December 31: Riel statue unveiled; Golden Boy's torch; Burton Cummings' birthday; Manitoba Hotel burns.

Collége universitaire de Saint-Boniface
December 31, 1971 - Marcien Lemay and Etienne Gaboury’s statue of Louis Riel is unveiled on the Legislature grounds. The concrete shell around it contains the quote “I hope that after my death my spirit will bring practical results.” 

The twisted, naked bronze figure sparked controversy that eventually led to it being replaced in 1996 by a more traditional likeness. The old one was moved to the grounds of St. Boniface College.

December 31, 1966 - A newly installed light bulb in the Golden Boy’s torch is lit to mark Canada's centennial year.

The holes drilled for the light allowed water to leak into the hollow figure and workers had to to periodically shimmy up the statue to replace the bulb. Over time this led to a great deal of damage so when he was refurbished in 2000 - 2002 the light was removed.

December 31, 1949 - The ‘new’ CKY radio begins broadcasting in Winnipeg. The call letters were once used by what is now CBC-AM. This incarnation of CKY was owned by Lloyd E. Moffat. Studios and offices were in the Loredore Building, 432 Main Street N.

December 31, 1947 - Burton Cummings is born in Winnipeg. A St. John’s High School alum, he was invested in the Order of Manitoba in 2001 and inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Federal Building
December 31, 1891 - The Manitoba Hotel on Main Street at William Stephenson Way opens with a grand ball. It burned to the ground in 1899. The Victory Building, built on the same spot in the 1930s, shares the same triangular footprint as the hotel.

December 31, 1890 - The number of schoolhouses in Manitoba: 554. Number built of logs: 77 . Number of pupils: 23,256.

December 31, 1911 - Winnipeg's bank clearings pass the billion dollar mark ($1,172,762,142) for the first time. (Source: Henderson Directory)

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