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September 2, 2016

Bearister’s scales of justice restored.

Bearister could hardly do his job at Robson Hall with broken scales of justice. As one of the most recognizable symbols of law, the scales of justice represent the fair, impartial weighing of evidence.

As the donor of Bearister, Fillmore Riley LLP recently commissioned the original artist, Hubert Théroux, to restore Bearister to his former grandeur. Hubert fixed Bearister’s scales, touched up the paint, and added a Fillmore Riley satchel.

The history of Bearister goes back to CancerCare Manitoba’s Bears on Broadway project in 2005. To commemorate CancerCare Manitoba’s 75th anniversary, the Foundation sold 62 seven-foot concrete bears in advance of the sculpture display on Broadway. Sponsors purchased bears for around $12,000 and artists were commissioned to decorate each bear.

Fillmore Riley was the only law firm to purchase a bear. The firm wanted a law-themed bear with robes, so CancerCare Manitoba put the firm directly in touch with Hubert to view and approve a final sketch of “Bearister.”

"I created Bearister because of the play on words,” said Hubert. “I’m pleased that he remains popular to this day. Graduates of the law school love to be photographed with him.”

Bears on Broadway raised more than $450,000 for CancerCare Manitoba and the bear sculptures lived on Broadway until 2006. When it came time to relocate Bearister, Fillmore Riley donated him to Robson Hall.

The firm decided that relocating Bearister to Robson Hall seemed like the logical place because Fillmore Riley has a longstanding relationship with the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law. The majority of lawyers at Fillmore Riley graduated from Robson Hall and frequently go back to judge moot courts, coach debating teams, and teach courses. From awarding bursaries to graduates of the law school to sponsoring the annual Robson Hall Negotiation Competition, Fillmore Riley continues to play an important role at the law school.

“We wanted law students and faculty to enjoy him and to think of both CancerCare Manitoba and Fillmore Riley when they read the plaque,” said managing partner Glen Peters, who graduated from the law school in 1985. Glen recently completed an eight-year tenure as a member of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation’s Board of Directors.

“Our education at Robson Hall gave us the foundation to have fulfilling careers as lawyers. We also want to raise awareness about giving back to the community. The Bears on Broadway project was important both as a fundraiser and to raise awareness for CancerCare Manitoba, and our firm continues to fundraise to fight cancer to this day,” said Glen.

Over the past decade, the firm has made significant monetary contributions to CancerCare Manitoba. In 2016, Fillmore Riley raised $42,000 in CancerCare Manitoba’s Challenge for Life 2.0 and sponsored the Work It check stop at the event. Stuart Blake, one of the top ten fundraisers in the 2016 Challenge for Life, recently joined CancerCare Manitoba Foundation’s Board of Directors. The firm will continue on as a sponsor and team participant in Challenge for Life 2.0 in 2017. 

Photo credit: K. Eleanor Wiebe 

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