Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Arthur Jon “Art” Kardal (1944-2004)

Bus driver, entertainer.

Born at Gimli on 31 December 1944, he was raised there by Finnbogi and Emma Kardal, and attended Gimli School and Ardal School. In 1970, he married Ellen Nemez of the Swan River Valley and the couple went on to have three children. As a youngster, he dreamed of operating a big city bus and, in 1979, he began a career with Winnipeg Transit where he was employed as a driver until his death.

No ordinary bus driver, Kardal was known for how he entertained his passengers, offering an on-going variety show consisting of himself singing songs, cracking jokes, pointing out celebrity look-alikes strolling on the sidewalks, finding humour in street names, and engaging his passengers in witty repartee. He was described in a Winnipeg Free Press article as “Winnipeg Transit’s touring comedian, singer and all-around good guy,” and his passengers appreciated his upbeat, jovial personality—how he brightened their day and made a boring commute interesting. During his career, he received 90 commendations from bus riders. He also enjoyed driving children to church on the Sunday-school bus for Waverley Fellowship Baptist Church, where he was a member for many years.

He died at Winnipeg on 28 January 2004 and was buried in the Garry Memorial Park.

Sources:

“Art’s transit bus turns miles into smiles,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 May 2003, page 1.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 31 January 2004.

This page was prepared by Lois Braun.

Page revised: 21 September 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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