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Harry Paine

May 19, 1933 - December 30, 2017




At 11:30 on December 30th, Harry passed away.  He passed quietly in his sleep after having been enveloped in love by his friends and family for his last few weeks.  Harry was truly a man for all seasons as he was equally at home with a hammer in his hand, a menu to plan, an article to write or a speech to be given.  He will be sorely missed.


Born in Hastings, England on May 19, 1933, Harry was the only child of Henry James Paine and Lily Cecelia Paine (nee Wilson).  After early training as a mason, Harry emigrated to Canada in 1951.  He took up residence in Toronto with an aunt and uncle where he was introduced to the union movement.  Beginning as a Teamster, his talent for organizing and promoting the welfare of workers became his life work.  He was a committed Trotskyite then, and he remained true to his principles throughout his life.

His career as an organizer took off in the turbulent times that were the sixties.  He was very much involved in the anti-war movement, the civil rights struggle, the socialist movement and organized labour.  He continuously transformed his skills to be of use where he was needed most.


Using folk music as a vehicle for social change, Harry was inspired by his experience with Mariposa Folk Festival and went on with his good friend Mitch Podolak to become one of the founders of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, widely viewed as one of the best festivals in North America.  Harry firmly believed that the best way to advance the cause and to inspire people to participate was through good music but more importantly great food.  Harry’s Eats which evolved into La Cuisine is known far and wide as the best food on the Folk Festival circuit and Harry made sure that all performers and volunteers were treated to some of the most amazing meals. He was known and loved by many of the great musicians and artists who would come to the Festival, and later, the West End Cultural Centre (another Podolak/Paine creation) if they knew that Harry was cooking.


Harry worked tirelessly until well into his seventies, when he “retired”.  It was at this time that he became involved in broader community activism, becoming a voice for seniors, the disabled and those in need of secure housing.  He became a ubiquitous board member, in a wide variety of organizations such as Broadway Seniors Resource Council, The Arts and Disability Network of Manitoba, Transportation Options Network for Seniors, Residential Tenancy Branch, Daniel McIntyre - St. Matthews Community Centre, Wolseley NDP Executive, Solidarity Winnipeg as well as working for the MB NDP as a community worker.  He was always working, whether he was writing one of a constant stream of articles that he produced, organizing and cooking a feast for one of the many groups he served, or out canvassing & putting up signs during one of the many elections he helped fight.  The man was an incredible role model for the many young people he inspired and mentored.  He wasn’t one to only talk the talk, he walked the walk.

We would like to thank Grace Hospice for the love, friendship and outstanding care that was offered Harry in his last months.  He felt that he was truly at home there and for that we give you our eternal gratitude.

We would especially like to give our heartfelt thanks to Doctor Arthur Blank.  Arthur, a good friend to Harry for the last thirty years, cared for Harry’s health with utmost care and compassion.  Harry valued his friendship.

We would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at the Health Sciences Centre for their care and expertise in caring for Harry in some very difficult times.  Also we would like to send out our appreciation to Cancer Care Manitoba and the staff at Lennox-Bell Palliative Care Centre. 


A gathering of friends is being planned for June 4, 2017. It will take place between 2-5pm in the West End Cultural Centre on 586 Ellice Ave. Winnipeg, MB. As per his wishes cremation has taken place.  Harry would want to remind us all to make a difference. 

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