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Chapter 12: The Southern Cities

12.18: Central Winnipeg

This large-scale photo shows more clearly several of the things shown on figure 12.17, although, of course, it covers a smaller area. The three rivers of Winnipeg and their influence on the layout of the city are obvious. The Red River 1, flowing from south to north, is crossed by seven bridges (5 road 2 and 2 rail 3) and is joined by the east-flowing Assiniboine River 4 that is also crossed by seven bridges (5 road 5 and two rail 6). The tone of the Red 7 is much lighter than that of the Assiniboine 8 probably because it is more heavily sediment-laden. The much smaller Seine River 9 is also dark-toned.

The influence of the long lot system is clear with lots running back from the Red west of the river (10 and 11). East of the river lots run back from the river at varying angles to accommodate the river bends (12, 13 and 14). East of the Seine River 15 lots seem to be based on that river. Point Douglas 16 was laid out as a special survey, as was the area across the Red to the south 17, although the influence is not obvious on the photo.[i]

The centre of Winnipeg (delimited by the dashed line) was laid out in a grid system superimposed on the long lot system, but Portage Avenue 18, an old trail along the Assiniboine, angles across the grid. Also Main Street 19, which follows one side of the grid, wanders north 20 roughly parallel to the Red and at angle to the long lots.

One result of the interplay of these systems is a complex series of intersections and triangular or wedge-shaped blocks where Portage Avenue, Ellice Avenue 21, Notre Dame Avenue 22, and Main Street come together. Another oddity superimposed on the long lot system east of the Red is Enfield Crescent 23 that follows the route of an oxbow of the Red.[ii]

Superimposed on the survey systems are railway lines and sidings: CP lines enter the photo from the south 24 and east 25 and cross the Red River at Point Douglas 26, leading to the CP yards 27. The railway line and yards, an important barrier to north/south movement, are crossed by two methods: underpasses and bridges. Vehicular traffic goes under the railway on Main Street 28 and at McPhillips, just off the photo to the west. Bridges have to be long to cross the yards; for example the Slaw Rebchuk Bridge 29 and the Arlington Bridge 30. CN lines enter the photo from the southeast 31 and east 32 and cross the Red to lead to yards at the Forks 33. Union Station is located on Main Street south 34.

The true downtown area is located in and close to the area laid out in grid fashion with important east/west streets: Ellice 21, Portage, 18 and Broadway 35. Memorial 36 borders the west with Main Street 19 marking the eastern border. The core area extends north along Main Street. In this “downtown area” some individual buildings can be identified: The Legislature 37, Convention Centre 38, Richardson Building 39, and University of Winnipeg 40.[iii]

Across the river from the Forks is St. Boniface with Provencher Bridge 41 leading to Provencher Street 42. In the outlined block 43 are St. Boniface Cathedral, St. Boniface College,[iv] and St. Boniface Museum, with St. Boniface Hospital to the south 44.

When the photo was held at arms length certain other features stand out: the complex of industry along the Seine 45, and wooded areas such as at Elmwood Cemetery 46, St. John’s Cemetery 47, and Armstrong Point 48. With more detailed scrutiny other features can be identified such as the Health Sciences Centre 49 and the Redwood Centre west of the Red 50.

Figure 12.18: Central Winnipeg

Figure 12.18: Central Winnipeg

Figure 12.18

Vertical air photograph: A27254-87

Flight height: 13,300 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.033 mm

Scale: 1:24,500 (approx.)

Date: April 14, 1988

Location: Township 10 and 11; Ranges 2 and 3E

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62H Winnipeg

                    1:50,000 62H/14 Winnipeg

                                   62H/15 Dugald


[i] The surveys for these areas are shown in Warkentin and Ruggles op. cit. figure 75, 190.

[ii] See Warkentin and Ruggles. op. cit., figure 76, 190.

[iii] The University of Winnipeg occupies a small area given its enrollment. It is the epitome of an urban university catering particularly to part time students.

[iv] College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface, where the language of instruction is French, is part of the University of Manitoba.