WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s iconic Golden Boy is turning 100 today.
It’s been a century since the roughly 17-foot statue first adorned the roof of the Manitoba Legislative Building as one of the province’s most-recognized landmarks.
“The statue is positioned to face north and symbolizes the province’s prosperity and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Central Services Minister Reg Helwer.
The Golden Boy statue was installed on November 21, 1919 and first gilded with 23.5-karat gold leaf in 1951. It was last returned to ground level in 2002 during a restoration project to the tower and dome, where he was repaired and displayed at the Manitoba Museum.
History of the Golden Boy
The Golden Boy is modelled after the Greek god Hermes and is officially named Eternal Youth and the Spirit of Enterprise. French artist Georges Gardet sculpted the statue, cast in bronze during the First World War. The Golden Boy had a lengthy journey to Manitoba; placed in the hold of a cargo ship commandeered to transport troops and supplies for the war effort, the statue toured the Mediterranean Sea and made five trans-Atlantic crossings before its final destination.
The province is spending $10 million each year for the next 15 years to repair and preserve the Manitoba Legislative Building, its grounds and associated infrastructure. Masonry repairs and revitalization on the north side of the building are part of the first phase, as well as some main entrance facade improvements to be completed by 2020.