Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Asper name on street by museum he inspired

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]City worker Kris Gustowski changes the street sign of Waterfront Drive to Israel Asper Way.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

]City worker Kris Gustowski changes the street sign of Waterfront Drive to Israel Asper Way. Photo Store

Leonard Asper stood in front of the crowd by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and spoke of his father's axioms.

It turns out Izzy Asper had a few rules to live by -- 203 to be exact -- with a theme of reaching for the stars, the Asper offspring told the audience:

"Never do a little a deal."

"They laughed at Columbus -- dream big."

It was a fitting walk down memory lane for Asper as it pertains to his father's legacy.

That legacy, the massive architectural marvel at the foot of the Provencher Bridge that casts a shadow as large as the man who envisioned it, now sits on a street that bears the Asper handle.

The City of Winnipeg officially renamed the stretch of road in front of the museum Israel Asper Way Monday. The segment of street runs from William Stephenson Way to Forks Market Road.

"The road that leads to the first national museum outside of Ottawa," Mayor Sam Katz said, "(and) the road that leads to Canadian stories of human rights issues will be known from now on by the name of the larger-than-life man who envisioned it all, Israel Asper."

The stretch was previously known as Waterfront Drive. Waterfront Drive continues to run north of William Stephenson, past Shaw Park and Stephen Juba Park to Higgins Avenue.

Asper, a former media mogul and longtime pillar in the community, died in 2003.

"It's a distinction that not only honours my father, but his vision," Leonard said as city workers in the distance changed the white street signs.

"And not only his vision but the reality that grew from it: this amazing, unique and spectacular building and all that this museum represents for our city, for our province and country, for human rights -- a concept in which he so passionately believed."

The renaming is an official designation, not an honorary nod such as the nearby Mahatma Gandhi Way, which occupies a portion of York Avenue to Main Street.

City council unanimously voted in favour of permanently calling the section of road Israel Asper Way last fall, despite a 2011 bylaw that states street-name changes must be restricted to honorary designations to avoid confusion and disruption for residents and services.

The city made the switch to permanent status anyway, as the only addresses on Israel Asper Way are the museum and a parcel of city-owned land.

The $351-million Canadian Museum for Human Rights is scheduled to open in September.

 

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2014 0

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