Canada 150 downtown mural

by Rosanne Hill Blaisdell

Canada 150 — Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 1867 — is the kind of milestone that happens once in a lifetime.

It’s a rare moment in history to solemnly reflect upon what being Canadian means to us. Words like welcoming, privilege, freedom, opportunity, equality, multicultural and gratitude stir in our hearts and minds when we think of our country.

 For over 114 years, The Hill Companies’ roots have been firmly entrenched in Canada. In many ways, we (Canada and The Hill Companies) have grown up together. We have survived wars and economic depressions together and we have enjoyed the richness of our inherent resources and the opportunity afforded by them together. We are both city and community builders.

It was important to us to acknowledge and honour Canada 150 in a way which fostered community pride in a broader sense. This call to action was further solidified when my father and mother, Paul and Carol Hill, among other Canadians were named official ambassadors of the Canada 150 celebrations.

With the generous support of our downtown building partners and a great deal of creative hard work by our staff, we commissioned the design and installation of a large format Canada 150 mural which wrapped the facade of our iconic 201 Portage office tower in Winnipeg. This beautiful mural was installed over the course of three weeks in May/June, and was officially unveiled to the community and dignitaries at a media event at the end of June.

The words of our National Anthem, “With Glowing Hearts We See Thee Rise,” seemed to encapsulate everything that this celebration was about. We came together as a community — to share in the rise of an iconic symbol, the Canadian Maple Leaf.

Brian Bowman, the mayor of Winnipeg, said it well when he described the murals as: “A tribute to the many things that make Canada a great nation. They are a symbol of Canadian spirit, rich history, pioneering people, culture, and strong, enduring values.”

As we continue to celebrate our great country, let it be your chance to reflect and to say: “Thank you. Thank you Canada, for giving us a free and beautiful home to raise our families. Thank you for opportunity. Thank you for beauty, rugged mountains, pristine lakes, endless skies, fresh, clean air and the glory of a brilliant sunset before we lay our heads to rest each night. For those who were born here and for those who immigrated here from other parts of the world, Canada is our great home.”

(Rosanne Hill Blaisdell is the managing director, Harvard Buildings; vice president, Leasing, Harvard Developments Inc.)