Miller’s Meat Market, “European Market Square”, 591 St. Mary’s Road, Winnipeg, MB. 2009. 16’ x 88’. latex on brick
People wander through the open air market, chat with others, walk their dog, look for quality foods and begin to line up at the most popular store around; Miller’s Super Valu, formerly known as Miller’s Meats, established in 1971, a fresh Winnipeg meat market. They congregate in the Piazza (meeting place) guarded by the Golden Boy; a magnificently gilded figure, a proud Manitoban symbol. Embodying the spirit of enterprise and eternal youth, he is poised atop the dome of the parliament building in Winnipeg or Vatican City, Rome. Nestled behind is an architectural suggestion of the market square in Brussels, Belgium and a narrow European street to its left. The Italian piazza encloses fresh fruit and vegetable stands manned by store owners. A Red River Cart stops in busy traffic near the outdoor café and Super Valu. On the far left a delicious French bakery displays treats in its store front window manned by a historical shop owner. When one looks closely “Dolce Dia” is written on a sign in the bottom of the bakery window, it is a spanish saying that means “Have a Good Day”. The shop owner watches over the square from Fortune’s Block, a former Winnipeg fruit and vegetable store that once doubled as M. Fortune’s Land Office. Joanne Dyck, Winnipeg resident stopped by the wall one day and informed me that her relatives were Fortunes and the store still exists downtown, located on Main Street, between York and St. Mary’s Avenue, on the West side. Her relative was quite wealthy but died on the Titanic, money and all.
On the far right, two Jewish businessmen lean against their building that used to be Hollman’s, a former meat market. In the mural it represents Top Hat Florist, a business that is well established in Winnipeg. Colours are reminiscent of a Tuscan countryside, bringing attention to a newly renovated storefront.
The figures lining up to get into Millers were taken from snapshots taken at St. Norbert open air market. The owner’s son, Shawn Miller is seen skateboarding behind the fountain in the market square.