Winnipeg has a very good street-art scene. A yearly festival, Wall to Wall Winnipeg, puts beautiful murals up in the city, the West End runs a Mural Tour and there is an entire back alley entirely devoted to polar animals. Its official name is Back Alley Arctic; but it’s also called Polar Bear Alley.
I knew there were polar bear murals lurking in an alley in my Wolseley / West Broadway neighbourhood but I didn’t know there were actually dozens of pieces of art. I decided to go check it out: I looked it up online, found a Travel Manitoba article, wrote down the address, and closed my eyes and the page not to see the photos and keep the effect of surprise.
If you are looking for an unusual outing in Winnipeg, I recommend that you do not look at the photos below. Here is the address of Back Alley Arctic:
And let’s go for some pictures of polar bear murals!
And yes, it’s snow you can see on the ground! And it’s much better for putting the polar designs in context! I’ve seen photos of Back Alley Arctic with fall leaves on Instagram but it has strangely enough less charm. I have since returned in summer and even if the artwork is beautiful in all seasons, it is more authentic in winter, under the snow, bundled up in a big coat.
There are also drawings on the floor so you have to go back several times!
The artist, Kal Barteski, lives on this street and is fascinated by polar bears. She was asked to take the reins of a mural festival in Churchill, the northern Manitoba town that is sort of the polar bear capital of the world. So, to practice before going, she painted her garage door.
Then, almost all the neighbors have entrusted her (free of charge) with their doors, their walls, their fences. There was a sketch on one of the facades last week, I wonder when it will be finished! In a nutshell, there is always a reason to come back to see the progress in the back lane.
And where is Back Alley Arctic? It’s in the Wolseley neighborhood, between Wolseley and Westminster, in the alley between Ethelbert and Canora streets!
Which painting is your favorite?
More posts about Winnipeg?
– the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
– the Manitoba Electrical Museum
– the Cement Cemetery
– Back Alley Arctic, polar street-art
– the Manitoba Museum
– Winterlude, an ice-carving competition