If you look at the walls of the homes we’ve featured, it seems like we’ve shown more Shadbolts than the VAG and more de Grandmaisons than the Glenbow. But we also like to place the artists themselves front and centre, like our July 1981 issue featuring Toni Onley and his on-point West Coast Modern home, or when our longtime Winnipeg city editor, Alison Gillmor, introduced us to the quirks of the then up-and-coming Royal Art Lodge in a September 2000 profile.

royal art lodge
Credit: Gerry Kopelow/Western Living October 2000

When we profiled the Royal Art Lodge—clockwise from top, left: Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber, Drue Langlois, Myles Langlois, Hollie Dzama and Michael Dumontier—in September 2000, the Winnipeg artists were already the toast of the Canadian art scene, but in the following years their reach would become international and become the hottest Canadian export since SCTV.

royal art lodge small dolls
Credit: Gerry Kopelow/Western Living October 2000

The Royal Art Lodge may not have invented quirk in fine art, but they definitely perfected it. They created creatures and manufactured dreamscapes that are still instantly recognizable at a glance.

Toni Onely

When we profiled Toni Onley in July 1981, he was one of the most commercially successful artists in Canada—which enabled him to have this on-point West Coast Modern house, where we photographed Onley and his partner, Yukiko.

To read about more great people, designs, homes and innovations that shaped Western Living, click here.