Shopping with a Golden Boy in Manitoba


There is a golden boy who rests at the top of the provincial legislative building in downtown Winnipeg. He cheerfully looks out on the province of Manitoba, which covers 649,950 square kilometres, holds 1.4 million people (705,244 in the capital), and about -32 Celsius at the time of writing.

Since the Golden Boy was installed at the Legislative Building in 1919, he minds neither cold nor heat. In fact, the sculpture is modelled after Mercury, the Roman god that represents communication, commerce and connection, and all three of these collided during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, when 35,000 workers protested, provoking unionization and solidarity across the globe.

When I was asked to create an image that would help Manitobans connect with businesses during the height of the second wave of this horrid pandemic (at the end of 2020), I took a dose of deference and a case of comity and I decided that I wanted to present my own neighbourhood in a unique light.

I set about taking photos of all of the stores along South Osborne, which includes award-winning restaurants, delightful cafes, and independent booksellers. I then unified these storefronts visually by extracting them from their surroundings and standardized their sizes.

In came the Golden Boy, who at about 17 feet tall, is shown walking through my neighbourhood, sending his regards, and collecting goods for his golden family. Maskless, because he is metal, he is light of feet and excited to see what is dawning in the contactless coterie of enterprising shopkeepers.

The final animated GIF, which is about 18 seconds in length, is below.

shop local Manitoba gif little sister cafe