a Ontario college he moved to Winnipeg. He joined the army during World War I and on his way to a training camp in Quebec he bought a bear cub. The train had made a stop at White River, Ontario and there Harry met a hunter who sold him a female bear cub for $20. The hunter had killed its mother. Harry named the bear Winnie after his adopted home city of Winnipeg. Harry was posted to England and took Winnie with him where she quickly became the mascot of Harry’s regiment, The Fort Garry Horse. Harry was the regiment’s veterinarian. When Harry was sent to France for three years he put Winnie in the London Zoo. 

When author A. A. Milne visited the London Zoo with his son Christopher, the young boy immediately fell in love with Winnie the bear cub and named his teddy bear after Winnie.  That teddy bear would become the main character in a series of stories his father would write about Winnie the Pooh. 

After the war Major Harry Coleburn decided to leave Winnie in the London Zoo and went back to Winnipeg where he practiced veterinary medicine till just a couple of years prior to his death in 1947.

A. A. Milne’s books about Winnie the Pooh became beloved pieces of children’s literature read around the world. Later Walt Disney turned the stories into a movie and television series.  


This statue just outside the Children’s Nature Playground at Assiniboine Park recognizes the connection between Winnipeg and the literary character Winnie the Pooh. A plaque nearby explains the story of Harry Coleburn. His impetuous decision to purchase a bear cub  and name it after Winnipeg had consequences that reached far beyond anything he might have imagined. 

Categories: Literature, Parks, Statues | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

The Famous Five

You are not persons” the Supreme Court of Canada told these five women in 1927 when they petitioned the court to determine whether as ‘persons’ they were eligible for appointment to Canada’s Senate. The court said they weren’t really people and therefore ineligible for Senate appointment. The  five women didn’t give up their fight and appealed to the British Privy Judicial Council who ruled they were indeed people. They are known as Canada’s Famous Five for their important contribution to women’s rights in Canada. 

Walking across the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature this summer I stopped to photograph this statue of the Famous Five created by Helen Granger Young and unveiled in June of 2010.  The five women are……….

Henrietta Muir Edwards who founded the Victorian Order of Nurses and set up a house in Montreal for single working women, a forerunner of the YWCA.  She was married to a doctor and had three children.

Emily Murphy was a bestselling author married to an Anglican minister and the mother of four daughters. She was the first female appointed as a magistrate in the British Empire. She was instrumental in having the Dower Act passed which ensured that upon the death of a man his widow was entitled to at least a third of his estate.

Irene Parlby sponsored the Minimum Wage Act for Women in 1925 and as the President of the United Farm Women of Alberta did much to improve health care for rural women and children. She was the second female cabinet minister in Canada. Married to a farmer and the mother of one son, Irene was the first woman given an honorary degree by the University of Alberta. 

Louise McKinney was an excellent debater and a member of the Alberta Legislature where she was instrumental in passing legislation to support people with disabilities, immigrants, widowed and single women. A teacher, she and her husband traveled together.

Nellie McClung is perhaps the most famous of the Famous Five because she played a key role in women getting the right to vote and run for public office in Manitoba in 1916. Manitoba was the first province to give women the vote in Canada. She was married to a pharmacist,had five children and was a best-selling novelist.

There are also statues of the Famous Five in Ottawa on Parliament Hill and when I visited there several years ago I posed with Emily Murphy. 

Here my daughter-in-law and her sister and I are between Irene Parlby and Nellie McClung who is holding up the newspaper with the headline Women are Persons. 

My husband and daughter-in-law sip tea with Henrietta Muir and Louise McKinney.

I’m glad to know there are statues of the Famous Five in Winnipeg and I don’t have to go all the way to Ottawa to see them.  Around the sculptures in Winnipeg is an enclosing circle of brick engraved with a quote from Nellie McClung. 

I want to leave something behind when I go; some small legacy of truth, some word that will shine in a dark place.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like these posts about other statues of famous people in Winnipeg…………..

