Helen Granger Young, O.M., A.O.C.A
Helen Granger Young is a prolific and internationally renowned artist whose artistic body of work has contributed to the cultural and historical fabric of Manitoba and Canada.
Helen Lillian Granger was born in Mimico, Ont., in 1922 to Lillian (Shelley) and Lewis E. Granger. Granger Young won a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art, studying under Charles Comfort, Franklin Carmichael and Fred S. Haines, earning a diploma of associateship, Ontario College of Art (A.O.C.A.), majoring in portraiture and landscape painting. In her early career, Granger Young was involved in commercial art, producing children’s illustrations and fashion catalogues for Eaton’s and Hudson’s Bay stores, and participating in Canada’s war effort, producing technical drawings of military tanks and aircraft.
She married William Allan Young (1949) in Winnipeg, where she continued to create her own art, teach and mentor many Winnipeg artists, while raising four children.
Granger Young’s body of work includes portraits and landscapes in oil and pastel, portraits in bronze, sculptures in porcelain and bronze monuments. She collaborated on and released numerous porcelain sculptures with Royal Worcester, Royal Doulton, Bing & Grøndahl, Goebel and Cybis.
Granger Young has painted or sculpted many prominent Canadians. One of her remarkable bronze sculptures, located on the west side of the Manitoba Legislative Building grounds, pays tribute to Nellie McClung and the “Famous Five”. Her bronze bust of Nellie McClung is on display in Assiniboine Park’s Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame, alongside five of her other works (Dr. Bruce Chown, Israel Asper, Donald Ian MacDonald, Sister Geraldine MacNamara, Sen. Duff Roblin).
Granger Young’s statues of Pierre de la Verendrye and Father Aulneau grace the front of the St. Boniface Basilica. Her Tri-Service and First Flight monuments can be seen on Memorial Boulevard near the Cenotaph. The Prairie Sailor, dedicated to war veterans, is located at the entry to H.M.C.S. Chippewa. Six high-relief sculptures of bison heads are located on the Main Street Bridge.
In Brantford, Ont., stands a seven-figure memorial to Canadian war veterans. The bronze sculpture of John Diefenbacher is located in Prince Albert, SK. During Canada’s Centennial in 1967, the R.C.M.P Centennial sculpture was presented to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Regina. Many of Granger Young’s porcelain sculptures are housed in public and private collections around the world including Rideau Hall, Buckingham Palace, the White House, the Kremlin and the Vatican.
Granger Young is the recipient of the Order of Manitoba (2013), the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction for the Arts Award (2013), MAWA (2013), City of Winnipeg Community Service Award (2010), Canada 125 Medal (1993), Manitoba Woman of the Year (1977) and several others.
Helen Granger Young has been a trailblazer in the arts, creating a visual record of history and culture that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.