News / Winnipeg

Conflict and love: New Winnipeg art tells story of famous 1919 strike

The new 1919 Marquee commemorates the labour movement that resulted in Winnipeg's famed general strike.

Tom Monteyne of Monteyne Architecture Works stands in front of the new 1919 Marquee, a monument to the Winnipeg General Strike on Market St. and Lily Ave.

Jade Markus / Metro Order this photo

Tom Monteyne of Monteyne Architecture Works stands in front of the new 1919 Marquee, a monument to the Winnipeg General Strike on Market St. and Lily Ave.

A new public art installation in Winnipeg’s Exchange District is a real throwback.

The new 1919 Marquee, which was unveiled Thursday, commemorates the labour movement that resulted in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike—when thousands of metal workers walked off the job.

The marquee, created by Monteyne Architecture, which won the City of Winnipeg’s design competition in 2016, wanted to use the space to create a “people place.”

“[It’s a] meeting place, say, before the theatre, before lunch, we have the stage… the idea is that spontaneous events could occur here,” said Tom Monteyne of Monteyne Architecture.

A map of the surrounding area and benches, in addition to the potential stage space, sits near the monument.

The structure is built from weathering steel—which is expected to last at least another 100 years—and colour-changing LED lights at night. It includes a nod to Manitoba's Vulcan Iron Works, and other words like “equal” and “love.”

“We’re trying to tell a Winnipeg story, it was a Winnipeg story, but it also reflected global events, and it was a conflict,” Monteyne said.

“We tried to pick words that kind of embodied the conflict, but put them together in a way that’s balanced. We’re trying to make a monument for all Winnipeggers and we’re trying to avoid [being] polarizing.”

The 1919 Marquee had a $500,000 budget. It's located at Lily St. and Market Ave.

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