What’s Ghandi Doing In Winnipeg

James Bond is From Winnipeg

John Hirsch Place

 

Categories: Downtown, Famous Citizens, Historical Events, Politics, Statues | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why No Golden Girl?

He’s looking pretty good but he needs a companion! Last week on one of my walks I snapped some photos of the Golden Boy statue which sits atop the Manitoba Legislative Building on Broadway.

I saw the statue up close and personal in 2002. The statue had been taken down because it needed to be repaired and regilded. It was put on display in the foyer of the Manitoba Museum, at that time still called The Museum of Man and Nature. Thousands of people came to look at the statue and have their picture taken with it. I was so close to the Golden Boy I could have touched it. It was definitely in need of a touch up since it had turned a sort of rusty green. It was covered with tags at the spots where repair work needed to take place.

The Golden Boy was created by Georges Gardet at a foundry in Paris. The foundry was destroyed by bombs during World War I, but the Golden Boy somehow emerged from the ruins unscathed. was rushed to a seaport and loaded onto a French vessel carrying wheat. The liner was quickly commandeered to transport military troops. For the next while, the Golden Boy cruised the dangerous war time ocean waters  in the ship’s hold. When the fighting was over in 1919 the statue was taken to Halifax and from there shipped to Winnipeg.

The Golden Boy was purchased along with the two huge bison figures at the base of the legislative building’s main stairway, for a bargain price of $11,000. Now the statue is insured for more than fifteen times that amount, and just over one million dollars was spent restoring it to its former glory in 2002.

The Golden Boy is actually a nickname for the statue who is officially called Eternal Youth. Apparently once placed in his high spot, the sun glinted off his bronze covering, creating a certain golden effect. Thus he earned the title Golden Boy. The torch in his right hand is supposed to represent a call to youth to join the pursuit of a more prosperous future for Manitoba.

It’s a lofty ideal, but I couldn’t help thinking as I viewed the statue, that the female half of our province’s population has been somewhat slighted. Young woman have just as important a contribution to make to Manitoba’s future as  young men do. Perhaps we need a Golden Girl to join the Golden Boy atop the Legislative Buildings. 

       You can read about another statue on the Manitoba Legislative grounds ………

The Famous Five

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A Controversial Statue

On Sunday afternoon Dave and I went for a walk in St. Boniface and saw this statue on the St. Boniface College campus. I recognized the statue right away since it had stood on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature for many years. I knew it had caused quite a stir when it was unveiled and that it had been removed from the legislature. I didn’t realize it had been relocated to St. Boniface College where Louis Riel was once a student. 

The statue really has two parts. The first part is the 12 foot high cement sculpture of Louis Riel, the Metis founder of Manitoba. It was created by retired firefighter and artist Marcien Lemay.The second part of the art piece are two 30 foot high half cylinder shells that bracket the sculpture and have Riel’s name and a quote from him etched into them. The shells were made by architect Etienne Gaboury a distant relative of Louis Riel’s. 

 Artist Lemay said Louis Riel was a controversial historical figure so he wanted to create a controversial statue. He made Louis Riel’s face contorted in anguish. His body is naked and twisted. He wanted to show Riel as a martyr who suffered for his people. It is true that Louis Riel was controverisal.He spent time in a mental institution. He had some very strange fanatical religious prophesies. The Canadian government labeled him a rebel and a murderer, sent him into exile and eventually hung him.

On the other hand he is officially recognized as the founder of Manitoba. He was an educated spokesperson for the Metis people and fought valiantly and eloquently for their property rights. He was elected to the Canadian Parliament three times and Manitoba has an annual public holiday in his honor.

 Louis Riel’s name is in big letters on the bracketing walls of the artwork and near their bottom is this quote……..”Yes I have done my duty. During my life I have aimed at practical results. I hope that after I die my spirit will bring practical results. I know that through the grace of God I am the founder of Manitoba.”

