Winnipeg's Golden Boy Survived A Bombing & Is Still Watching Over The City After 100 Years

He's been keeping it Riel.
Winnipeg's Golden Boy on top of a building.

Winnipeg's Golden Boy on top of a building.

The Golden Boy sits atop the Manitoba Legislative Building, keeping a watchful eye over the north end of the city. It's a symbol that people in the city have come to know and love. On November 21, Winnipeg's golden boy will celebrate 100 years perched on top of the legislature, and though he still shines, he's already seen a lot in his time.

The Golden Boy was first cast in bronze in 1918 as the project of French sculptor Georges Gardet. He was later painted gold (hence the nickname).

Like the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Boy was brought from France to North America (the Golden Boy, however, was not a gift, but a purchase).

The statue stands at 5.25 metres and weighs an impressive 3,640 pounds. Golden Boy was modelled after the Greek God Hermes, and carries a sheaf of wheat as well as a torch.

Golden Boy faces the north end of the city, because at the time of his addition to the legislative building, it was believed that the province's future lay north toward its undeveloped territory.

The Golden Boy faced plenty of hardship before even landing in Canada. In 1918, while he was still at the Barbidienne foundry in France, the area was bombed by Germans.

News reports from that era claimed that everything in the foundry had been destroyed except for the Golden Boy.

Throughout this article, the statue has only been referred to as the Golden Boy. However, his proper name is "Eternal Youth and the Spirit of Enterprise."

To celebrate Canada's centennial in 1967, Golden Boy's torch was actually wired to light up, and it stayed lit until 2000.

Of course, like any statue exposed to the elements, Golden Boy had to be cleaned. In 2002, he underwent a major restoration that cost $1.1 million.

Winnipeg is often made fun of. NHL players said it's their least favourite city to visit, and despite the many winter activities Winnipeg has, it's not often thought of as a tourist destination. In fact, most people just want to get out of Winnipeg during the winter.

Still, the Golden Boy stands tall above the city, looking out over its citizens, and it might just do so for another century.

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.