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  with David Penner Architect  

  Type_ Competition RFP  

  Host_City of Winnipeg  



  • An "interpretation installation" to commemorate the labour movement resulting in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

  • Judged based on: sensitivity to context, innovation, maintenance, interpretation of topic, universal design requirements.

  • Multi-disciplinary team entries that may include architects, landscape architects, artists, historians or heritage planners.

  • Budget: $250,000 CAD.  Permitted Site: 4.12 metres x 30.11 metres

The Signs Were There

The signs were there during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, literally, and were a potent mode of expression for strikers and anti-strikers alike.  Images of placards and banners hoisted by throngs of Winnipegers are prevalent in the photographic record, highly influencing our interpretation of this mythic event.

In 2016, we still recognize marching with signs as an effective means of collective expression. Through shifting media paradigms, simple raised placards -- and the recorded images and personal recollections they are designed to dominate -- retain currency in shaping political discourse.

The Signs Were There creates an arresting display at which to pause, engage and reflect on the voices and tenacity of our forefathers.  Animated by groups of collective opinion, and bigger than life like the 1919 event itself, The Signs Were There stands tall as a permanent commemorative to Canada’s first and most well known General Strike.

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Powder-coated, exaggerated aluminum signs can be seen from various distances, drawing in the attention of passersby. The interactive protest signs shake and sway to captivate the visitors into the actions of the event, as the quotations describe groups’ positions in the strike. The posts engraved with participant names. 

Marbles are embedded into the paving surface, as homage to the strike vote cast by illiterate workers;

11,000 YES (white) 500 NO (black). 

An event storyboard runs along the wall, providing contextual reference, and flush in-ground uplighting, creates dramatic visual effects.

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