10 tributes to the strike that changed history

The Winnipeg Foundation

Photo: James Naylor delivers his address during 20x20 on 1919.

Foundation partners with PechaKucha to present 20x20 on 1919.

1919 Strike book

“THE STRIKE THAT CHANGED CANADIAN HISTORY” IS HOW THE 1919 WINNIPEG GENERAL STRIKE IS KNOWN LOCALLY, NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY.

The Strike 100 years ago laid the groundwork for contemporary labour laws, and modern labour and social justice movements. During May and June 2019, celebrations were held throughout our city to commemorate the event and the stories that made the history books.

The Winnipeg Foundation took part in the centennial celebrations, hosting a Vital Conversation called, 20x20 on 1919: 10 Tributes to the Strike that Changed History.

The evening was shaped by authors, artists and storytellers taking the audience on a tour of the historic strike, PechaKucha (pronounced PEH-chak-cha) style! The Foundation partnered with PechaKucha Night Winnipeg, the local chapter of the international organization sponsored by the Graphic Designers of Canada.

PechaKucha is a style of presentation developed in Japan that has speakers present 20 slides with 20 seconds to speak per slide, making for a fast-paced and entertaining style of storytelling.

The evening roster included authors Molly McCracken on behalf of mom Melinda McCracken, Harriet Zaidman and Richard Zaric, who shared their story behind their stories. Screenwriter Rick Chafe outlined the creative process behind co-writing Strike! The Musical and Brandon University Professor James Naylor and Anya Moodie-Foster from the Manitoba Museum set the historical stage of events. Travel writer Donna Janke presented on 1919 significant sites around contemporary Winnipeg, while her niece Sabrina Janke, tour programmer for the Exchange District Biz, talked about the involvement of women in the strike. Researcher Ellen Smirl highlighted the contemporary lessons learned and the struggles that continue, and filmmaker and artist Noam Gonick finished the evening by touring the audience through the Manitoba Archives where he researched photos and documents in the development of his art installation Bloody Saturday.

The Winnipeg Foundation’s vision is ‘a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all.’ Celebrations like 20x20 on 1919 bring communities together to honour our City’s rich history and contributions.

Special thanks to The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike Centennial Committee for its partnership and participation.


This story is featured in the Summer 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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