Queen Portrait That Hung In Winnipeg Arena Looking For Home

The large portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that once watched over hockey games at Winnipeg Arena is again looking for a home.

Believed to be the largest known portrait of the queen at 21 by 15 feet, the painting is for sale on an online classified ads site, with no target price listed.

“We are encouraging anyone with serious interest in putting it up in the right location where it is able to be appreciated and celebrated with the public,” Jamie Boychuk, one of two men who bought the painting last year, wrote in an email Thursday. “It is important to us that it be somewhere the people of Winnipeg can view it.”

The painting was done by billboard artist Gilbert Burch in 1979 and it hung from the rafters in the former Winnipeg Arena for 20 years.

But it was criticized by some who said it was not a good likeness of the Queen. And Winnipeg Jets players were known to try to hit the painting with pucks during practice.

The artwork was taken down in 1999 in preparation for the Pan Am Games and spent most of the ensuing years stored in a warehouse in Whitby, Ontario. It’s so massive – weighing some 600 pounds – that its various owners have had a hard time finding someone with wall that is big enough and strong enough to handle it. If hung in Winnipeg’s new arena, MTS Centre, it would block an entire section of seats.

Boychuk, an executive at CN Rail, and a work colleague purchased the portrait in February 2015.