 The statue caused a great deal of controversy when it was unveiled in 1970. Some people thought it was ridiculous to spend $35,000 on a statue of someone who “was unbalanced mentally and who influenced and inflamed the Metis to go on the war path.” The Metis community said, “The statue is an insult to Louis Riel and the Metis people. It is horrible- him standing there stark naked looking leery, when throughout his life and even at his execution he carried himself like a statesman.”

The statue stood at the legislature for 24 years and was attacked by vandals on many occasions. They spray painted and defaced the statue and at one point even cut off Riel’s penis.

 Finally in 1994 the statue was taken down at the Legislative grounds and a new one was put up in its place. Lemay and Gaboury’s statue was moved to St. Boniface College where it was unveiled in 1996.


If you enjoyed this blog post you might also like…………

A Graphic Louis Riel

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Mr. Eaton

This statue of Timothy Eaton is in the concourse of the MTS Centre where the Winnipeg Jets play hockey. I remember this statue well. Years ago it was located on the main floor in the old Eaton’s Store which stood on the very same spot where the MTS Centre is now. When my family came into Winnipeg from Steinbach to shop, we would often argree to rendezvous at a certain time at Mr. Eaton’s statue. The Eaton’s store went bankrupt in 1999 and eventually arrangements were made to declare the statue a part of Manitoba’s provincial history and preserve it in the MTS Centre.
Timothy Eaton came to Canada from Ireland and built a retail empire with large department stores both in Toronto and Winnipeg. Mr. Eaton also had a nation wide mail order business. I remember how excited I was as a little girl when the Eatons’ catalogue came out, especially the Christmas edition. We looked through it so many times picking out the things we dreamed about getting for Christmas. My mother remembers longing for an Eaton’s Beauty Doll for Christmas, a special line of dolls produced each year by Eatons. 

This statue was a gift to the Eaton family from the Eatons’ employees. It was presented to Timothy Eaton’s widow Margaret and his son John in 1919 on the occasion of the store’s 50th anniversary. The employees wanted to show their gratitude for the company’s generosity during World War I. All Eatons’ employees who enlisted in the army were promised their jobs back after the war. Married employees received their full Eaton’s salary during the war, and single men half their salary. Eaton’s sent their military employees care packages of chocolate, coffee, socks and other store products during the war. The company had many lucrative government contracts because of the war but donated all their profits from these contracts to the war effort. Apparently Mr. Eaton was also one of the first to close his business at 1 pm. on Saturday, instead of 6 pm. to give workers more time off. 

The 3,500 pound statue was made by Ivor Lewis, a Welshman who worked in the Eaton’s advertising department. It was officially unveiled on December 8,1919. The Eaton’s Choral Society sang O Canada.  John Eaton, Timothy’s son,  had a cold so his wife Flora read his speech in which he thanked the employees for their kind gift. A replica was placed in the Eaton’s Store in Toronto. It is now in the Royal Ontario Museum. 

This photo shows John and Margaret Eaton arriving at the store for the anniversary celebrationsAlthough I am sure many Eaton’s workers did appreciate their employer enough to donate money for a massive statue, I am also a little skeptical about the whole thing, because I know that during the Winnipeg Labor Strike in June of 1919, just six months before the presentation of the statue, Eatons tried to bribe their workers with a $4.00 a week raise so they wouldn’t go on strike. Despite this 500 of them walked off the job. Eatons also supplied the horses and baseball bats for the special police forces established to deal with the strikers. 

I need to go back and visit the statue again. I’ve learned it is good luck to rub the left foot of the Timothy Eaton statue. I’m going to do that the very next time I walk by. 

