News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg Arena's Queen Elizabeth II portrait is coming home

Every Winnipeg Jets 1.0 fan knows that no matter what happened on the ice, Queen Elizabeth II was keeping watch.

And after languishing in a warehouse for 13 years, the old girl has a pair of new owners.

The 5x7 metre portrait that hung in the Winnipeg Arena for 20 years since Dec. 7, 1979 has been purchased by CN Rail executives Jamie Boychuk and Mike Cory.

A spokesperson for CN Rail said both Boychuk and Cory were unavailable for comment, but did confirm the pair did purchase the painting.

Boychuk is working on finding a public space for the painting, but the details have not been worked out, the spokesperson added. More details will be released on Friday.

The portrait was taken down in 1999 and the dozen oak panels making up the painting put into storage, with the intention of tossing it in the trash. However, a local enthusiast convinced Winnipeg Enterprises to let him try and find a new home.

That proved challenging, due to its size and weight. It ended up in storage and when it was moved again, it was damaged, prompting local artist Leo Mol to restore it.

Eventually, it ended up in Whitby, Ont. for display in a museum that was never built, so it stayed in the museum’s warehouse collecting dust.

Scott Brown, spokesman for True North, said while they understand Winnipeggers might want to see it hanging from MTS Centre’s rafters, the painting is too big and would obstruct people’s view.

-With files from Shane Gibson

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