It was a relic of another time, but it was undeniably part of the Winnipeg scene.
We speak of a large portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that was a longtime fixture at the former Winnipeg Jets’ home.
We read that it has been taken out of storage in Ontario and brought back to Manitoba. The five-by-seven-metre painting of the Queen that hung from the rafters in the old Winnipeg Arena for 20 years has been purchased by Jamie Boychuk and Michael Cory, and it has come back to town.
The portrait had been languishing inside the high-security facility in Whitby, near Toronto, since 2002.The painting was commissioned in 1979 by then-Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Francis Laurence Jobin.The work was painted by Gilbert Burch, who also painted the previous portrait of the Queen that hung in the arena prior to renovations, during Winnipeg’s championship World Hockey Association years.When the Winnipeg Jets moved out of the arena in 1996, the Queen left shortly thereafter.The hockey team moved to Phoenix while the portrait headed for restoration — including to repair marks made by pucks when hockey players would aim for the Queen’s mouth.The old arena was demolished in 2005-06, and a year later the MTS Centre opened in downtown Winnipeg as a home to the Manitoba Moose, the city’s American Hockey League team.Winnipeg blogger and historian Christian Cassidy said he was elated when he heard the giant portrait was coming home.”Every city has its kitschy odd bits of history that make them unique and different and fun, and one of Winnipeg’s happens to be that we have this ridiculously massive picture of the Queen that hung in our arena,” he said.
As for what’s next Jamie Boychuck would clearly like the portrait to be hung at the MTS Centre, the building that the new addition of the Winnipeg Jets call home, he says that he has not received much encouragement from the club or the building.
But they remain patient and optimistic. Afterall, the Queen is back in town.Share