The Manitoba government is marking the 100th anniversary since the Golden Boy was placed on top of the Manitoba Legislative Building, Central Services Minister Reg Helwer announced today.
"One hundred years ago today, the Golden Boy was placed atop the dome, where he has become one of Manitoba's most-recognized landmarks," said Helwer. "The statue is positioned to face north and symbolizes the province's prosperity and entrepreneurial spirit."
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 5.25 metre (17.2 feet) Golden Boy was installed on Nov. 21, 1919. He was first gilded with 23.5-karat gold leaf in 1951 and 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.
Helwer noted the province is finalizing plans for further building restorations not included in 2002. Earlier this year, the Manitoba government announced $10 million each year for the next 15 years to repair and preserve the Manitoba Legislative Building, its grounds and associated infrastructure.
The province has established an advisory committee to guide the development of both long-term and annual maintenance plans. The first phase is expected to include masonry repairs and revitalization on the north side of the building, as well as some main entrance façade improvements to be completed by 2020.
"This building is a designated provincial heritage site and recognized as a magnificent example of Beaux Arts architecture," said Helwer. "The building belongs to all Manitobans and we have a responsibility to keep it in good condition for future generations."
Manitobans are encouraged to visit the Golden Boy in his 100th year and tour the Legislative Building on which he stands.