Below are quotes from an interview with Michael Williams’ former business manager Janina Ceglarz and Gareth Clayton, Research Assistant with the Williams Oral Art History Project on Sunday, October 9, 2011.
“At the very beginning it was only me and Michael. He was looking for a property manager and Swan’s was not existing yet. He had a few buildings on the lower part of Johnson Street and was looking for a property manager and that’s how we met. When we met he hired me and that is it. It was back in 1987, 7 or 6.” -Janina Ceglarz
“Yes, he was a pioneer in redeveloping downtown Victoria. I know a lot of people are thinking that he was nuts to do that because he was buying building that was worse than this one and making them beautiful. He had a love for all buildings, he took an enormous amount of risk buying these buildings and hoping it’s going to work. But it did.” -Janina Ceglarz
“We still have hotel guests coming and saying “can you take this piece of art down, I can’t sleep at night” and we still do have that, so we go and take the picture and the guest leaves, we put the picture back. You know I still have…even here, there is one picture of the work in the pub that I get from time to time the complaint that it is not suitable for the restaurant, but you know what? The majority of people like it, I’m never going to please everybody. And by getting one phone call I’m not going to go and remove the picture, but it is happening. But Michael loved that because he always felt that art is art and even if it’s controversial it’s a piece of art and people have to be okay with this.” -Janina Ceglarz
“He did a lot of good things for Victoria, he did. He always said he was an immigrant and he always said he makes his money in Victoria and he will leave his money in Victoria. That speaks volume about a person. And what he did leaving everything for the University that speaks volume about him. But the fact that people didn’t like him…he was very…he always had a very strong opinion about absolutely everything.” -Janina Ceglarz