Categories: Downtown, Famous Citizens, Statues | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom Lamb-“Mr. North”

Every morning on my way to the gym to do my work out I pass by this statue of Tom Lamb on the main floor at the Lombard Place entrance of the Richardson Building. Many people rest their belongings on the statue’s base now in winter to give themselves free hands to secure their scarves and hats before stepping out into the snowy cold air. I’ve done it myself. Today I took time to read the plaque on the statue that told me who the pilot in the statue was, and why he merited a bronze likeness by the famed Canadian sculptor Leo Mol.   I was curious to learn more about Tom Lamb.  I found out he’d been born in 1898 in Grand Rapids Manitoba. His British father and mother were Anglican missionaries in the north. His Dad did many different jobs but was primarily a school teacher. He  moved his family to Moose Lake in 1900. 

Although Tom would later be awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Manitoba his formal education ended at grade three. In 1935 he  bought an airplane and learned to fly it so he could go fly fishing in the north. Four years later he had founded Lambair.

The airline hauled fish and furs, trappers and fishermen. They transported Inuit families and equipment for oil rigs. They handled emergency and medical evacuations. The motto of the airline was “Don’t ask us where we fly! Tell us where you want to go.”

Tom, also known as the “Babe Ruth of bush pilots” married Jennie and they had eight children.  The Lamb kids all started flying by sitting behind the steering wheel of a plane on their Dad’s lap in the cockpit. 

Their six sons all became career pilots as well and went into business with their Dad. By 1959 Lambair had logged more than 1,500,000 air miles, owned twenty planes and employed 40 pilots. In 1960 Tom, who by now had earned the nickname “Mr. North” let his sons take over most of the airline business since he still had his fur trading operation to run, a 7,240 acre cattle ranch to maintain and 24 grandchildren to keep him busy. 


Tom Lamb died in 1969 and his sons kept running the business till 1981. A 1981 Free Press article notes that Lambair is bankrupt and Calm Air is trying to buy the company. Only one of Tom’s  grandchildren, a granddaughter Tracy took up flying. Tom’s son Jack has told the family’s story in his book My Life in the North. 

 Although the Leo Mol statue in the Richardson Building bears the date 1991, the original piece was poured in 1971. There is another copy of  the Tom Lamb statue in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Assiniboine Park. A fibre glass version sits in the airport at The Pas and there is another copy in the Canadian embassy in Washington DC. 

Leo Mol said he wanted to show Tom Lamb as a young pilot and he made the propeller in his hands look a bit like a clock because he wanted the statue to take people back in time to the era when Mr. Lamb helped open up the north as an aviation pioneer.

In September of 1977 at a ceremony where Tom Lamb was posthumously admitted to the Honor Roll of the Aviation Council he was lauded as an individualist, humanitarian, multi-skilled, community minded businessman.

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Women Soldiers

There is a statue on Winnipeg’s Memorial Boulevard that pays tribute to the women who served in Canada’s Armed Forces during World War I and II. During World War I nearly 3000 Canadian women were military nurses and during World War II some 45,000 women were clerks, cooks, heavy equipment drivers, telephone operators, parachute riggers and mechanics in Canada’s armed forces. 

There are three figures in the statue and they represent each branch of the armed forces, the army, the navy and the airforce.  The women look like they are taking their job seriously, but each has just a hint of a smile on her face. 
This monument was unveiled in July of 1976 and was erected by the Women’s Tri-Service Association–Winnipeg Veterans of World War I and II. 

The plaque on the statue says that it is dedicated to all the women of the British Commonwealth who served or gave their lives during the two great World Wars. 

A mural on a building on Fort Street that I often walk by also pays tribute to women’s contributions to the military. The mural represents the three branches of the service, army, navy and airforce and a woman is leading the men carrying a banner that says Fort Garry Unit #60- Shoulder to Shoulder. 

The Shoulder to Shoulder slogan on the banner the woman is holding comes from this poster for the Canadian army that shows women working shoulder to shoulder with men in the war effort. 

An older photo of the Fort Street mural also shows a female army nurse and the quote from the poem by Laurence Binyon,

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

Seventy-one female Canadian soldiers died in World War II. 

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