A prominent North End mural is back after coming undun.
The Guess Who mural at 1400 Main St. was damaged in fall of 2013 when the brick was washed and repainted during renovations to the building. The tribute to the Winnipeg band was created in 2007 by artist Michael Bridgford-Read, along with Marymound and St. John’s High School students, sponsored by Pollock’s Hardware Co-op and MLA for St. Johns Gord Mackintosh.
Restoring the mural to its original glory are Take Pride Winnipeg, Pollock’s, Mackintosh and Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski), with Bridgford-Read and Marymound students doing the repainting.
"I’ll never forget the moment, I was driving by and was heartbroken (by the sight of the faded mural) and the neighbours were heartbroken too," Mackintosh said. "Once a mural like this is created, it belongs to the community. It celebrates north Winnipeg and The Guess Who."
The Guess Who members Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman grew up in the North End, with the mural located about a block away from the Bannerman Avenue home where Cummings lived with his grandmother. Winnipeg music historian John Einarson said The Guess Who has never shied away from telling people were it’s from.
"‘Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,’" said Einarson, referring to the announcement the band would make at the beginning of each of its shows.
"I do a Magical Musical Mystery Tour of Winnipeg and we of course go to Burton’s house and Neil Young’s house and Randy’s house, but this is a stop we always make on the tour, because people just marvel at this mural, especially learning that students did it. It’s carrying on the legacy of The Guess Who to further generations."
The mural features such tributes to The Guess Who as the blue woman from the American Woman album cover, the cans from the Canned Wheat cover and the red Chevy car from the So Long, Bannatyne cover. Also, tucked into the Canned Wheat portion is a tribute to the man responsible for the "Winnipeg sound."
"You can see Garnet (Gillies) in there," said Bridgford-Read. "Their amps were all made my Garnet. He passed away before the mural was made, so we memorialized him on there too."
Tom Ethans, executive director of Take Pride Winnipeg!, is happy to see The Guess Who mural back.
"Winnipeg is known by many as the mural capital of Canada, with over 550 murals in the city, and we’re putting up new ones all the time," Ethans said. "We’re doing a mural this summer with our new Olympic gold champion curling team (Team Jennifer Jones). That’s going to go up on the St. Vital Curling Club. We want to recognize the accomplishments of people that have made this place a better place, and it brightens the city."
Mackintosh said The Guess Who mural not only brightens the building, but is also an inspiration to the community.
"The success of The Guess Who reminds everyone who lives here, particularly the kids, that we can all follow our dreams and make contributions in different areas," Mackintosh said. "It’s a living reminder to North Enders, and north Winnipeggers generally, that we are great."