The Golden Boy, a magnificently gilded 5.25M (17.2-foot) figure, is probably Manitoba's best known symbol. Embodying the spirit of enterprise and eternal youth, he is poised atop the dome of the building. He faces the north, with its mineral resources, fish, forest, furs, hydroelectric power and seaport, where his province's future lies.
The boy is a runner, like the messengers in Greek mythology. He carries a sheaf of golden grain in his left arm, while his right hand holds high a torch, calling youth to enter the race. The top of his torch is 77 metres (255 feet) above ground and before the more recent construction of high-rise buildings that today form Winnipeg's skyline, it was the highest point in the city.
The figure was sculpted by Georges Gardet of Paris, and cast in 1918 at the Barbidienne foundry in France. The foundry was partially destroyed by bombs during the First World War, but the Golden Boy emerged unharmed. The figure was rushed to a seaport and put aboard a French ship carrying wheat. Before the ship could put out to sea, it was commandeered for the transport of troops.
The boy lay in the hold of the ship, travelling many miles, constantly in danger. When the war was over, the figure arrived at Halifax and was shipped to Winnipeg and finally hoisted to the top of Manitoba's then-new Legislative Building.
The Golden Boy was in place for the official opening of the Legislative Building in 1920. Except for several months during 2002, when workers lowered the Golden Boy from the dome for repair and refurbishing, he has stood proud as a symbol for all Manitobans.