As you may have heard, Portage and Main is celebrating its 150th birthday tomorrow, and Christian Cassidy suggested we blog our birthday wishes.
The intersection has been mentioned here on WoMH before, but my favourite post was Aaron’s “All Roads Lead to Portage and Main” – somehow the spot where these two streets meet is symbolic of Winnipeg as a place where everyone knows each other. There’s no six degrees of separation here. It’s more like one, or two, and I love that.
My birthday wishes to you, Portage & Main, our most famous intersection, are simple. I wish for you to remain an internationally recognized reference to Winnipeg — our humble, big little city, the heart of the continent — for another hundred and fifty years and more.
May you continue to inspire artists, musicians, and businesses who see you as the perfect namesake. Feelings of pride and comfort are inspired among those who recognize the reference!
Most importantly, I hope that someday people will be able to walk across you at street level. A well-planned intersection, shared between pedestrians and cars, can be a thing of beauty!
If we ever want to become a truly walkable city, opening Portage & Main to pedestrians would be the most visible sign of our commitment. (Until the city is actually allowed to do it in 2017, though, how about some improved navigational signage in the underground? Driving through Confusion Corner is a walk in the park compared to trying to figure out how to cross from one side of the street to the other!)
Many happy returns of the day!